Alexandre Dumas, The Three Musketeers (trans. Richard Pevear)
This classic novel, whose title is somewhat misleading, follows a young solider named D’Artagnan who travels from his native Gascony to Paris in order to join the musketeers, an elite military force that serves the king. D’Artagnan naively believes that he will swiftly realize his dream and make his fortune, but his simple goal soon becomes much more complicated. Through a series of accidents he befriends the three most prestigious musketeers, Athos, Porthos, and Aramis. He also becomes involved in the struggle between King Louis XIII and Cardinal Richelieu, the two most powerful men in France. As a would-be musketeer, D’Artagnan is the king’s man, but his loyalty wavers when he meets the beautiful Milady, one of the cardinal’s most influential spies. With the help of his three friends, D’Artagnan must foil Milady’s sinister plot while fighting his own attraction for her.
I actually read this book when I was 12 or so, but I’m very glad I read it again now that I have at least some knowledge of the historical context! I find it very interesting that Dumas, who was writing in the 19th century (shortly after the Napoleonic era), chose to set this story during the 17th-century wars of religion, a similarly tumultuous time for France. But even without the bigger picture, this book is quite simply a rollicking good read! It’s a long book, but the story is gripping and seems to fly by. The strength of the book is definitely its plot; by contrast, the characters aren’t developed very well. It’s fun to watch D’Artagnan and the musketeers interact with each other, but they’re essentially stock characters (Athos is the noble one, Porthos is the buffoon, etc.). And Milady is an extremely flat villain who is Pure Evil ™ through and through. In my opinion, the scheming cardinal is by far the most interesting character! Regardless, I really enjoyed this book and would love to read the rest of the series…one of these years!
7 thoughts on “Review: The Three Musketeers”
I have never read this book, although I’d like to. This and the Count of Monte Cristo…
They are both well worth the read! I think The Count is superior literature, but Musketeers is more of a rollick.
I love this book with a lot of love, but the sequels you can probably skip. I say that with all the love in the world for The Three Musketeers, truly — my favorite is when they all get scattered and D’Artagnan has to run around looking for all of them.
Hmm, good to know! I’m not exactly racing out to find the next Musketeers book. Maybe I’ll get to them eventually, but I’m in no hurry.
This one’s on my to-read list! I read Monte Cristo last year and loved it. Dumas is quite a storyteller. I’m glad to hear you enjoyed this.
If you liked The Count, I definitely think you’ll enjoy this one too! It’s not quite as complex, but it’s a much quicker read!