Most people know the story At the very least, they know about the story or they can quote that famous line I was one of those peeps I had never bothered to read the book because I saw an adaptation or two lolI m so silly So I finally read the book and it was better Surprise, surprise, right There s even MORE pathos, chivalry, swordplay, hails of bullets, swooning maidens, and truly an evil Cardinal and a nasty Milady to butt heads against At first, I honestly thought the over the top preoccupation with honor and revenge was the brilliant prelude to a great satire, but it never lets up and there s never a punchline.So, no It s just exciting and silly and crazy fluff Yes Fluff Hell, the writing style is fast and could be as modern as they come, all the characters larger than life, the action and intrigue and plot points as funny as they are old school It makes for a very entertaining ride There s absolutely nothing stuffy about this And now I know why it s a classic Classic popcorn fiction. 20 10 Alexandre Dumas S Most Famous Tale And Possibly The Most Famous Historical Novel Of All Time In A Handsome Hardcover VolumeThis Swashbuckling Epic Of Chivalry, Honor, And Derring Do, Set In France During The S, Is Richly Populated With Romantic Heroes, Unattainable Heroines, Kings, Queens, Cavaliers, And Criminals In A Whirl Of Adventure, Espionage, Conspiracy, Murder, Vengeance, Love, Scandal, And Suspense Dumas Transforms Minor Historical Figures Into Larger Than Life Characters The Comte D Artagnan, An Impetuous Young Man In Pursuit Of Glory The Beguilingly Evil Seductress Milady The Powerful And Devious Cardinal Richelieu The Weak King Louis XIII And His Unhappy Queen And, Of Course, The Three Musketeers Themselves, Athos, Porthos, And Aramis, Whose Motto All For One, One For All Has Come To Epitomize Devoted Friendship With A Plot That Delivers Stolen Diamonds, Masked Balls, Purloined Letters, And, Of Course, Great Bouts Of Swordplay, The Three Musketeers Is Eternally Entertaining 908 Les Trois Mousquetaires The Three Musketeers, Alexandre DumasThe Three Musketeers French Les Trois Mousquetaires is a historical adventure novel written in 1844 by French author Alexandre Dumas Set in 1625 1628, it recounts the adventures of a young man named d Artagnan after he leaves home to travel to Paris, to join the Musketeers of the Guard Although d Artagnan is not able to join this elite corps immediately, he befriends the three most formidable musketeers of the age Athos, Porthos and Aramis and gets involved in affairs of the state and court 1378 10 9644072227 1382 19 1352 I m not going to waste time than necessary for this classic The problem seems to come from me, since I couldn t follow a lot of the dialog I couldn t make any sense of what transpired here, especially in the last third of the book.I liked the intrigue with the royal couple of LouisXIII and Anne d Autruche And as soon as these historical characters disappeared from the book did my enjoyment evaporate as well Like I said, I don t want to dwell on this one starred book too much one for all, and all for one.Having said that, I read the book in French and I think if I hadn t, if I d read it in English I wouldn t have been able to finish the book The French language was a novelty which kept me going I simply cannot enjoy most classics Now, to move onwards as soon as I m able to. This is going to take some explaining, but my guiltiest pleasure when it comes to books is Alexandre Dumas The Three Musketeers.I hear you saying, How on Earth can that be a guilty pleasure I know It s a recognized classic It has far reaching pop culture impact.It s considered one of the greatest adventures ever written It has two of the most memorable villains in literature it has four kick ass action heroes It has sword fights, romance, intrigue, and most people think it has big laughs it doesn t, which is the thing that pisses me off most about its pop culture adaptations Even if people haven t read the book they know the Three Musketeers Hell, most people even know that D Artagnan, the main hero of the book, is not one of the eponymous Three So how could this book be a guilty pleasure The answer is simple at first, then its complex.Simple answer Milady de Winter.Complex answer Milady de Winter.From the accepted perspective, Milady is an unrepentant, nasty, evil, femme fatale She is an agent for the villainous Cardinal Richelieu, spying on, plotting against and battling our Musketeers at every turn She foments marital unrest between the King and Queen She plots the assassination of the Englishman, the Duke of Buckingham, to stop him from aiding the Huguenots at La Rochelle She tries to kill D Artagnan and later poisons his mistress, Constance Bonacieux She corrupts a fine, upstanding Puritan man And once upon a time, she made a fool of the Comte de La F re.She is the accepted villain, even worse than her master the Cardinal, for whom and under whose auspices she commits her evil acts She is the villain, and D Artagnan, Athos, Porthos and Aramis are the heroes Here s the problem, though, from another perspective she isn t and they aren t.You see, Milady de Winter was a poor young woman who did what she must to survive Forced into a convent for want of food, a priest fell in love with her and the pair stole some church property to start a life together They were caught, and both were branded with the fleur de lys the mark of criminals Alone again, she fell in love with the Comte de La F re They were married, and she hid her crimes from him Then one afternoon the Comte discovered her brand He felt betrayed and strung her up by her neck, leaving her to die.She lived and entered the service of the Cardinal Under his direction, she became a powerful agent, doing exactly what it is that agents do The Cardinal the right hand of the King, connected to the Pope, a man waging a war in the King s name, the most powerful man in France has Milady undermine the King s Queen, Anne of Austria, a woman having an affair with the man Duke of Buckingham who is helping the rebels within her husband s kingdom She is also asked to keep tabs on a troublesome young guard, D Artagnan, who seems to be thwarting the Cardinal s plans through sheer luck and Gascon audacity She complies Then the man she is spying on kills her lover, the Comte de Wardes And if that isn t bad enough, the man she s spying on turns up in her bedchamber posing as the Comte and proceeds to make love to Milady The lovemaking is so wonderful that D Artagnan decides to come clean and reveal his true identity Milady loses her temper with some cause, I think and tries to stab D Artagnan which he doesn t seem to understand From then on, Milady wants vengeance against the murderer of her lover, who also happens to be her rapist for that is what he is, surely.Next, she is charged with assassinating the Duke of Buckingham, for which she is issued a carte blanche by the Cardinal, but her enemy, D Artagnan committing treason against his own King and country warns the Duke, and she is banished to a tower while the Duke sails off to aid the Huguenots Well, she isn t about to languish in prison, so she seduces a Puritan and makes her escape, winding up in a convent in France where she can hide out Lucky for her, D Artagnan s mistress, a married woman whom he was bedding while he was raping Milady, is also hiding out in the convent, so Milady de Winter takes the portion of vengeance at her disposal and kills D Artagnan s lover as he killed hers.And for all of this, the Four Musketeers, now in possession of her carte blanche, hold their own little court, pass judgement on Milady and have her head separated from her shoulders And they get away with it because they have the Cardinal s signature on Milady s carte blanche which allows the bearer to do whatever they do for the good of the kingdom.It seems to me that Alexandre Dumas knew that perspective would dictate how we saw his heroes and villains, and that he was okay with his muddied good and evil waters He was writing from the Musketeers perspective, and he knew that his readers would side with them against the Cardinal and Milady But he also wrote in a way that complicated his Musketeers So much so that we accept when D Artagnan receives and accepts a commission to the Musketeers from the Cardinal himself He wanted his characters to be grey, and they were So why is this a guilty pleasure especially if the guilt doesn t come from Dumas writing I am finally getting there.The weight of popular culture has changed the way we see this story so thoroughly, has morphed the Musketeers so completely into righteous heroes, turned D Artagnan into such a loveable heartthrob and his companions into the most likeable of heroes, that it is nearly impossible for people to see the things that make them grey.But I see them for who they are I see the grey So here comes the guilt I see the Four Musketeers crimes treason, rape, murder, theft and all their flaws cruelty, greed, hypocrisy, entitlement, adulterousness to name but a few and I still love them I love them, and I enjoy reading their adventures, and I cheer for them from beginning to end I shouldn t, but I do, and that s why The Three Musketeers is my guiltiest of pleasures So there p.s I love Milady de Winter too For all the things she is. I DID ITSee my video I am a drama addict I admit it I don t generally go for comedy I will pick a movie that makes me cry over one that makes me laugh every time, and it is pretty much the same with my books But when I do read something humorous, I love satire, wit, subtle humor Mark Twain, Oscar Wilde or Will Rogers are my style Imagine my surprise that Alexander Dumas has made me laugh aloud in The Three Musketeers They are so over the top, while written as if he is endeavoring to take them seriously I have long adored The Count of Monte Cristo, and so I have never thought of Monsieur Dumas as a humorist, but I have been sadly mistaken.Every time you think D Artagnan and company have landed themselves in an impossible situation, they miraculously find their way out It is Don Quixote without any of the moral overtones These men are heroic figures only in a comedic manner Taken literally they would be abject cads They are self absorbed, misogynistic, and amoral, but it little matters since the world they inhabit is villainous and petty and corrupt The King who is the head of the state is a buffoon, the Queen a philanderer, and the Cardinal, leader of the church, a man without ethics or morals Any wonder that their men are less than stellar examples of knighthood So, without any reason to admire anyone in this fictional world, we are able to enjoy the escapades of these men and even cheer them on toward their conquests of women, rivals, and the world of French politics In fact, they are often fighting other Frenchmen than the English, whom they profess to hate but for whom they seem to have great respect and admiration I can imagine reading this in serialized form and waiting impatiently to find out what happens to Milady and the Musketeers There are cliffhangers at almost every chapter ending and the pace is fast and furious I felt somewhat like a kid again while reading this I remember that joy in reading just for the thrill of the storya sensation I don t always get with my reading these days. I thought that Queen Margot couldn t be topped I should have known better Honestly, I do not have enough space to fully explain all the ways I adore this book But I ll try to condense it First, the four main characters Love, love, love, and love Aramis and Porthos the Merry and Pippin of the group, if you ll excuse the extremely dorkish LOTR cross reference made me laugh D Artagnan was charming even though or maybe because he had multiple moments where, were I in the story, I wouldn t know whether to kiss him or smack him upside the head and the pure unfiltered AWESOME that is Athos cannot be put into words My copy of the book is 754 pages, but I was able to finish it in less than two weeks and not even notice the length because the story was so engrossing As soon as I finished it, I wanted to flip back to page 1 and start all over again Duels Lots and lots of duels The only complaint I had regarding the other Dumas book I d read before this Queen Margot, as previously mentioned was that there was a total lack of what I will bluntly call the dirty details In Margot, all the sex scenes were kept out of the way and, judging by the description Dumas gave us of the characters nighttime activities, no one managed to get laid for the entire book The Three Musketeers, on the other hand, is by no means a bodice ripper but is still very romantic And then there s the scene where D Artagnan decides that nailing Milady will be a good way to get revenge on her for kidnapping his girlfriend Which brings me to my next point Milady Holy crap I try to come up with words to describe her, but I can t do it because my brain sort of slows down until all I can hear are the words Most Badass Character Ever repeating in my head over and over while the song Cold Hard Bitch by JET starts playing in the background if that makes any sense at all Just go with it, okay But seriously, let s talk about Milady for a minute She keeps poison in her ring, seduces a guard who has been specifically warned that she ll try to seduce him, stabs herself in the chest to make people think she killed herself, regularly tries to assassinate D Artagnan and his friends, and was generally such a psychotic bitch that even Cardinal Richelieu was afraid of her UPDATEDear Hollywood,What the FUCK is wrong with you Seriously, fuck you guys Love,Madeline This is a kick ass novel, and I am indeed kicking my own ass for not having read it earlier I m ashamed to say that I thought it was a children s book My wife indignantly refuses any responsibility for my mistake as she points out, it s entirely my fault if I drew the wrong inferences from the fact that her mother read it aloud to her as an eight year old It turns out, on closer examination of the facts, that Elisabeth s mom must have skipped about a quarter of the text but I digress No, far from being a children s book, this is a noirish thriller, stuffed to the gills with violence, sex, nudity, dangerous blondes, corrupt politicians and random acts of mayhem and destruction I should have known that Anyway, better late than never.Quite apart from being a terrific read I just couldn t put it down Les Trois Mousquetaires is a remarkably interesting book for anyone who s fond of French literature The merest glance at my French shelf will show you that I like both so called serious novels and trash as everyone knows, the French write the best trashy novels in the world But what do these two literary traditions have to do with each other I feel like a paleontologist who s discovered one of those missing links in the fossil record A kind of literary coelocanth, it s exactly halfway between the two genres Too well written to be dismissed as trash, it still has so many of the defining characteristics of the modern French trash novel that it can t possibly be anything but a direct ancestor.I d hate to give away any of the plot there s a twist every other chapter but let me explain in terms of generalities Dumas is firmly in the great French tradition of Tragic Love People in his world are divided into two classes those who are motivated by Love and Honour, and those who want Money and Power To be a superior person means belonging to the first group Unfortunately, living only for Love and Honour isn t very practical, so these superior people generally have rather tragic lives a theme you see over and over again in mainstream French literature A particularly clear 20th century example is Belle du Seigneur Ariane s husband is only interested in Money and Power, and his dreary monologues about his prospects of being promoted bore her to tears Naturally, she s drawn to the dashing Solal, who never misses a chance to show how much he despises money it helps that he s very rich Equally naturally, it all ends up very tragically indeed But let s get back to Les Trois Mousquetaires Dumas takes real historical events, and reinterprets them through the prism of his ultra romantic world view On his account, the political events of 1625 27 were all about a complicated tangle of love affairs The beautiful Anne of Austria is Queen of France, but she has at best lukewarm feelings for her husband, the pathetic Louis XIII Cardinal Richelieu, the true ruler of the country, has made advances towards her, but been rebuffed he s eaten up by jealousy and spite, especially since he knows through his network of informers that Anne s heart in fact belongs to the handsome Lord Buckingham To keep the story bubbling, Dumas invents some people, who play key roles in this complicated game One of Richelieu s main agents is the psychotic blonde temptress, Milady her opposite number in the Queen s camp is the ambitious young swordsman, D Artagnan Needless to say, both of them are involved in their own intersecting webs of romantic intrigue.The startling thing to me is that the Dumas formula is still going strong, nearly 200 years later The immeasurably popular SAS series, which you can buy at any French airport bookstall, is written to almost exactly the same specification The central figure, Malko, is a modern D Artagnan vaguely on the side of the Good Guys, each episode sees him dispatched to a currently topical destination, where he s charged with some weighty task For example, in Bagdad ExpressMalko s assignment is to prevent the Iraq war by kidnapping Saddam Hussein He and one of Saddam s sons I think Qusay get involved with the same woman, there s a lot of random sex and violence, and, of course, the deal falls through A still clearer example is DjihadA Chechen rebel group gets hold of a Russian nuclear warhead, and they pass it on to an Islamicist faction led by a sexy blonde woman I know what you re going to say In the SAS world, Islamicist factions can be led by sexy blondes This time, after the usual toing and froing, Malko shoots down the blonde when she s just a few seconds away from detonating the bomb in New York It s all remarkably similar to D Artagnan s battle against the nefarious Milady.So what is it that makes this formula so incredibly effective It s fun to see history rewritten so that politics and economics are less important than who s sleeping with whom The camaraderie displayed by the Musketeers has become proverbial, and that s also inspiring But, really, it s Milady who makes the book, and she s the character who s been copied most often in modern trash fiction Look at those girls on the covers of the SAS novels Miladies, every one of them Although D Artagnan is a sympathetic hero, she effortlessly steals the show every time she appears, just as easily as Sharon Stone upstages Michael Douglas in Basic Instinct.What a shame Stone never got to play Milady in a serious adaptation of Les Trois Mousquetaires Now that would have been worth watching.
Alexandre Dumas fils.Alexandre Dumas, p re French for father , akin to Senior in English , born Dumas Davy de la Pailleterie, was a French writer, best known for his numerous historical novels of high adventure which have made him one of the most widely read French authors in the world Many of his novels, including The Count of Monte Cristo, The Three Musketeers, The Man in the Iron Mask, and The Vicomte de Bragelonne were serialized Dumas also wrote plays and magazine articles, and was a prolific correspondent Excerpted from
- 625 pages
- Les Trois Mousquetaires
- Alexandre Dumas
- 03 June 2019 Alexandre Dumas