The Man in the Iron Mask

The Man in the Iron Mask

by Alexandre Dumas
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Overview

“The Man in the Iron Mask” represents the final portion of the third installment of the ‘D’Artagnan Romances’. Preceded by “The Three Musketeers”, the first volume; “Twenty Years After”, the second volume; “The Vicomte de Bragelonne”, part one of the third volume; “Ten Years Later” part two of the third volume; and “Louise de la Vallière”, part three of the third volume; “The Man in the Iron Mask” is a tale that brings to life the mystery of one of the Bastille’s most famous prisoners, a man whose identity is hidden behind an iron mask. In this work we find the original three Musketeers in retirement and D’Artagnan in the service of the corrupt Louis XIV. While the identity of the original man in the iron mask is unknown, Dumas constructs his story around the idea that the prisoner is in fact the twin brother of Louis XIV, imprisoned from birth by his father to prevent any conflict over a divided rule of the kingdom. When Aramis learns the secret of the man in the iron mask he devises a plot to replace the King with his twin brother, setting in motion a series of events which draws all the Musketeers back into action. An exciting work of political intrigue and high adventure, “The Man in the Iron Mask” brings to a tragic conclusion the adventures of the Musketeers. This edition is printed on premium acid-free paper.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9789389232639
Publisher: Throne Classics
Publication date: 05/27/2019
Pages: 358
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.94(d)

About the Author

Alexandre Dumas (24 July 1802 – 5 December 1870) was an eccentric and wildly successful French writer. He is best known for his tales of high adventure, such as "The Three Musketeers" and "The Count of Monte Cristo". He is one of the most widely read French authors in the world.

Ken Battlefield was an American comics artist who mainly worked for Wow Comics. He produced only one title for Classics Illustrated - Alexandre Dumas's "The Man in the Iron Mask"

Read an Excerpt

The Man in the Iron Mask


By Alexandre Dumas

OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIA

Copyright © 2016 Alexandre Dumas
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-5040-3382-4


CHAPTER 1

The Prisoner.


Since Aramis's singular transformation into a confessor of the order, Baisemeaux was no longer the same man. Up to that period, the place which Aramis had held in the worthy governor's estimation was that of a prelate whom he respected and a friend to whom he owed a debt of gratitude; but now he felt himself an inferior, and that Aramis was his master. He himself lighted a lantern, summoned a turnkey, and said, returning to Aramis, "I am at your orders, monseigneur." Aramis merely nodded his head, as much as to say, "Very good"; and signed to him with his hand to lead the way. Baisemeaux advanced, and Aramis followed him. It was a calm and lovely starlit night; the steps of three men resounded on the flags of the terraces, and the clinking of the keys hanging from the jailer's girdle made itself heard up to the stories of the towers, as if to remind the prisoners that the liberty of earth was a luxury beyond their reach. It might have been said that the alteration effected in Baisemeaux extended even to the prisoners. The turnkey, the same who, on Aramis's first arrival had shown himself so inquisitive and curious, was now not only silent, but impassible. He held his head down, and seemed afraid to keep his ears open. In this wise they reached the basement of the Bertaudiere, the two first stories of which were mounted silently and somewhat slowly; for Baisemeaux, though far from disobeying, was far from exhibiting any eagerness to obey. On arriving at the door, Baisemeaux showed a disposition to enter the prisoner's chamber; but Aramis, stopping him on the threshold, said, "The rules do not allow the governor to hear the prisoner's confession."

Baisemeaux bowed, and made way for Aramis, who took the lantern and entered; and then signed to them to close the door behind him. For an instant he remained standing, listening whether Baisemeaux and the turnkey had retired; but as soon as he was assured by the sound of their descending footsteps that they had left the tower, he put the lantern on the table and gazed around. On a bed of green serge, similar in all respect to the other beds in the Bastile, save that it was newer, and under curtains half-drawn, reposed a young man, to whom we have already once before introduced Aramis. According to custom, the prisoner was without a light. At the hour of curfew, he was bound to extinguish his lamp, and we perceive how much he was favored, in being allowed to keep it burning even till then. Near the bed a large leathern armchair, with twisted legs, sustained his clothes. A little table — without pens, books, paper, or ink — stood neglected in sadness near the window; while several plates, still unemptied, showed that the prisoner had scarcely touched his evening meal. Aramis saw that the young man was stretched upon his bed, his face half concealed by his arms. The arrival of a visitor did not caused any change of position; either he was waiting in expectation, or was asleep. Aramis lighted the candle from the lantern, pushed back the armchair, and approached the bed with an evident mixture of interest and respect. The young man raised his head. "What is it?" said he.

"You desired a confessor?" replied Aramis.

"Yes."

"Because you were ill?"

"Yes."

"Very ill?"

The young man gave Aramis a piercing glance, and answered, "I thank you." After a moment's silence, "I have seen you before," he continued. Aramis bowed.

Doubtless the scrutiny the prisoner had just made of the cold, crafty, and imperious character stamped upon the features of the bishop of Vannes was little reassuring to one in his situation, for he added, "I am better."

"And so?" said Aramis.

"Why, then — being better, I have no longer the same need of a confessor, I think."

"Not even of the hair-cloth, which the note you found in your bread informed you of?"

The young man started; but before he had either assented or denied, Aramis continued, "Not even of the ecclesiastic from whom you were to hear an important revelation?"

"If it be so," said the young man, sinking again on his pillow, "it is different; I am listening."

Aramis then looked at him more closely, and was struck with the easy majesty of his mien, one which can never be acquired unless Heaven has implanted it in the blood or heart. "Sit down, monsieur," said the prisoner.

Aramis bowed and obeyed. "How does the Bastile agree with you?" asked the bishop.

"Very well."

"You do not suffer?"

"No."

"You have nothing to regret?"

"Nothing."

"Not even your liberty?"

"What do you call liberty, monsieur?" asked the prisoner, with the tone of a man who is preparing for a struggle.

"I call liberty, the flowers, the air, light, the stars, the happiness of going whithersoever the sinewy limbs of one-and-twenty chance to wish to carry you."

The young man smiled, whether in resignation or contempt, it was difficult to tell. "Look," said he, "I have in that Japanese vase two roses gathered yesterday evening in the bud from the governor's garden; this morning they have blown and spread their vermilion chalice beneath my gaze; with every opening petal they unfold the treasures of their perfumes, filling my chamber with a fragrance that embalms it. Look now on these two roses; even among roses these are beautiful, and the rose is the most beautiful of flowers. Why, then, do you bid me desire other flowers when I possess the loveliest of all?"

Aramis gazed at the young man in surprise.

"If flowers constitute liberty," sadly resumed the captive, "I am free, for I possess them."

"But the air!" cried Aramis; "air is so necessary to life!"

"Well, monsieur," returned the prisoner; "draw near to the window; it is open. Between high heaven and earth the wind whirls on its waftages of hail and lightning, exhales its torrid mist or breathes in gentle breezes. It caresses my face. When mounted on the back of this armchair, with my arm around the bars of the window to sustain myself, I fancy I am swimming the wide expanse before me." The countenance of Aramis darkened as the young man continued: "Light I have! what is better than light? I have the sun, a friend who comes to visit me every day without the permission of the governor or the jailer's company. He comes in at the window, and traces in my room a square the shape of the window, which lights up the hangings of my bed and floods the very floor. This luminous square increases from ten o'clock till midday, and decreases from one till three slowly, as if, having hastened to my presence, it sorrowed at bidding me farewell. When its last ray disappears I have enjoyed its presence for five hours. Is not that sufficient? I have been told that there are unhappy beings who dig in quarries, and laborers who toil in mines, who never behold it at all." Aramis wiped the drops from his brow. "As to the stars which are so delightful to view," continued the young man, "they all resemble each other save in size and brilliancy. I am a favored mortal, for if you had not lighted that candle you would have been able to see the beautiful stars which I was gazing at from my couch before your arrival, whose silvery rays were stealing through my brain."

Aramis lowered his head; he felt himself overwhelmed with the bitter flow of that sinister philosophy which is the religion of the captive.

"So much, then, for the flowers, the air, the daylight, and the stars," tranquilly continued the young man; "there remains but exercise. Do I not walk all day in the governor's garden if it is fine — here if it rains? in the fresh air if it is warm; in perfect warmth, thanks to my winter stove, if it be cold? Ah! monsieur, do you fancy," continued the prisoner, not without bitterness, "that men have not done everything for me that a man can hope for or desire?"

"Men!" said Aramis; "be it so; but it seems to me you are forgetting Heaven."

"Indeed I have forgotten Heaven," murmured the prisoner, with emotion; "but why do you mention it? Of what use is it to talk to a prisoner of Heaven?"

Aramis looked steadily at this singular youth, who possessed the resignation of a martyr with the smile of an atheist. "Is not Heaven in everything?" he murmured in a reproachful tone.

"Say rather, at the end of everything," answered the prisoner, firmly.

"Be it so," said Aramis; "but let us return to our starting-point."

"I ask nothing better," returned the young man.

"I am your confessor."

"Yes."

"Well, then, you ought, as a penitent, to tell me the truth."

"My whole desire is to tell it you."

"Every prisoner has committed some crime for which he has been imprisoned. What crime, then, have you committed?"

"You asked me the same question the first time you saw me," returned the prisoner.

"And then, as now you evaded giving me an answer."

"And what reason have you for thinking that I shall now reply to you?"

"Because this time I am your confessor."

"Then if you wish me to tell what crime I have committed, explain to me in what a crime consists. For as my conscience does not accuse me, I aver that I am not a criminal."

"We are often criminals in the sight of the great of the earth, not alone for having ourselves committed crimes, but because we know that crimes have been committed."

The prisoner manifested the deepest attention.

"Yes, I understand you," he said, after a pause; "yes, you are right, monsieur; it is very possible that, in such a light, I am a criminal in the eyes of the great of the earth."

"Ah! then you know something," said Aramis, who thought he had pierced not merely through a defect in the harness, but through the joints of it.

"No, I am not aware of anything," replied the young man; "but sometimes I think — and I say to myself —"

"What do you say to yourself?"

"That if I were to think but a little more deeply I should either go mad or I should divine a great deal."

"And then — and then?" said Aramis, impatiently.

"Then I leave off."

"You leave off?"

"Yes; my head becomes confused and my ideas melancholy; I feel ennui overtaking me; I wish —"

"What?"

"I don't know; but I do not like to give myself up to longing for things which I do not possess, when I am so happy with what I have."

"You are afraid of death?" said Aramis, with a slight uneasiness.

"Yes," said the young man, smiling.

Aramis felt the chill of that smile, and shuddered. "Oh, as you fear death, you know more about matters than you say," he cried.

"And you," returned the prisoner, "who bade me to ask to see you; you, who, when I did ask to see you, came here promising a world of confidence; how is it that, nevertheless, it is you who are silent, leaving it for me to speak? Since, then, we both wear masks, either let us both retain them or put them aside together."

Aramis felt the force and justice of the remark, saying to himself, "This is no ordinary man; I must be cautious. — Are you ambitious?" said he suddenly to the prisoner, aloud, without preparing him for the alteration.

"What do you mean by ambitious?" replied the youth.

"Ambition," replied Aramis, "is the feeling which prompts a man to desire more — much more — than he possesses."

"I said that I was contented, monsieur; but, perhaps, I deceive myself. I am ignorant of the nature of ambition; but it is not impossible I may have some. Tell me your mind; that is all I ask."

"An ambitious man," said Aramis, "is one who covets that which is beyond his station."

"I covet nothing beyond my station," said the young man, with an assurance of manner which for the second time made the bishop of Vannes tremble.

He was silent. But to look at the kindling eye, the knitted brow, and the reflective attitude of the captive, it was evident that he expected something more than silence, — a silence which Aramis now broke. "You lied the first time I saw you," said he.

"Lied!" cried the young man, starting up on his couch, with such a tone in his voice, and such a lightning in his eyes, that Aramis recoiled, in spite of himself.

"I should say," returned Aramis, bowing, "you concealed from me what you knew of your infancy."

"A man's secrets are his own, monsieur," retorted the prisoner, "and not at the mercy of the first chance-comer."

"True," said Aramis, bowing still lower than before, "'tis true; pardon me, but to-day do I still occupy the place of a chance-comer? I beseech you to reply, monseigneur."

This title slightly disturbed the prisoner; but nevertheless he did not appear astonished that it was given him. "I do not know you, monsieur," said he.

"Oh, but if I dared, I would take your hand and kiss it!"

The young man seemed as if he were going to give Aramis his hand; but the light which beamed in his eyes faded away, and he coldly and distrustfully withdrew his hand again. "Kiss the hand of a prisoner," he said, shaking his head, "to what purpose?"

"Why did you tell me," said Aramis, "that you were happy here? Why, that you aspired to nothing? Why, in a word, by thus speaking, do you prevent me from being frank in my turn?"

The same light shone a third time in the young man's eyes, but died ineffectually away as before.

"You distrust me," said Aramis.

"And why say you so, monsieur?"

"Oh, for a very simple reason; if you know what you ought to know, you ought to mistrust everybody."

"Then do not be astonished that I am mistrustful, since you suspect me of knowing what I do not know."

Aramis was struck with admiration at this energetic resistance. "Oh, monseigneur! you drive me to despair," said he, striking the armchair with his fist.

"And, on my part, I do not comprehend you, monsieur."

"Well, then, try to understand me." The prisoner looked fixedly at Aramis.

"Sometimes it seems to me," said the latter, "that I have before me the man whom I seek, and then —"

"And then your man disappears, — is it not so?" said the prisoner, smiling. "So much the better."

Aramis rose. "Certainly," said he; "I have nothing further to say to a man who mistrusts me as you do."

"And I, monsieur," said the prisoner, in the same tone, "have nothing to say to a man who will not understand that a prisoner ought to be mistrustful of everybody."

"Even of his old friends," said Aramis. "Oh, monseigneur, you are too prudent!"

"Of my old friends? — you one of my old friends, — you?"

"Do you no longer remember," said Aramis, "that you once saw, in the village where your early years were spent —"

"Do you know the name of the village?" asked the prisoner.

"Noisy-le-Sec, monseigneur," answered Aramis, firmly.

"Go on," said the young man, with an immovable aspect.

"Stay, monseigneur," said Aramis; "if you are positively resolved to carry on this game, let us break off. I am here to tell you many things, 'tis true; but you must allow me to see that, on your side, you have a desire to know them. Before revealing the important matters I still withhold, be assured I am in need of some encouragement, if not candor; a little sympathy, if not confidence. But you keep yourself intrenched in a pretended which paralyzes me. Oh, not for the reason you think; for, ignorant as you may be, or indifferent as you feign to be, you are none the less what you are, monseigneur, and there is nothing — nothing, mark me! which can cause you not to be so."

"I promise you," replied the prisoner, "to hear you without impatience. Only it appears to me that I have a right to repeat the question I have already asked, 'Who are you?'"

"Do you remember, fifteen or eighteen years ago, seeing at Noisy-le-Sec a cavalier, accompanied by a lady in black silk, with flame-colored ribbons in her hair?"

"Yes," said the young man; "I once asked the name of this cavalier, and they told me that he called himself the Abbe d'Herblay. I was astonished that the abbe had so warlike an air, and they replied that there was nothing singular in that, seeing that he was one of Louis XIII.'s musketeers."

"Well," said Aramis, "that musketeer and abbe, afterwards bishop of Vannes, is your confessor now."

"I know it; I recognized you."

"Then, monseigneur, if you know that, I must further add a fact of which you are ignorant — that if the king were to know this evening of the presence of this musketeer, this abbe, this bishop, this confessor, here — he, who has risked everything to visit you, to-morrow would behold the steely glitter of the executioner's axe in a dungeon more gloomy, more obscure than yours."

While listening to these words, delivered with emphasis, the young man had raised himself on his couch, and was now gazing more and more eagerly at Aramis.

The result of his scrutiny was that he appeared to derive some confidence from it. "Yes," he murmured, "I remember perfectly. The woman of whom you speak came once with you, and twice afterwards with another." He hesitated.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from The Man in the Iron Mask by Alexandre Dumas. Copyright © 2016 Alexandre Dumas. Excerpted by permission of OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIA.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Introduction ix(15)
Select Bibliography xxiv(1)
A Chronology of Alexandre Dumas xxv
THE MAN IN THE IRON MASK
1. TWO OLD FRIENDS
1(12)
2. WHEREIN MAY BE SEEN THAT A BARGAIN WHICH CANNOT BE MADE WITH ONE PERSON, CAN BE CARRIED OUT WITH ANOTHER
13(9)
3. THE SKIN OF THE BEAR
22(6)
4. AN INTERVIEW WITH THE QUEEN-MOTHER
28(8)
5. TWO FRIENDS
36(6)
6. HOW JEAN DE LA FONTAINE WROTE HIS FIRST TALE
42(4)
7. LA FONTAINE IN THE CHARACTER OF A NEGOTIATOR
46(6)
8. MADAME DE BELLIERE'S PLATE AND DIAMONDS
52(3)
9. M. DE MAZARIN'S RECEIPT
55(7)
10. MONSIEUR COLBERT'S ROUGH DRAFT
62(8)
11. IN WHICH THE AUTHOR THINKS IT IS NOW TIME TO RETURN TO THE VICOMTE DE BRAGELONNE
70(5)
12. BRAGELONNE CONTINUES HIS INQUIRIES
75(5)
13. TWO JEALOUSIES
80(5)
14. A DOMICILIARY VISIT
85(6)
15. PORTHOS'S PLAN OF ACTION
91(7)
16. THE CHANGE OF RESIDENCE, THE TRAP-DOOR, AND THE PORTRAIT
98(9)
17. RIVAL POLITICS
107(4)
18. RIVAL AFFECTIONS
111(7)
19. KING AND NOBILITY
118(7)
20. AFTER THE STORM
125(5)
21. HEU! MISER!
130(3)
22. WOUNDS UPON WOUNDS
133(5)
23. WHAT RAOUL HAD GUESSED
138(5)
24. THREE GUESTS ASTONISHED TO FIND THEMSELVES AT SUPPER TOGETHER
143(5)
25. WHAT TOOK PLACE AT THE LOUVRE DURING THE SUPPER AT THE BASTILLE
148(6)
26. POLITICAL RIVALS
154(1)
26. POLITICAL RIVALS
154(7)
27. IN WHICH PORTHOS IS CONVINCED WITHOUT HAVING UNDERSTOOD ANYTHING
161(6)
28. M. DE BAISEMEAUX'S "SOCIETY"
167(6)
29. THE PRISONER
173(23)
30. HOW MOUSTON HAD BECOME FATTER WITHOUT GIVING PORTHOS NOTICE THEREOF, AND OF THE TROUBLES WHICH CONSEQUENTLY BEFELL THAT WORTHY GENTLEMAN
196(6)
31. WHO MESSIRE JEAN PERCERIN WAS
202(6)
32. THE PATTERNS
208(8)
33. WHERE, PROBABLY, MOLIERE FORMED HIS FIRST IDEA OF THE BOURGEOIS GENTILHOMME
216(5)
34. THE BEEHIVE, THE BEES, AND THE HONEY
221(8)
35. ANOTHER SUPPER AT THE BASTILLE
229(6)
36. THE GENERAL OF THE ORDER
235(7)
37. THE TEMPTER
242(7)
38. CROWN AND TIARA
249(7)
39. THE CHATEAU DE VAUX-LE-VICOMTE
256(4)
40. THE WINE OF MELUN
260(5)
41. NECTAR AND AMBROSIA
265(4)
42. A GASCON, AND A GASCON AND A HALF
269(10)
43. COLBERT
279(6)
44. JEALOUSY
285(5)
45. HIGH TREASON
290(8)
46. A NIGHT AT THE BASTILLE
298(6)
47. THE SHADOW OF M. FOUQUET
304(13)
48. THE MORNING
317(7)
49. THE KING'S FRIEND
324(14)
50. SHOWING HOW THE COUNTERSIGN WAS RESPECTED AT THE BASTILLE
338(6)
51. THE KING'S GRATITUDE
344(8)
52. THE FALSE KING
352(8)
53. IN WHICH PORTHOS THINKS HE IS PURSUING A DUCHY
360(4)
54. THE LAST ADIEUX
364(4)
55. MONSIEUR DE BEAUFORT
368(7)
56. PREPARATIONS FOR DEPARTURE
375(7)
57. PLANCHET'S INVENTORY
382(4)
58. THE INVENTORY OF M. DE BEAUFORT
386(5)
59. THE SILVER DISH
391(7)
60. CAPTIVE AND JAILERS
398(8)
61. PROMISES
406(9)
62. AMONG WOMEN
415(7)
63. THE LAST SUPPER
422(7)
64. IN THE CARRIAGE OF M. COLBERT
429(6)
65. THE TWO LIGHTERS
435(6)
66. FRIENDLY ADVICE
441(5)
67. HOW THE KING, LOUIS XIV., PLAYED HIS LITTLE PART
446(8)
68. THE WHITE HORSE AND THE BLACK HORSE
454(6)
69. IN WHICH THE SQUIRREL FALLS--IN WHICH THE ADDER FLIES
460(8)
70. BELLE-ISLE-EN-MER
468(8)
71. THE EXPLANATIONS OF ARAMIS
476(9)
72. RESULT OF THE IDEAS OF THE KING, AND THE IDEAS OF D'ARTAGNAN
485(2)
73. THE ANCESTORS OF PORTHOS
487(4)
74. THE SON OF BISCARRAT
491(5)
75. THE GROTTO OF LOCMARIA
496(5)
76. THE GROTTO
501(7)
77. AN HOMERIC SONG
508(4)
78. THE DEATH OF A TITAN
512(5)
79. THE EPITAPH OF PORTHOS
517(6)
80. THE ROUND OF M. DE GESVRES
523(5)
81. KING LOUIS XIV.
528(6)
82. THE FRIENDS OF M. FOUQUET
534(6)
83. PORTHOS'S WILL
540(4)
84. THE OLD AGE OF ATHOS
544(5)
85. THE VISION OF ATHOS
549(5)
86. THE ANGEL OF DEATH
554(4)
87. THE BULLETIN
558(5)
88. THE LAST CANTO OF THE POEM
563(5)
EPILOGUE 568(16)
THE DEATH OF D'ARTAGNAN 584(5)
Explanatory Notes 589

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Man in the Iron Mask (Barnes & Noble Classics Series) 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 645 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In life, he was sentenced to a cruel fate--in death, he would become a legend. Alexandre Dumas tells the tale of the mysterious man who was imprisoned in the Bastille starting in the 168o's until his death some thirty years later. During that time his face had been hidden by an iron mask. While his identity remains a mystery, there are some tantalizing clues which might remove the mask from the man. Most prisoners of the French prison were usually important people who had fallen out of favor with King Louis XIV. Given strict orders by the king, the Musketeers were to kill him if he removed his mask. He ate in the mask, slept in the mask, and eventually died in the mask. In 1717, Voltaire was imprisoned at the Bastille. According to him, the man in the iron mask was around 60 when he died, and bore a striking resemblance to a very famous aristocrat. Of course, the most famous aristocrat in France at that time was King Louis XIV, who was also in his 60's. Another prisoner at the Bastille, Joseph de Lagrange, asserted that Benigne d'Auvergne de Saint, the governor of Sainte Marguerite, treated the mystery man deferentially and referred to him as 'prince'. Stories about the mysterious prisoner are conflicting. Some state that he wore a mask of velvet, not iron. Evidence has surfaced saying that the prisoner was buried under the name M. de Marchiel. And later, a death certificate giving the prisoner's name as Marchioly and his age of 45 was found. Another states, that in 1789 Frederic Grimm, a famous writer, claimed that a valet had revealed to him that Louis XIV had an identical twin. And that Louis XIII, feared the brothers would grow up to fight over the throne, so he sent the second-born baby away to be raised in secret. The boy was taken into a nobleman's household and treated with great respect, but he was never told who he really was. As he grew up, he saw a portrait of King Louis XIV and guessed the truth. He was immediately arrested, and spent the rest of his life as the Man in the Iron Mask. Many people believed this to be false, and believe it was elaborated and embroidered by Alexandre Dumas as the years passed. It has been said that when the Bastille was stormed by a revolutionary mob, the prince's skeleton was discovered, still wearing his iron mask. Of course, there is no record that this actually happened.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Beautifully written by a true master. This is not Randall Wallace's 1998 film version, which bears very little in common with Dumas' masterpiece. It will make you curse, it will make you weep, and it will make you appreciate the demise of monarchy and the creation to democracy, no matter how flawed our system may be. Enjoy, if for no other reason than the beauty of the words.
apanteva More than 1 year ago
Great story and excellent reading
Guest More than 1 year ago
In life, he was sentenced to a cruel fate--in death, he would become a legend. Alexandre Dumas tells the tale of the mysterious man who was imprisoned in the Bastille starting in the 168o's until his death some thirty years later. During that time his face had been hidden by an iron mask. While his identity remains a mystery, there are some tantalizing clues which might remove the mask from the man. Most prisoners of the French prison were usually important people who had fallen out of favor with King Louis XIV. Given strict orders by the king, the Musketeers were to kill him if he removed his mask. He ate in the mask, slept in the mask, and eventually died in the mask. In 1717, Voltaire was imprisoned at the Bastille. According to him, the man in the iron mask was around 60 when he died, and bore a striking resemblance to a very famous aristocrat. Of course, the most famous aristocrat in France at that time was King Louis XIV, who was also in his 60's. Another prisoner at the Bastille, Joseph de Lagrange, asserted that Benigne d'Auvergne de Saint, the governor of Sainte Marguerite, treated the mystery man deferentially and referred to him as 'prince'. Stories about the mysterious prisoner are conflicting. Some state that he wore a mask of velvet, not iron. Evidence has surfaced saying that the prisoner was buried under the name M. de Marchiel. And later, a death certificate giving the prisoner's name as Marchioly and his age of 45 was found. Another states, that in 1789 Frederic Grimm, a famous writer, claimed that a valet had revealed to him that Louis XIV had an identical twin. And that Louis XIII, feared the brothers would grow up to fight over the throne, so he sent the second-born baby away to be raised in secret. The boy was taken into a nobleman's household and treated with great respect, but he was never told who he really was. As he grew up, he saw a portrait of King Louis XIV and guessed the truth. He was immediately arrested, and spent the rest of his life as the Man in the Iron Mask. Many people believed this to be false, and believe it was elaborated and embroidered by Alexandre Dumas as the years passed. It has been said that when the Bastille was stormed by a revolutionary mob, the prince's skeleton was discovered, still wearing his iron mask. Of course, there is no record that this actually happened.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was so cool. I had not read the Three Musketeers, but after this book, I'm hooked. Alexandre Dumas is a great writer with a flare for suspenseful scenes.
jfb More than 1 year ago
The Man in the Iron Mask was not my favorite of Dumas work, but still it was an interesting read. The plot was disjointed and clumsy, and Dumas's style of writing only increased this effect. The actual "man in the iron mask" plot/character played a relatively insignifigant role in the novel, the rest of the book dealt mainly with political intrigue. The action was relatively slow in the beginning, but gets better as it progresses. I personally liked many of the final scenes near the end the best. And i did enjoy some of his interesting depictions of historical characters, like Louis XIV and Fouquet. Overall, not Dumas best, but not bad
Anonymous 14 days ago
I felt Like I knew the characters.
gypsysmom on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the third and final episode of the Musketeers story. At the start of the book the musketeers are still in their glory. D¿Artagnan is the captain of the Musketeers and has the confidence of the king, Louis XIV. Aramis is a high-ranking churchman (and in fact is the head of a secret society within the church). Porthos is wealthy and still a strongman. Athos is a Count and has the only child, Raoul, whom he adores. Raoul is also beloved by the three other musketeers. Unfortunately, Raoul has had his heart broken and is desperately unhappy. His fiancé fell in love with the King and became his mistress.The title character really plays a minor role in the story. He is the twin brother of Louis XIV but he has been hidden away by his parents so that the succession will not be in doubt. Aramis has learned of his existence as a prisoner in the Bastille and conceives a scheme to free him and substitute him for his brother. This would give Aramis control over the King of France and allow him to achieve his ultimate aim, the papacy. Aramis involves Porthos in the scheme but not the other two since he knows they would not go along with it.The scheme fails and Aramis and Porthos must flee. They take refuge at Belle-Isle, an island off France near Nantes. The King orders D¿Artagnan to capture them which puts D¿Artagnan in quite a quandary. The King has foreseen that D¿Artagnan will try to help his friends and prevents him being able to. D¿Artagnan returns to the King to tender his resignation and while he is away from Belle-Isle the troops capture it. Aramis and Porthos try to get away in a small boat but in the ensuing fight Porthos is killed. Aramis does manage to escape to Spain.Meanwhile, Athos and Raoul have parted because Raoul has joined the army to fight in Algeria. Athos knows Raoul intends to seek death and he declines physically and mentally waiting for word. When it comes and Raoul is confirmed dead Athos dies as well.Four years later D¿Artagnan (who did not end up resigning) goes to war for France against the Dutch. He is promised to be made a Marshal if his troops do well. At the moment he receives word that he has been made Marshal he is killed.Thus of the four, only Aramis is left at the end of the book. According to the afterword to the book Dumas intended this to show the death of chivalry and honour. It makes for a very sad ending and I wonder how this was received by the public at the time it was published.I had not read the middle book, Twenty Years After, and my recollection of the original Three Musketeers is quite dim so I¿m not sure how this book compares to the others. My feeling though is that there was much more action and not so much politics and court intrigue. Maybe some day I¿ll reread the first book and read the second to see how they compare.
TakeItOrLeaveIt on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
back in the days Leo was cool I guess I thought it was cool to read this book. I was into it, but it isnt the best Dumas and its very comical/goofy. made for my age at the time 11-13.
theokester on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
First I must admit that even though I've seen a few movie renditions, this is the first time I've read this book. Furthermore, this is the first book I've read by Dumas¿and it is kind of a strange place to start considering this is the ending of one of his famous series.The first thing I noticed about the writing was that it was VERY detailed. Not only in terms of descriptions but also in terms of the character and political development. I quickly found myself overwhelmed with dozens of names, roles and relationships (personal and political) throughout France and neighboring countries. It was dizzying to try to keep them all straight, especially considering a number of similar names as well as the habit of referring to some people by different names at different times (sometimes by their common name, sometimes by their political/professional title). After a while, I sank in and was able to keep at least the principal characters straight. and I got caught up in the intriguing machinations that were unfolding.Having seen two movie versions, I felt like I had a good feel for what to expect from the plot. However, it quickly became apparent that the movie versions I've seen (and from what I can tell, this is true of most of the movie versions out there) are rather different from the novel.Interestingly, the story of the "man in the iron mask" is only a small portion of the overall plot of this particular book. And that plot segment unravels itself through the first third of the book and then disappears completely. In the movie versions, the way the "iron mask" plot ends is strikingly different from what happens in the book. The remaining half+ of the book has nothing to do with the "man in the iron mask" (except for the consequences of the plot) and instead follows the famous musketeers to the ends of their careers/lives.It was still adventurous and a lot of fun¿but was different from what I expected. So, now that I know that I shouldn't compare the book to the movie at all, and feeling more comfortable with the characters and plot¿I am able to look back over the book as a whole in an entirely different light. As I said, the writing was very detailed. In some cases it felt like the details were a littler superfluous and over the top, but mostly I found it very immersive to be provided with that level of detail. Some of the characters felt a bit stereotypical but the main characters were unique and intriguing. They had significant depth which provided them with believable motivations to their various actions and dialog. The one exception I saw was the prince in the scene where he was anticipating D'Artangan's every action. We had previously been given to expect the prince to be incapable of strategic planning or foresight and suddenly we find him anticipating the motivations and reactions of a thoughtful and strategic man. To me, that was a bit of a stretch. I can discount it a bit based on the other character who was feeding the prince with various ideas and can thus attribute the insight to this other character (being vague to try and avoid spoilers).I really found myself enjoying the overall story. The "man in the iron mask" portion was very interesting and fun. I was shocked to see it end so different from the movies, but it felt more natural and believable. Then to have so much adventure after that plot arc, I had a ton of fun. While the intrigue and machinations of carrying out the "iron mask" plot were fun and intriguing, I'd heard/scene them so often that they became commonplace. Thus, the adventure that happened after the "iron mask" was fresh to me and that made it so much more fun.Overall I will admit that, if this book is any indication, Dumas is a heavy read. This book was filled with very detailed accounts of places, people, politics and other comings and goings of France. This was both a joy and a hindrance at times. There were moments when I felt bogged down by the text, but mostly I really
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
He entered the room a strange chill went up his back.he loked up saw glowing red eyes and then ran 5mins later Dead
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I came to see if this book had any good reviews. I'm sure other people have too. Please don't use it as a chatroom!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Mistress_Nyte More than 1 year ago
If you are familiar with the main characters from The Three Musketeers, you are pretty much set for a new adventure with this book.  However, please keep in mind that the Musketeers we have all grown to know and love have aged, albeit gracefully, when this story starts. Prepare for court intrigues, musket battles, plots and twists, and of course Musketeer adventure!  The good Musketeers learn of a twin for the Prince, but he has been secreted away for all of his life.  This secret creates havoc as the Musketeers feel their duty is to right the wrong done to the young prince.  However, this causes chaos between the noble swordsmen to the King and the Royal family.   Loyalties are tested, and friendships are tried.  This book is full of everything that one can expect of a Musketeer tale, including bloodshed and tears.  It definitely lives up to its predecessors.
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Amen. Find a chat room. Great book. Love the story behind it all. DrewDog
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Stop chatting/rp on a book review either get a life, or find a chat room.