Baroness Emma Orczy was born in Hungary in 1865, the daughter of the composer Baron Félix Orczy de Orci. The Orczy family, fearing a peasant revolution, left their country estate for Budapest in 1868 and settled in London in 1880. There Emma attended art school and met her future husband, a clergymans son, Montague MacLean Barstow. Following the birth of their only child, she began writing historical novels and plays to supplement his low income. The Scarlet Pimpernel was her first play (and third novel) and proved an enormous success in both mediums. Orczy went on to pen over a dozen sequels, as well as many other novels. She died in Oxfordshire in 1947.