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Historical Fiction Dumas, Alexandre: D'Artagnan Romances, Vol 1. v2, 22 Aug 2008
#1  HarryT 05-04-2007, 07:46 AM
Everyone is familiar with The Three Musketeers, thanks to the many movies which have been made of this book, some of them sharing little more than the name in common with the actual book

What some people may be unaware of is that The Three Musketeers is merely the first (small) part of a set of three books called, as a whole, the D'Artagnan Romances, which collectively tell the life story of D'Artagnan, who appears as a young man in The Three Musketeers. The book is, like its main protagonist, of truly heroic proportions. If you think that War and Peace or The Lord of the Rings would be quite good if only they were longer, this is the series for you .

This gets a bit complicated, so pay attention (there will be a test at the end)...

The D'Artagnan Romances consists of three books:

1. The Three Musketeers.
2. Twenty Years After (set 20 years after The Three Musketeers).
3. The Vicomte de Bragelonne (set 10 years after part 2 - ie 30 years after The Three Musketeers).

OK, so far, so good. Where it gets complicated is that the final book in the series is a truly gargantuan work, and is generally published split into either 3, 4, or 5 separate volumes. This edition uses the four volume version, and these four volumes are called, respectively:

3a. The Vicomte de Bragelonne.
3b. Ten Years Later.
3c. Louise de la Valliere.
3d. The Man in the Iron Mask.

Where things get complicated is that The Vicomte de Bragelonne can refer to either the whole of this third book, or just to the first volume of it. Moreover, it is subtitled Ten Years Later, so once again this title can refer to the whole book or just the second volume of it. Finally, just to confuse matters, The Man in the Iron Mask is often printed as a "self-contained" novel, and can be split up in quite a different manner from the 4-part split described above.

Phew...

Hope that's clear to everyone .

Anyway, back to the plot. What I'm going to do is issue the whole series in FOUR volumes, as follows:

Vol 1 - The Three Musketeers (this book).
Vol 2 - Twenty Years After.
Vol 3 - The first two parts of the complete Vicomte de Bragelonne; ie The Vicomte de Bragelonne and Ten Years Later.
Vol 4 - The final two parts of the complete Vicomte de Bragelonne; ie Louise de la Valliere and The Man in the Iron Mask.

That should be enough to keep even the keenest reader going for a while.

I should add, by the way, that this is a wonderful series. I've read it many times, and never tire of it. It's best to read it straight through, if you can.

The plot, for those not familiar with it:

The year is 1625. The young D'Artagnan arrives in Paris at the tender age of 18, and almost immediately offends three musketeers, Porthos, Aramis, and Athos. Instead of dueling, the four are attacked by five of the Cardinal's guards, and the courage of the youth is made apparent during the battle. The four become fast friends, and, when asked by D'Artagnan's landlord to find his missing wife, embark upon an adventure that takes them across both France and England in order to thwart the plans of the Cardinal Richelieu. Along the way, they encounter a beautiful young spy, named simply Milady, who will stop at nothing to disgrace Queen Anne of Austria before her husband, Louis XIII, and take her revenge upon the four friends.

Enjoy - the other volumes to follow shortly.

EDIT: 22 Aug 08

Completely recreated the book from a much better HTML source than the text file used previously. Added a cover image.


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#2  Dr. Drib 05-04-2007, 09:29 AM
...yet I've neglected him for way too many years.

Thanks for these books, as they're wonderful reading.

Don
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#3  UncleDuke 05-04-2007, 11:02 AM
this is good stuff. everyone should read them at least once.
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#4  nekokami 05-04-2007, 01:28 PM
And when you're done with those, if you feel you want more in a rather similar vein, try Stephen Brust's Khaavren Romances (The Phoenix Guards, Five Hundred Years After, and the three volumes comprising The Viscount of Adrilankha: The Paths of the Dead, The Lord of Castle Black, and Sethra Lavode.)

Unfortunately, you'll have to resort to paper, as I've been completely unable to find any of these in digital format, though they have been around for a while and are still in print.
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#5  tsgreer 05-04-2007, 03:51 PM
Excellent Harry! Thanks for explaining all of it. I didn't know all of the books were connected. I'm looking forward to reading this as I stand in line for Spiderman 3 tonight...
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#6  RWood 05-04-2007, 07:47 PM
I've only read the first two. Then again I've only read three Dumas books in total.

Thanks.
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#7  Liviu_5 05-04-2007, 09:35 PM
Outside of the 3 Musketeers and sequels, Dumas wrote 3 more series that are excellent with lots of interesting characters, action, romance, even a little bit of fantastic. I do not know the exact status of english translations, some of these books I found only partial translations (I've been reading Dumas for 30 years + in 3 languages).

the Religion Wars series:
Queen Margot (Margot, her husband to be future Henry IV, still a protestant on the eve of the protestant massacre of 1572, her lover La Mole another protestant, la Mole's rival and friend Coconas and various historical personages)
Dame de Monsoreau (Chicot the noble jester/adviser to Henry III one of my favourite Dumas characters, Bussy d'Amboise the quintesantial Dumas romantic hero, Diane the lady of the title the quintessential romantic heroine and their star crossed romance)
The Forty Five (immediate sequel to DM)
Should have been a 4th novel to complete the epic - but it was not written

The Revolution series:
Joseph Balsamo (Memoirs of a Physician sometimes) - Balsamo/Cagliostro the "sorcerer revolutionary", Gilbert - another one of my favourite Dumas characters and Andree
Queen's Necklace - Cagliostro, Andree, Olivier Charny, the Queen - the famous real necklace's affair through Dumas' eyes as a conspiracy of Cagliostro to speed the downfall of the monarchy
Ange Pitou - Gilbert back from America, Andree of course, Ange Pitou, Cagliostro's shadow, the revolution starts...
Comtesse de Charny - direct continuation of Ange Pitou, all about the revolution and pretty much closure for all characters - this one is probably the single best Dumas book in my opinion and my all time favourite

The Directory/Napoleonic series
White and the Blue: the most historical book of Dumas, still has some interesting characters and scenes
Jehu's Compagnons: Napoleon taking power, his aide Roland battling the royalists under Morgan - both extraordinary Dumas characters
Chevalier de Sainte-Hermine (Last Cavalier) - last Dumas novel serialized in the year of his death 1870, found unfinished and published recently in France, and this summer here, closes the previous 2 books and follows the title hero, younger brother of Morgan through his love-hate relationship (mirroring that of Dumas) with the emperor Napoleon. Story ends in the middle with only an outline for the other half, still a great read

As standalones, there are 3 that are notable: Robin Hood (the ultimate Robin in my opinion), Count of Monte-Cristo- enough said, Georges - this one is tricky, mirrors some of Dumas racial experience (let us not forget that Dumas paternal grandmother was a black slave from Haiti, and his father a famous revolutionary general considered a rival to Napoleon and marginalized for thsi, being half-black had a lot of prejudice to deal with, as did Dumas reffered many times as a "negro" writer by his detractors)
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#8  astra 05-05-2007, 08:48 AM
I read a lot of A. Dumas when I was 16-18. This trilogy and The Revolution are the most famous. It happened when I got into Uni and got an access to its library with 12 toms series by A. Dumas. It was a long and very interesing reading spree! The only drawback of all of his books was that all his stories had a sad end . I think it is the main reason why I have never tried to re-read his books, except only one The Count of Monte Cristo

Thanks HarryT.
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#9  HarryT 08-22-2008, 05:50 AM
Completely recreated the book from a much better HTML source than the text file used previously. Added a cover image.
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#10  wayspooled 07-08-2009, 11:12 AM
heh, HarryT.. this is really excellent. I download a couple books every once in a while and don't say thanks every time because I feel silly saying the same thing over and over. But let me say once again - Thank you very much for the Dumas and Sir Walter Scott and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and the others. You do a fine thing and it's appreciated.
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