Monday, June 03, 2013

The Three Musketeers

I have always been a firm believer in reading the book before I see the movie.  I guess there are a few reasons for this, but one is that I prefer to not have a movie’s set, costumes, actors, and incomplete story line influence my reading.  I find that my mind’s eye can usually come up with better scenery, more vivid characters, and increased excitement, passion, and other feelings than any movie can.  I also enjoy the fuller plots, characters that are explored in greater detail, and being able to catch the intangibles that just don’t port over from an original work to a reinterpretation, no matter how true to the original the copy is.  While there have been multiple theatrical releases of Dumas’ famous work, The Three Musketeers, during my lifetime, I have never watched a single one.  My general lack of interest in movies contributed to this, but I also wanted to read the book first.

Book cover.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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This work, including all text, photographs, and other original work, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives 3.0 License and is copyrighted © MMXI John Pruess.

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