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The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas

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  • Moustache twirling!
  • Humourous
  • Very long
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    6 Reviews
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      03.08.2014 14:47
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      • "Moustache twirling!"
      • "Good story"
      • Humourous
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      • "Very long"

      An interesting and dramatic classic with excellent characters and a lot of fun

      The Three Musketeers is one of those classics which many people will be familiar with, but few will have read. It is, however, most definitely worth the read. The tale of d'Artagnan, the plucky young Gascon, and his slightly older friends Porthos, Athos, and Aramis, has enchanted generations for good reason.

      This is not some boring old classic, but a tale of swordfights, spies, damsels in distress, wicked villains, and affairs gone wrong. There is no room for old-fashioned sensibilities here save that of chivalry, and even that seems at times optional. It's full of fun and wry humour, with a hefty dose of good old-fashioned swashbuckling of the Errol Flynn variety.

      And there's moustache twirling! I'm possibly a little too happy about this, but every time that a character twirled their moustache, I couldn't help but smile - you just don't get that in modern books!

      The main downside of this book is that it's very, very, long. This may put off less strong readers or those with less time, but it can easily be split into chapters and treated as an episodic serial to lessen the blow. The other thing is that it's absolutely brimming with subplots - I find this entertaining, diverting, and realistic (life is rarely one string of cause-and-effect events,) but others may find it irritating and difficult to keep track of. Again, this is easier if you treat it as a serial - people manage to keep track of the subplots in Eastenders after all.

      This is an excellent classic full of plot twists, turns, and divergence. Written by one of France's finest authors (and, little known fact, one of mixed race,) find a good translation, don't be put off by the size, and start enjoying yourself!

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        17.09.2013 19:16
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        Exciting, swashbuckling French romance

        I was prompted to pick up this book by a very unusual source: I read a series of three books by French author Pierre Pevel (The Cardinal's Blades, the Alchemist in the Shadows, and the Dragon Arcana, not currently in the dooyoo catalogue), and these were described as "The Three Musketeers, but with dragons". I loved these books, so I decided to give the original a try. For a classic, it wasn't quite what I was expecting, but I enjoyed it all the same.

        The story concerns the young d'Artagnan, who journeys to Paris with the hope of joining the King's Musketeers. Before reaching Paris, he gets into an argument with a young gentleman, who beats him and steals his letter of recommendation. This gentleman is seen talking to a mysterious woman known only as 'Milady', before riding off. Nevertheless, despite this setback, D'Artagnan manages to convince Monsier de Treville of his good intentions, and is accepted into the Musketeers, where he meets the three of the title: Athos, Porthos and Aramis. The initial meeting is not good; in fact all three challenge D'Artagnan to a duel, but this setback is soon put behind them and the four become firm friends. What follows are both their personal adventures, and those concerning the state itself. They become caught up in the intrigues between the king, the queen, and the cardinal, and learn of a plot that could lead to war between France and Spain. The gentleman D'Artagnan first got into an argument with seems to have something to do with it, as does the mysterious Milady, but she in particular proves a dangerous enemy to have.

        In some places, the book is quite difficult to read, though this may be because I was reading a cheap edition; I don't know how much the translations vary between different editions. Some old fashioned language is to be expected when reading a classic, but I thought this was unusually old-fashioned, and a lot of the language was very flowery and over the top. This fits in well with the style of the novel as a historical romance, but did make it difficult to read at times. A lot of the characters come across as quite unsympathetic, as they are all arrogant and quick to anger, despite the fact that this often leads to a duel to the death. Nevertheless, they insist on going ahead with such duels, despite them being illegal, rather than back down and risk wounding their pride. This is not a mind-set I can identify with, and led to me getting very frustrated with the characters at times. The plot is immensely complicated, with lots of different strands and characters, so it was quite difficult to keep track of everything. The plot didn't seem to be about anything other than the musketeers' swashbuckling adventures. Now I'm not saying I want all my stories to have morals, but I do like them to have a bit of a deeper meaning than four young men's high jinks. As a historical novel, a lot of the larger events recounted are an important part of French history. I don't know enough about the period to make a judgement on how accurate it is, but based on the tone of the rest of the novel, I would guess at not too accurate. Overall, the book was certainly an adventure, and there was certainly a lot of romance, but it doesn't particularly stick on the mind. However, given the difficulty of the language, I wouldn't describe it as a light read either, so I'm not entirely sure how to categorise this!

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          06.10.2011 17:43

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          Brilliant book, a genuine classic worth reading

          I first read this book a few monts ago and I loved it so much I'm already working through the sequel (20 years after). I would certainly recommend anyone wanting to go and see the new musketeers movie, to read the book first to get a good idea of the plot (and to sit and feel smug in the cinema). As with a great many of the classic novels, this one does take a little while to really get into, but once it gets going its really hard to put down. What is nice for those who are naturally curious and enjoy history, this book is based on real people and events (in certain places at least, it certainly isn't the gospel of French history). From what I remember of the classic Oliver Reed/Michael York/Charelton Heston film, there is a lot more in the novel than in the movie and in my opinion at least- they left some of the best bits out!
          The only other problem with the book is that there are an awful lot of French (as you would expect from a book set in France) and Latin words, so if you find this kind of thing irritating The 3 Musketeers may not be the best book for you.
          Rather foolishly, I read the final book 'The Man in the Iron Mask' first (which did mean I knew a bit of what to expect in TTM), but I would certainly say that TTM is the best in the series (so far!)

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          22.08.2010 21:18
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          I enjoyed this read, but won't be rushing to read any more of Dumas's work

          I am always keen to add another 'classic' to my reading repertiore, and so was delighted when someone in my book group suggested this book one month.

          I found this novel really hard to get into at first; it was all so confusing with unfamiliar names, places and a highly Romantic style. Initially I needed to read with pen and paper at the ready to jot down characters and little reminders! However, once I'd got a basic grip of the style and characters I began to enjoy it a lot. It is actually very funny in places, which is something I wasn't expecting.

          The first half of the novel was rather slow-moving, but I felt this was necessary in terms of character building and setting the scene. The second half is much more pacey and during that half, the action really begins. The reader gets acquainted with the terrible but fascinating character of 'Milady' who can lure most men into her charms. She was a great villain and my favourite character in the book.

          I gave this book 7.5/10 when we discussed it with the group, which I will have to translate into 3 stars. Although the storyline was exciting and full of twists and turns, the characters of the musketeers were quite two-dimensional and they basically only cared about themselves; they were therfore not particularly endearing protagonists! The Romantic style was, on occasions, too melodramatic for me to handle, for example '[she was] biting the carpet with rage'.

          Overall, this was a good, gripping story with flamboyance appropriate to the style and time.

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            01.06.2009 13:37
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            A fantastic book that is well worth a read, highly recommended!

            The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas is a fantastic book that really is a classic in English Literature. The novel was originally published in 1844 and it really is quite a long novel with about 430 pages or so. It is superbly written and it really is an excellent story. It is very much a piece of classic literature which is what I liked about it because it is so different from modern day novels of its kind. I really would recommend this book though and I felt it was an excellent read.

            The story is about a very young and short-tempered man named d'Artagnan going to Paris. He wants to go to Paris and earn mega whealth for himself but it is not as simple as he had first hoped. He is asked for a duel by three of the Kings finest and best trained Musketeers and so he feels very much threatened. Athos, Porthos and Aramis however, who are the King's Musketeers later become his good friends and they team up together to carry out an extraordinary adventure that they wish to embark on. Within their adventrue they face the both beautiful and horrible Lady de Winter who they must get past in their adventure.

            I thought that the novel was beautifully written throughout and I really thought that it was an excellent read. It was a very well structured novel and so it was easy to follow through and understand. I though the story line was really exciting and full of action such as the inital duel with the Musketeers! I hope this was useful and thank you very much for reading!

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            15.11.2001 00:16
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            The 67 chapters of this novel tell the history of a young man named Artagnan, who comes to seek fortune in Paris. The story is set in 1625, under the reign of Louis XIII. The young, courageous and crafty man has a letter of recommendation of his father for Mr. de Treville, Chief of the Musketeers. Very quickly Artagnan becomes the friend of three gentlemen, musketeers of the King: Athos (count of Fere) Porthos (of the Small valley) Aramis (Knight of Herblay) An old rivalry opposes the musketeers of the King to the guards of the Cardinal of Richelieu. Athos was ruined by a tragic marriage with an adventurous woman; Porthos, a giant, whose true name is Small valley, is a companion rather debonair; Aramis oscillates, constantly between mysticism and gallant love affairs. The four friends to the service of the royal couple will save the Queen Anne of Austria from the perfidious operations of Richelieu: On an insinuation of the Cardinal, the King invites the Queen to carry, for the next ball of the court, the twelve tags of diamonds he offered her once. However this one gave the invaluable ornament to her lover, the Duke of Buckingham. Artagnan will have to defy the traps of perfidious Milady of Winter, the frightening agent of the Cardinal, who is also the former wife of Athos. he will fall in love with Constance from Bonacieux, faithful chambermaid of the Queen. Artagnan and his friends have to recover the jewels in England. They must face the agents of Richelieu, led by Rochefort and Milady. Chased by the guards of Richelieu, at the end of a course filled with booby-traps, Artagnan and the Three Musketeers succeed in bringing back the tags to the Queen. Whereas the Musketeers shine again with the La Rochelle head office, Milady, who financed the murder of the duke of Buckingham and poisoned Constance Bonacieux, Artagnan’s love is arrested and sentenced to death. artagnan, reconcile
            d with the Cardinal of Richelieu is promoted lieutenant. Athos goes back to his faithful countryside. Porthos gets married. Aramis becomes priest. The sequence of the scenes and the intrigue is well regulated and the jumps in time and space subtly brought. The Three Musketeers are of two modes: the historical novel and the series novel, that directors invent to increase their number of subscribers. The conjunction of the two phenomena is not however enough to explain the success of the book, the number of adaptations or the parodies the book was the object. This success is also due to the history of the work and the collaboration of Dumas / Maquet. Duma was the first to read the Biography of Mr Artagnan (1700). I found out the true author is named Gatien de Courtilz de Sandras but didn’t get much information. The two novelists retain from the Bio different characters (of which Athos, Porthos, Aramis, Milady...), simple names, anecdotes and atmospheres dedicated to one single era. In addition to this essential source, Maquet and Dumas consult other memorials. Dumas is responsible for the underlying structure of the work, it is thanks to him we have the pace of the account, its accelerations and its pauses, the spirit which animates it. A fast paced story, simple but convincing characters and dialogues inspired by the theatrical technique: Dumas can seduce. The readers see in the Three Musketeers The Example, The Novel, the one we refer to when reading other books. if we pass on the many anachronisms, on the period the story is set, having sometimes twenty years in advance on the real history, what is striking, in The Three Musketeer, is the way the novel has been so well done. I have to insist on the quality of the intrigue, on the science Dumas uses enabling him to play with his suspense and to operate with characters at first being separated, then joined together, then di
            spatched in nature, and gathered again. He manipulates those aspects of the book with such professionalism and such harmony. I see this book as a real youth epic where all is possible and nothing has really importance. More than easy to read, the Three Musketeers is suitable for anyone. It is a lively book that has to be read with high intensity. The best in this novel is the moral and simple values we still learn today. It is full of lessons of generosity and liberty. Myths will not extinguish but continue to enchant us and to please us. This one is and will forever.

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          • Product Details

            A historical romance, this novel tells of the adventures of the hot-headed young Gascon, d'Artagnan and his three companions Athos, Porthos and Aramis as they gallantly defend the Queen of France, using their wit and their swords.