As those more in tune with pop culture than me know, The Three Musketeers (ISBN: 0-679-60332-8) by Alexandre Dumas tells the story of the young d’Artagnan and his three protectors and friends, the eponymous three Musketeers, who go by their pseudonyms, Athos, Aramis, and Porthos. Duelling brings d’Artagnan and the Musketeers together, and from there they fight duels and more serious battles together, continually looking out for each other. They manage to get themselves mixed up in high-level intrigue as the queen of France, Cardinal Richelieu, the king of France, and the Duke of Buckingham play out their political ambitions, romantic interests, and personal aspirations in Paris’s parlors, on battlefields, and through behind-the-scenes intrigues involving soldiers, churchmen, and criminals. There is a decent bit of action with horse rides, pistol fights, sword fights, battles between armies and between minds, and seduction. In the end, the bad guys get what is coming to them, and in what seems to be a bit of a pattern for Dumas, not all of the good guys make it out alive. D’Artagnan and his friends are more or less unscathed and have lived up to their immortal motto, “All for one, one for all!”
I, obviously, cannot compare the book to the unseen movies, but standing on its own, I enjoyed the book. I was not sure what to expect after being slightly disappointed by The Count of Monte Cristo. I thought there was a good mix of action, strategy, and romance. I enjoyed the lack of philosophizing by the main characters. The storyline flowed and was more or less believable (maybe this shouldn’t be a requirement for fiction, but the Count’s inhuman abilities to remember things as well as his supposedly oriental medicinal abilities were part of my underwhelming read of that other immortal Dumas story). I thought the story was fun and easy to read, which cannot be said of all classics, but probably help make and keep this story a classic.
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