Saturday, April 26, 2008
The Three Musketeers
Dumas, Alexandre. The Three Musketeers. Translated by Richard Pevear. (This translation was published in 2006. The original was published in the 1840s.)
On the first Monday of the month of April 1625, the village of Meung, where the author of the Romance of the Rose was born, seemed to be in as total an upheaval as if the Huguenots had come to make a second La Rochelle. Many of the townsmen, seeing women fleeing along the main street, hearing children crying on the doorsills, hastened to put on their breastplates and, backing up their somewhat uncertain countenances with a musket or a partisan, headed for the Jolly Miller Inn, before which jostled a compact group, noisy, full of curiosity, and growing every minute.
Thus begins the classic novel The Three Musketeers. It may not be much of an attention-grabber--especially these days--but believe me, there is more than enough adventure to go around (and then some) in this wonderful classic. Set in seventeenth century France during the reign of Louis XIII, the novel focuses on the life and adventures of a young man d'Artagnan. His friends. His enemies. His frenemies. His lovers. d'Artagnan is a man without much fortune; when we first meet up with him he is almost penniless--not quite--and is the not-so-proud owner of a yellow nag of a horse. Despite his father urging him to not sell the horse, the first thing d'Artagnan does when he gets the chance is to unload himself of the poor creature. He may not have much, but he has BIG dreams and BIG potential. He's also rather confident for being who he is. The first to want to duel at the slightest insult. The first to demand honor and respect. He has a clumsy way about him--at least at first. He seems to rub every one the wrong way at the beginning. His first day in town--in Paris I believe--and he ends up with three men wanting to challenge him. Athos. Porthos. Aramis. Three of the king's own musketeers.
But it is to "be" a musketeer that he is there in the first place. To be a musketeer, to serve his king and country, to earn glory (and money) his only ambition. (Well that and to get the attention of the ladies.) I won't get into the specifics--I hope you'll pick this one up yourself--the duels come to a rather unique resolution. The three men already being the very best of friends decide to take d'Artagnan under their protection, to make him part of this tight circle of friendship. To be part of the exclusive all-for-one and one-for-all club.
Friendship. Love. Hate. Revenge. Secrets. Danger. Adventure. Adventure. Adventure. Adventure with a dash of romance. Swordfights. Duels. Honor. Jealousy. Agendas. Ambition. Greed. Lust. And more than a little humor and sarcasm.
I really can't recommend this one highly enough. I loved every moment of it. Dashing men with swords. Dashing men that wear hats with feathers. Had me at hello. Seriously. Once I started, I didn't want to stop. I did of course. I wasn't able to read 704 pages in one sitting. But I doubt anyone could. It was thoroughly enjoyable. And I didn't want it to end.
I would definitely recommend this edition over the others as well. It has some incredible foot notes. :)
© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews