A Reader's Guide to The Three Musketeers

by Arturo Perez-Reverte

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DeppInTheHeartOfTexas
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A Reader's Guide to The Three Musketeers

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Sat Jul 05, 2008 11:17 am

For those of you reading The Club Dumas, we thought a quick overview of Dumas’ The Three Musketeers (from Wikipedia) might be helpful. There are also brief descriptions of the main characters mentioned in The Club Dumas as well. Our fellow Noodlemantra, nebraska, has agreed to post her observations as she reads The Three Musketeers. Please feel free to comment, but only on The Three Musketeers and not on the The Club Dumas! We’ll save that for the discussion. :ONBC:

If you are planning to read The Three Musketeers, please be aware there are SPOILERS below!



The main character, d'Artagnan, comes from an impoverished noble family of Gascony, presumably near a place called Artagnan. In April 1625, he leaves home for Paris to fulfill his greatest dream: becoming a Musketeer of the Guard. Fortunately, his Father knows M. De Treville, Captain of the Company of Musketeers (also a Gascon) and has written a letter of introduction. On his journey, after his odd colored horse is ridiculed by a passing gentleman, he begins arguing with the mysterious man with a black cape and a scar on his face. Assaulted by the servants of the inn where the argument took place—the inn's owner feeling that it would be better to support the well-dressed gentleman (Comte de Rochefort) rather than the impudent youth—d'Artagnan is left broken and bleeding while the mysterious stranger calmly leaves without bothering to conclude the affair. Unfortunately, the gentleman is made aware of the Senior d'Artagnan's letter of introduction. When d'Artagnan regains consciousness, he realizes that the gentleman has stolen his letter. The innkeeper manages to get his hands on much of d'Artagnan's money as he recuperates as well.

In Paris, d'Artagnan goes straight to the Hôtel Treville, hangout of the Musketeers, but without his father's letter he is received somewhat coldly by M. De Treville. The same day, due to both his pride and an urge to ingratiate himself with those he wished to join, d'Artagnan is challenged to a duel by three musketeers: Athos, Porthos, and Aramis, who happen to be very close friends and who encounter d'Artagnan one after the other. The four men meet and, after a brief period of confusion when the three friends realize d'Artagnan owes each a debt of honour that day, d'Artagnan begins to fight Athos (the first challenger). They are interrupted by elements of the Cardinal Richelieu's guards, who threaten to arrest them because duels are forbidden by royal decree. The three musketeers and d'Artagnan unite to defeat the Cardinal's guards. In this manner, the young Gascon earns the respect of M. de Treville and the friendship of Athos, Porthos and Aramis, and becomes a soldier in the Royal Guard in the company of M. Des Essart. This is the first step in becoming a Musketeer, as all who serve in the Musketeers must have military experience in another, lesser unit.

After obtaining lodging and hiring a servant (Planchet), he meets his aging landlord's pretty young wife, Constance Bonacieux, with whom he falls instantly in love. She is dressmaker and confidant to the Queen, Anne of Austria. Unhappy in her marriage with Louis XIII, the Queen flirts with the English Prime Minister, the Duke of Buckingham. Constance and d'Artagnan help the two meet, and the Queen presents her lover some diamond jewels originally given to her by her husband the King. However, Cardinal de Richelieu, informed by his spies of the gift, persuades the King to invite the Queen to a ball where she would be expected to wear the diamonds.

D'Artagnan and his friends leave for London to get the diamonds back from Buckingham. The voyage is full of dangers set by the Cardinal. Athos, Porthos and Aramis are badly wounded on the way; only d'Artagnan arrives in England. He retrieves the jewels and returns them to Queen Anne, just in time to save her honor.

The Cardinal is impressed enough to invite d'Artagnan to join his own corps, but the lad passes on this offer out of loyalty to his friends. Since he is not in the Cardinal's service, he does not have the Cardinal's protection, however.

The Cardinal's revenge comes swiftly: the next evening, Constance is kidnapped. D'Artagnan brings his friends back to Paris and tries to find her, but fails. Meanwhile, he befriends the Count de Winter, an English nobleman who introduces him to his sister-in-law, Milady de Winter. Despite his love for Constance and his suspicions that Milady is the Cardinal's spy, he finds it very hard to resist her charms. He almost falls into the trap, believing Milady is in love with him, when he accidentally finds a letter of hers to the one she really loves, the Count de Wardes. Helped by Milady's chambermaid Kitty, who is infatuated with him, d'Artagnan has his revenge: he spends a night with Milady, pretending to be M. de Wardes in the darkened room, and Milady gives him a sapphire ring as a token of her love. He admits the truth though, and she tries to slay him with a dagger. In the struggle, d'Artagnan discovers that Milady has a fleur-de-lis burned into her shoulder, marking her as a felon. Remembering a story that Athos had once told him, d'Artagnan suddenly realizes with horror that Milady is not, as he thought, an English noble lady, but in fact Athos' wife, whom everyone thought dead. He now knows that Milady will never forgive him for having insulted her so dearly, and is relieved when all the King's Guards are ordered to La Rochelle where a siege of the Protestant-held town is taking place.

The Musketeers and d'Artagnan are forced to purchase horses and equipment for field service -- this is no easy task for the impoverished Musketeers. Aramis has a mistress or two with gold in their pocketbook. Porthos is forced to rely on the wife of a miserly old lawyer to get the needed equipment. D'Artagnan splits with Athos money he received in selling the sapphire ring after Athos recognizes it as the ring he had given to his wife a long time ago. In the end, they are all able to join the La Rochelle campaign in reasonable style.

Milady makes several attempts to kill d'Artagnan in and around La Rochelle, but fails. At the same time, d'Artagnan finds out that the Queen has managed to save Constance from the prison where the Cardinal and Milady had thrown her, and that his beloved is now hidden somewhere safe. One of the would-be assassins drops a valuable tip: the name of an inn where Milady was to pay him for his crime.

Athos, Porthos and Aramis go to the specified inn and are surprised to overhear a conversation between the Cardinal and Milady: Richelieu commands her to assassinate the Duke of Buckingham, and in exchange, she asks him to "take care" of d'Artagnan. He will take no direct action but instead writes a blanket pardon for Milady: "By My Hand, and for the good of the State, the bearer has done what has been done." Once the Cardinal leaves, Athos confronts Milady and threatens her life, forcing her to hand over the document. The Comte de le Fère, as Athos was once known, is fully aware of her past, and Milady fears him among all men.

When the four friends are reunited, Athos presents d'Artagnan the pardon issued by the Cardinal to Milady and urges the young man to keep it for his own use. Because of the war between France and England, any attempt by the musketeers to travel to England and warn the Duke of Buckingham would be considered treason. They decide to attempt to save the Duke by writing to the Count de Winter (who had returned to England after the war started) asking him to deal with his sister-in-law. The trusty Planchet, d'Artagnan's faithful servant, is chosen to carry this letter which is purposely vague to prevent them being condemned. The Count received the note just in time, heeds their advice, and apprehends Milady. She is held prisoner in a seaside castle under the guard of a Puritan named John Felton who is seemingly incorruptible.

In the meantime, at La Rochelle, the Cardinal himself admires d'Artagnan's courage in the siege and suggests that M. de Treville admit him to the Musketeers. Thus, d'Artagnan's greatest dream comes true and he is extremely happy, for, in addition, the Queen has finally agreed to tell him where Constance is hiding: she is in a monastery near Béthune, in northern France. D'Artagnan and his friends depart for Bethune as soon as they are able.

Imprisoned in England, Milady seduces the hard-hearted Felton and convinces him not only to help her escape, but also to assassinate the Duke of Buckingham. While the naive Felton knifes the Prime Minister, Milady sails to France. She writes the Cardinal to announce that his orders have been fulfilled and that she will be in a safe place until she receives payment for the crime. As Fate would have it, Milady hides in the same monastery where Constance had been sent by the Queen. Not knowing who this stranger really is, the trusting Constance bares her soul to Milady. The scheming Milady realizes that her enemy d'Artagnan is expected to arrive at the monastery at any moment. She escapes just before his arrival, but not before taking her revenge: she poisons Constance, who dies minutes later in the arms of her beloved d'Artagnan.

The Count de Winter is encountered soon after and gives the quartet the news of the Duke's assassination. The five of them arrange to track down the whereabouts of Milady and exact punishment. Athos leaves to fetch a mysterious man in a red cloak. The party track down the Countess' location: an isolated house on the banks of the Lys river near Flanders. She is trapped. The six noblemen try the Countess on numerous charges: the poisoning of Madame Bonacieux, the assassination attempts on d'Artagnan, accomplice to the assassination of the Duke of Buckingham, the corruption of the Lord de Winter's servant, Felton, and the assassination of her late husband Count de Winter (the brother of the current Lord de Winter). The most damning charge comes when Athos states that Milady, his wife, is a marked criminal with a brand on her shoulder. When the Countess demands that Athos present the one who branded her, the man in the red cloak steps forward. She immediately recognizes him as the executioner of Lille. The executioner then recounts Milady's early history.

She was a beautiful teenage nun who seduced the priest of her church -- the executioner's own brother. Desperate for money to flee to another part of the country, the priest stole sacred vessels and sold them, but the two were caught and held in jail. Milady seduced the jailer's son to escape. The priest was condemned to branding with a Fleur de Lys and a prison term. The executioner of Lille, who had to brand the priest, who was his own brother, then decided to track down Milady so as to give her the same punishment. While the executioner did this, his brother escaped from the prison and rejoined her. They fled to the province where the Count of la Fère was lord, pretending to be brother and sister. She then abandoned the priest to become Athos' wife. The priest, thus ruined and abandoned, learned that his brother the executioner was being held in prison in lieu of himself. He surrendered to free his brother and then committed suicide.

After Milady is beheaded (in Flanders, technically), the musketeers return to La Rochelle. On their way, they encounter the Count of Rochefort, the Cardinal's close advisor and d'Artagnan's old nemesis, who was traveling to Milady to pay her. Rochefort also has an order to arrest d'Artagnan if he happens to find him. As they are near La Rochelle, he decides to postpone his trip to Milady in order to take d'Artagnan directly to the Cardinal. When d'Artagnan is presented before him, the Cardinal tells the young man his charges: mostly trumped-up ones intended to provide an excuse for Milady's desire to see d'Artagnan dead. The young musketeer tells the truth to Richelieu and recounts the entire story about Milady, her assassination attempts against him, her poisoning of Madame Bonacieux, etc. The Cardinal states that if Milady is indeed guilty, the courts will deal harshly with her. D'Artagnan frankly admits that they have already dealt with this evil woman.

D'Artagnan then presents him the pardon that Athos forced from Milady, making his actions legitimate in the eyes of the Law. The Cardinal, impressed by d'Artagnan's bravery and having already used Milady's services to eliminate France's arch-rival Buckingham, offers the young man a lieutenant's commission with the Musketeers -- with the name left blank. The Cardinal then presents Rochefort and asks both men to be on good terms.

D'Artagnan offers each of his friends the commission, but all three refuse, both due to personal reasons and because they believe that d'Artagnan is the most worthy of the commission. He is the only one of the four friends that remains in the Army: Athos retires to his estates, Porthos marries a rich widow and establishes himself somewhere in the countryside, and Aramis becomes a priest. Their lives, however, would cross once again, in Twenty Years After.


Important Characters

The Musketeers

D'Artagnan

Charles de Batz-Castelmore, Comte d'Artagnan (c. Lupiac 1611 - 25 June, Maastricht 1673) served Louis XIV as captain of the Musketeers of the Guard and died at the Siege of Maastricht in the Franco-Dutch War. A fictionalized account of his life by Gatien de Courtilz de Sandras formed the basis for the d'Artagnan Romances of Alexandre Dumas, most famously including The Three Musketeers.D'Artagnan's life was used as the basis for Gatien de Courtilz de Sandras' (1644-1712) novel Les mémoires de M. d'Artagnan. Alexandre Dumas in turn used de Sandras' novel as the main source for his d'Artagnan Romances (The Three Musketeers, Twenty Years After, and The Vicomte de Bragelonne), which cover d'Artagnan's career from his humble life's beginnings in Gascony to his death at Maastricht. Although Dumas knew that de Sandras' version was heavily fictionalized, in the preface to The Three Musketeers he affected to believe that the memoirs were real, in order to make his novel more believable.

The character is initially a hotheaded youth, and tries to engage the Comte de Rochefort and the three musketeers, Athos, Porthos, and Aramis in single combat. He quickly becomes friends with the musketeers, and has a series of adventures which put him at odds with Cardinal Richelieu, then First Minister of France. In the end, Richelieu is impressed by D'Artagnan, and makes him a Lieutenant of the Musketeers. This begins his long career of military service, as detailed in the sequels to Dumas' famous novel.

Athos

Athos (born c. 1595; died 1661) is a fictional character in the novels The Three Musketeers, Twenty Years After, and The Vicomte de Bragelonne by Alexandre Dumas, père.

In The Three Musketeers, he and the other two musketeers Porthos and Aramis are friends of the novel's protagonist, d'Artagnan. He has a mysterious past connecting him with the villainess of the novel, Milady de Winter.

The oldest by some years, Athos is a father figure to the other musketeers. He is described as noble and handsome but also very secretive, drowning his secret sorrows in drink.

By the end of the novel, it is revealed that he is the Comte de la Fère, who was Milady's husband before she married the Baron de Winter.
In the latter two novels, he is openly known as the Comte de la Fère and is the father of the young hero, Raoul de Bragelonne. Like Porthos', Athos' first name is never told. However, in Dumas' play "The Youth of the Musketeers", the young Milady, then named Charlotte, calls the then Vicomte de la Fère Olivier, so one may assume that this is Athos' first name.

The fictional Athos is named after the historical musketeer Armand de Sillègue d'Athos d'Autevielle (1615-1644), though they don't actually have much in common apart from the name).

Porthos

Porthos is a fictional character in the novels The Three Musketeers, Twenty Years After and The Vicomte de Bragelonne by Alexandre Dumas, père. He and the other two musketeers Athos and Aramis are friends of the novel's protagonist, d'Artagnan (see D'Artagnan Romances). He carries a sword named Balizarde.

Dumas never reveals Porthos' first name. In The Three Musketeers his family name is du Vallon. In Twenty Years After, after a successful wedding, he is first known as du Valon de Bracieux de Pierrefonds, then he earns the title of baron.

Porthos, honest and slightly gullible, is the extrovert of the group, enjoying wine, women and song. His eating abilities even impress King Louis XIV during a banquet at Versailles. As the story advances, he looks more and more of a giant, and his death is that of a titan.
At the time of The Three Musketeers (ca. 1627) he apparently has few lands or other resources to draw from. He was finally able to extract sufficient funds from an elderly lawyer's somewhat younger wife (whom he was romancing) to equip himself for the Siege of La Rochelle.
The fictional Porthos is very loosely based on the historical musketeer Isaac de Portau.

Aramis

René d'Herblay 'Aramis' is a fictional character in the novels The Three Musketeers, Twenty Years After and The Vicomte de Bragelonne by Alexandre Dumas, père. He and the other two musketeers Athos and Porthos are friends of the novel's protagonist, d'Artagnan.
The fictional Aramis is loosely based on the historical musketeer Henri d'Aramitz whose name comes from the French village now named Aramits.

Aramis loves intrigues and women, which fits well with the opinions of the time regarding Jesuits and abbots. As a musketeer, his great ambition was to become an abbé; as an abbé he wishes for the life of the soldier.

Aramis seems to be followed by luck, but it is never enough; every step forward must be used to climb to even greater power. This characteristic leads to his nomination as Superior General of the Jesuits, which is precisely what saves his life, at the end of Le Vicomte De Bragelonne, after he is betrayed by Nicolas Fouquet.

Despite his Machiavellian attitude, Aramis holds very firmly to the sacred concept of friendship. In fact, the only wrong moves Aramis has ever made were done when he refused to harm a friend (or a friend's feelings). In Twenty Years After, he followed Athos's pleas to spare Mordaunt, while he was holding him at gunpoint and, in Le Vicomte De Bragelonne, he refused to suppress d'Artagnan, when he discovered the truth about Belle-Ile-En-Mer, and he let Fouquet betray him, instead of assassinating him. Aramis even tells the truth to Porthos about the man in the iron mask's real identity, despite fearing that Porthos would kill him. Friendship is so important to Aramis that it is strongly implied, at the end of Le Vicomte De Bragelonne, that he cried (for the first time in his entire life) when one of his friends died. Later, he explicitely told someone that he considered him a true friend.
At the time of the Three Musketeers, ca. 1627, Aramis was largely dependent on gold from wealthy mistresses to survive, as military pay was low and infrequent.

The Musketeers' servants


Planchet (d'Artagnan) -- A clever fellow Porthos found to serve d'Artagnan.
Grimaud (Athos) -- A Breton, trained to speak only in emergencies. Mostly communicates through sign language.
Mousqueton (Porthos) -- A would-be dandy, just as vain as his master, whose only pay is his masters old clothes
Bazin — (Aramis) -- Waits for the day his Master will join the Church, as Bazin wants to be a Churchman himself.


Milady de Winter


Milady de Winter often referred to as simply Milady, is a fictional character in the novel The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas, père. She acts as a spy for Cardinal Richelieu and is one of the chief antagonists of the story.

After being expelled by Athos, she eventually marries the English Lord de Wynter. Soon a widow, she winds up in the employ of Cardinal Richelieu: working as his spy, assassin, and messenger. She steals the jewels that Anne of Austria, wife of King Louis XIII, entrusted to her devoted admirer the English Duke of Buckingham, but the intended scandal is averted.

D'Artagnan himself later meets Milady and falls under her spell, though he also pursues an affair with her maid.

When the Catholic Richelieu lays siege to the Hugenot city of La Rochelle, the Protestant Buckingham leads an unsuccessful expedition to assist the besieged. In a house near La Rochelle, Athos and his friends Porthos and Aramis overhear a conversation between the Cardinal and Milady, plotting to kill Buckingham before he can make another attempt.

Even if he is the enemy of France, the musketeers regard Buckingham the man as a friend. They thus warn him of the threat and upon arriving in England, Milady is arrested and imprisoned in a house by her hostile brother-in-law, the new Lord de Wynter. She seduces her jailer, John Felton, persuading him that she is a Protestant at heart and that Buckingham is persecuting her because she refused his advances. Felton has his own grievances against Buckingham, whom he blames for his lack of promotion in the army. He thus proceeds to murder the Duke (a real-life event), but after carrying out the murder he is aghast to see Milady's ship sailing away without him. He is later hanged.
Returning to France, Milady carries out the murder of d'Artagnan's landlady and lover, Mme Constance Bonacieux, when the two happen upon one another in a convent. For her multiple murders, and for the other deaths she has caused, Milady is judged by the musketeers, Lord de Winter and by the executioner of Lille, the group having proceeded to track and hunt Milady after the death of Constance. The executioner of Lille, who placed the brand upon her shoulder years ago, beheads her in one of the last scenes of the novel.

She uses or is referred to by the following names throughout the novel:
Charlotte Backson
Anne de Breuil
Comtesse de La Fère
Milady de Winter, Baroness of Sheffield
Milady Clarick

Richelieu

A leading character in The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas, père and its subsequent film adaptations, portrayed as a main antagonist, and a powerful ruler, even more powerful than the king himself.

Comte de Rochefort

The Comte de Rochefort is a secondary, but important, fictional character in Alexandre Dumas' d'Artagnan Romances. He is described as "around forty or forty-five, fair with a scar across his cheek".
In "The Three Musketeers"

His first appearance is in the opening chapter of The Three Musketeers. He insults d'Artagnan and steals his letter of recommendation to Monsieur Treville, causing d'Artagnan to swear revenge.

He reappears from time to time as the story progresses; it is he who kidnaps Constance Bonancieux, and we eventually learn that he is the main agent of Cardinal Richelieu. However, in the end he and an older and wiser d'Artagnan, having fought inconclusively on three occasions, settle their differences and become friends.

Rochefort would reappear in the sequel, Twenty Years After. Having been put into bad favor with Richelieu's successor Mazarin, he only comes out of the Bastille after five years. When Mazarin dismisses him from service for being too old, he joins the side of the Frondeurs. He aids Athos in freeing the Duke of Beaufort and reappears in the end at the riot against Mazarin's return. Not realizing who he was in the chaos, d'Artagnan kills his old friend, as he had predicted he would if they fought a fourth time.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -
Wow! What a ride!

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Unread postby lizbet » Sat Jul 05, 2008 4:14 pm

DITHOT - thank you so much for this - hopefully by reading this before I start in on TCD things will make much more sense - not only have I never read The Three Musketeers I've never seen it - I might have seen some of The Man In the Iron Mask but that's not quite the same is it - guess I have been too much of an anglophile to have included this classic on my reading list - nebraska - congrats for being able to get both books read - another summer and I might try but I'll rely on both you and our trusty moderators for helping me through this one (these ones) -thanks again -
trying to live in "a profound state of ignorance"

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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Sun Jul 06, 2008 9:59 pm

Hi, lizbet! :wave: Good to see you back at ONBC. I wish I had time to read both books but unfortunately there just wasn't time. I thought this might help as a reference while reading The Club Dumas since the Dumas work figures so predominately in the story. I think it will also be a good reference point during the discussion. Congrats to those that have been able to get both books read! :cool:
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -

Wow! What a ride!

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Unread postby Gilbert's Girl » Mon Jul 07, 2008 3:54 am

Christopher Lee played Rochfort in the films made during the 1970's interestingly.

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Unread postby Liz » Mon Jul 07, 2008 4:20 am

Gilbert's Girl wrote:Christopher Lee played Rochfort in the films made during the 1970's interestingly.


That's interesting! :cool: And it wouldn't be the only Johnny connection found in this book. Keep a sharp eye out for those. It might be the topic of a discussion question.
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

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Unread postby ThirdArm » Mon Jul 07, 2008 4:28 am

Morning, Liz,

I'm glad to see that ONBC is reading The Club Dumas. I have really enjoyed the whole Mustateers thing and I think I'll join you folks with The Club Dumas." The background summary was very helpful.
~No doubt the years have changed me.~

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Unread postby Liz » Mon Jul 07, 2008 4:30 am

Mornin' Neighbor. Glad you will be joining us. :bounce:
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

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Unread postby bluebird » Mon Jul 07, 2008 4:04 pm

Liz wrote:
Gilbert's Girl wrote:Christopher Lee played Rochfort in the films made during the 1970's interestingly.


That's interesting! :cool: And it wouldn't be the only Johnny connection found in this book. Keep a sharp eye out for those. It might be the topic of a discussion question.


Found a couple already!!
Looking forward to this discussion!
bluebird
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Unread postby Liz » Mon Jul 07, 2008 4:54 pm

bluebird wrote:
Liz wrote:
Gilbert's Girl wrote:Christopher Lee played Rochfort in the films made during the 1970's interestingly.


That's interesting! :cool: And it wouldn't be the only Johnny connection found in this book. Keep a sharp eye out for those. It might be the topic of a discussion question.


Found a couple already!!
Looking forward to this discussion!
bluebird


Way to go! :cool:

I am so looking forward to old friends such as yourself, Lizbet and ThirdArm joining us again for a discussion. :bounce:
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

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Unread postby nebraska » Mon Jul 07, 2008 5:20 pm

I printed out and studied the Wikipedia information about the Three Musketeers before I began reading the book and it is sitting by my chair for easy reference. I was a little overwhelmed when I read the story synopsis since there seemed to be so many twists and turns and so many characters in it, but so far I am following the story with ease, thanks, I think, to having an overview before I began.

The copy I purchased for a ridiculously low price from an Amazon.com new and used dealer is a beautiful old book which came in a slightly battered gold slip case. The book itself has cream colored page edges speckled with blue. The pages have two boxed-in columns with chapter numbers in Roman numerals. There are quite a few pictures which appear to be reproductions of charcoal drawings and are very dramatic and dark. The copyright is 1953 -- that may explain why the book itself brings a bit of nostalgia to me, I would have been 6 years old at that time and books of my childhood were probably of a similar design. It seems to me that the "old" feel of the book adds atmosphere to my reading.

I am about 1/3 of the way through the book, just to the part where D'Artagnan and the Musketeers are setting off for London to retrieve the jewels (although we haven't been told precisely what the purpose of their journey will be). There are several bits of mystery cleverly hinted through the story. It seems well-crafted from that viewpoint.

I decided to read the book primarily for my own pleasure and so I am reading with a different attitude than I usually read for ONBC - no highlighter, no pen, no notepad. So far my impression is that one could read the Wikipedia synopsis and know all you really need to know to understand the Club Dumas......in fact, reading the Club Dumas by itself might be sufficient. But I think I am beginning to understand the passion of the Club Dumas characters for the 3 Musketeers because it has an emotional effect on me that is hard to explain. The writing style is old fashioned and a bit flowery with some of the longest sentences I have ever read in my life. :lol: Even the dueling scenes are written with such lovely prose that the violence seems insignificant. It is a delightful read.

So far I have had just a brief brush or two with Milady and Rochefort so my feelings may change in the next 300 or so pages of reading. I am sure there are plenty of sinister goings-on ahead. :-O

I will update as I get further into the book.

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Unread postby Parlez » Mon Jul 07, 2008 7:46 pm

Wow, Nebraska, it sounds like you scored a real gem there! Just the feel and look of those old(er) books makes turning each page that much more pleasurable I think.
In the lengthy introduction to my copy of The Vicomte de Bragelonne, the author makes this statement about Dumas ~
"Alexandre received a modicum of schooling and was happy: even as a boy, Dumas, who always took his own sunshine with him wherever he went, seemed permanently insulated against life's disappointments."
I thought that was such a cool thing to say! His upbeat personality shows in his style of writing.

Thanks for the update, and for the lovely description of your book! :cool:
"Belay that! ...Do something else!" ~ Hector Barbossa
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DeppInTheHeartOfTexas
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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Mon Jul 07, 2008 9:44 pm

nebraska, your edition of The Three Musketeers sounds lovely! I know what you mean about the highlighter and notepad. I'm currently reading something the same way and feeling rather lost! :lol: It sounds like Dumas was fond of the run on sentence? A man after my own heart who just keeps writing and writing putting all his thoughts down on paper in a stream that just never ends until someone points out, usually one of my former English teachers, that punctuation has a reason for existence and I should probably consider its benefits before I go much further so I will.

Parlez, your quote about Dumas is quite a tribute! What a wonderful thing to say about someone.
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Gilbert's Girl
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Unread postby Gilbert's Girl » Tue Jul 08, 2008 3:22 am

I had a brief look through my copy last night it also has colour illustrations, and was published in in 1954. Not quite as nice though as yours Nebraska. Its a Macdonald Illustrated Classics book and illustrated by someone called Hookway Cowles. All I know is that I bought it from a second hand book shop many years ago.

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nebraska
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Unread postby nebraska » Sat Jul 19, 2008 10:26 pm

I am now on page 205 of the Three Musketeers, so I am nearly half way through the book. Here is a brief update.

As outlined in the wikipedia summary, d'Artagnan goes to Paris where he befriends Three of the King's Musketeers. The queen gives some diamonds to the Duke of Buckingham as a sign of her affection. Her enemy the Cardinal sets a trap for the queen, encouraging the King to hold a ball in which the queen must wear her diamonds and it will thus become apparent that she has betrayed the king. d'Artagnan and his Musketeer friends set off to England to retrieve the queen's diamonds and along the way Porthos, Athos, and Aramis run into all sorts of difficulties, so that d'Artagnan is the only one who reaches England and he returns the diamonds to the queen in Paris by himself. Shortly thereafter Constance Bonacieux, with whom he fancies himself madly in love, is abducted. This is revenge on the part of the Cardinal because d'Artagnan declined an invitation to join the Cardinal's corps. d'Artagnan retraces his steps of the prior journey in an effort to gather up his buddies for assistance.

This second journey has now gone on for many pages. d'Artangan finds Porthos recovering from a wound. He finds Aramis in serious study with two Jesuits as he prepares to enter the priesthood. Athos has holed up in an innkeeper's basement where he is depleting the food supplies and drinking enormous amounts of wine. These episodes go on for several pages each with a lot of tedious detail. Throughout all of this Dumas is painting a more detailed picture of each Musketeer character and perhaps giving a feel of camaraderie between d'Artagnan and the Three. And he does introduce the story of Athos' wife who had the fleur-de-lis on her shoulder But this section of the book seems to be slow going, without much really happening after the book started with quite a bit of action.

What is surprising to me is that at this point, nearly half way through the book, very little has been seen of the villains. The Cardinal is referred to several times, Rochefort has made a few shadowy appearances, and Milady has barely been seen. This surprises me because reading the Club Dumas I was lead to believe that they were the main characters of the story, holding so much fascination for the lead characters in TCD and with Corso having so much knowledge about them.

I am interested to see how the plot develops and how the villainous characters are drawn as I read on.

All of this is JMHO of course. :blush:

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Unread postby Liz » Sun Jul 20, 2008 11:26 am

That's quite interesting, Nebraska. I am surprised too that the villains have not gotten much attention in the first half of the book.

Thanks for the update.
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