Another book I was not looking forward to and its 700 pages were enough to discourage its perusal, HOWEVER, I loved this book so much I decided to malinger along with it and enjoy it during the sultry summer days and nights. I wanted to ingest this work slowly and savor each word. I imagined living back in the 1800’s and reading it in its original serial format. What a thrill that must have been for those readers awaiting each chapter. Let’s just say that taking my time with this book (where I usually attempt to read a book per week) was my way of trying to travel back in time.
The Three Musketeers is a bit of a misnomer, in my opinion, and would be more aptly titled The Four Musketeers, The Three Musketeers and D’Artagnan, The Three Musketeers and their Bosom Buddy….aargh. I suppose after 170 years, a new title is out of the question.
Dumas manages to merge 16th century history, swashbuckling, intrigue, romance and adventure with such finesse that leaves the reader wanting more, yet not desiring its conclusion. Of course, there are the three musketeers and their pal who somehow manage to shine even when they are insulting their servants or disrespecting the hallowed Cardinal.
D’Artagnan is a 20-year-old Gascon who ventures to Paris with his sights set on becoming a musketeer. He proves his mettle early on and befriends the three musketeers who quickly transform to a foursome. Early on, he encounters a beautiful and mysterious woman who is one he hoped to have never seen. He falls in love with Mme. Bonacieux, but theirs is a tragic love story. This is someone to have on your side.
Milady is the femme fatale who seems to leave her evil marks among many. She is vengeful and unforgiving and her vengeance knows no mercy. She uses her beauty to lure her victims, like a black widow, she weaves and twists her unsuspecting lure into traps to which there is no escape. Stay away, far, far away from the likes of she.
The sinister Cardinal Richelieu is quite unnerving. Manipulating the king, he does all he can to become the most powerful figure in France, even consorting with Milady. His cunning and shrewd schemes usually put him ahead of those who see who he truly is. Ventrebleu, do not even make eye contact with this one.
Athos, handsome, taciturn and mysterious.
Aramis, stoic, religious and brilliant.
Porthos, haughty, vain and resourceful.
A rogue does not laugh in the same way that an honest man does; a hypocrite does not shed the tears of a man of good faith. All falsehood is a mask; and however well made the mask may be, with a little attention we may always succeed in distinguishing it from the true face.
Besides, we feel always a sort of mental superiority over those whose lives we know better than they suppose.
“People in general,” he said, “only ask advice not to follow it; or if they do follow it, it is for the sake of having someone to blame for having given it.”
Of course, the first question I would pose to M. Dumas would be why this title. I’d love to ask him what he enjoyed reading since its said to be his source of training as a writer. I am quite sure there would be much to glean from this fascinating man.
My rating for The Three Musketeers is a 10 out of 10.
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Next up, Jean Rhys’ Good Morning, Midnight…