Mixing a bit of seventeenth-century French history with a great deal of invention, Alexandre Dumas tells the tale of young D'Artagnan and his musketeer comrades, Porthos, Athos, and Aramis. Together they fight to foil the schemes of the brilliant, dangerous Cardinal Richelieu, who pretends to support the king while plotting to advance his own power. Bursting with swirling swordplay, swooning romance, and unforgettable figures—including the seductively beautiful but deadly femme fatale, Milady, and D'Artagnan's equally beautiful love, Madame Bonacieux—The Three Musketeers continues, after a century and a half of continuous publication, to define the genre of swashbuckling romance and historical adventure.
About the Author
Alexandre Dumas (1802-1870) was one of the literary lights of France during the Romantic Revolution, his complete works eventually filling over three hundred volumes. George Bernard Shaw described him as "one of the best storytellersa ]that ever lived." The Man in the Iron Mask and The Three Musketeers are available from Brilliance Audio.
JOHN LEE is a well-known herbalist, who practices in North Carolina and lectures widely.
Read an Excerpt
The three gifts of monsieur d'artagnan the elder
On the first Monday of April, 1625, the market town of Meting, birthplace of the author of the Roman de Ia Rose, seemed to be in as great a turmoil as if the Huguenots had come to turn it into a second La Rochelle. A number of townsmen, seeing women running in the direction of the main street and hearing children shouting on doorsteps, hastened to put on their breastplates and, steadying their rather uncertain self-assurance with a musket or a halberd, made their way toward the inn, the Hotellerie du Franc Meunier, in front of which a noisy, dense, and curious throng was growing larger by the minute.
Panics were frequent in those times, and few days went by when an event of this kind was not recorded in the archives of one town or another. Noblemen fought among themselves; the king was at war with the cardinal; the Spanish were at war with the king. And then, besides all this secret or open warfare, there were robbers, beggars, Huguenots, wolves, and lackeys, who were at war with everyone. The townsmen always took up arms against robbers, wolves, and lackeys, often against noblemen and Huguenots, sometimes against the king, but never against the cardinal or the Spanish. It was because of these habits that the townsmen, on that first Monday of April, 1625, bearing a commotion and seeing neither a red and yellow Spanish flag nor the livery of Cardinal Richelieu, hurried toward the Franc Meunier inn.
When they arrived there, they were able to see the cause of the tumult.
A young man ... Let us sketch a rapid portrait of him. Imagine Don Quixote at eighteen, a Don Quixotewithout chain mail or thigh pieces, wearing a woolen doublet whose original blue had been transformed into an elusive shade between purple and azure. He had a long, dark face with prominent cheekbones, a mark of shrewdness; his jaw muscles were heavily developed, an infallible sign by which one can recognize a Gascon, even without a beret, and our young man wore a beret adorned with some sort of feather. His eyes were frank and intelligent; his nose was hooked, but finely drawn; he was too big for an adolescent and too small for a full-grown man. An untrained eye might have taken him for a farmer's son on a journey if it had not been for the sword that bung from a shoulder belt, slapping against his calves when he walked, and against his shaggy horse when he rode.
For the young man had a mount, one that could not fail to attract attention: a small Bearn horse twelve to fourteen years old, with a yellowish coat, an almost hairless tail and sores on his legs. He walked with his head lower than his knees, which made a martingale unnecessary, but he could still do twenty miles a day. Unfortunately his good qualities were hidden by his strange color and his outlandish gait. He had come into Meting a quarter of an hour earlier through the Beaugency gate, and since in those days everyone was a practiced judge of horses, his appearance had caused a sensation that cast disfavor on his rider.
This was all the more painful to young d'Artagnan (such was the name of the Don Quixote astride that other Rosinante) because he was well aware of how ridiculous his horse made him seem, even though he was an excellent rider. That was why he had sighed when he had accepted the horse as a gift from his father. He knew that such an animal was worth at least twenty livres; the words that had accompanied the gift, however, were priceless.
"My son," the Gascon nobleman had said in the Bearn accent that Henry IV never succeeded in losing, "this horse was born on my estate nearly thirteen years ago and has never left it. That should be enough to make you love him. Never sell him, let him die peacefully and honorably of old age, and if you go to war with him, treat him with consideration, as you would treat an old servant. At court, if you have the honor to go there, an honor to which our ancient nobility entitles you, be worthy of your noble name, worthily borne by your ancestors for over five hundred years. For yourself, your relatives, and your friends, never tolerate the slightest affront from anyone except the cardinal or the king. Remember this: it's by courage, and courage alone, that a nobleman makes his way nowadays. Anyone who trembles for even one second may lose the chance that fortune offered him precisely at that second. You're young, and you must be brave for two reasons: first, you're a Gascon; and second, you're my son. Don't be afraid of opportunities, and seek out adventures. I've taught you to use a sword. You have iron legs and a steel wrist. Fight duels at the drop of a hat, especially since duels are forbidden: that means it takes twice as much courage to fight one.
"My son, all I have to give you is fifteen ecus, my horse, and the advice You've just heard. Your mother will give you the recipe for an ointment that a Gypsy woman taught her how to make: it miraculously heals any wound that doesn't reach the heart. Make the most of all these gifts, and have a long, happy life.
"I have only one more thing to add: an example for you to follow. It's not MY own, because I've never appeared at court and I've fought only in the wars of religion as a volunteer. I'm speaking of Monsieur de Treville, who used to be my neighbor and had the honor of playing with our King Louis XIIImay God preserve him!when they were both children. Sometimes their games turned into fights, and the king didn't always win them. The drubbings be got from Monsieur de Treville made him feel great respect and . . .
Table of Contents
Author's Preface xxi
I The Three Presents of Monsieur d'Artagnam the Elder 3
II The Antechamber of Monsieur de Tréville 20
III The Audience 31
IV The Shoulder of Athos, the Baldric of Porthos, and the Handkerchief of Aramis 43
V The King's Musketeers and the Cardinal's Guards 52
VI His Majesty King Louis XIII 64
VII The Domestic Life of the Musketeers 85
VIII A Court Intrigue 95
IX D'Artagnan Begins to Show Himself 104
X A Seventeenth-Century Mousetrap 114
XI The Plot Thickens 126
XII George Villiers, the Duke of Buckingham 145
XIII Monsieur Bonacieux 154
XIV The Man of Meung 164
XV Men of the Robe and Men of the Sword 176
XVI In Which Séguier, the Keeper of the Seals, Looks More Than Once for the Bell He Used to Ring 186
XVII In the Bonacieux Household 199
XVIII The Lover and the Husband 214
XIX Plan of Campaign 222
XX The Journey 232
XXI The Comtesse de Winter 245
XXII The Ballet of La Merlaison 257
XXIII The Rendezvous 265
XXIV The Pavilion 277
XXV The Mistress of Porthos 288
XXVI The Thesis of Aramis 308
XXVII The Wife of Athos 327
XXVIII The Return 348
XXIX The Hunt for Equipment 364
XXX Milady 374
XXXI English and French 384
XXXII Dinner at the Prosecutor's 392
XXXIII Mistress and Maid 402
XXXIV Concernig the Equipment of Aramis and Porthos 413
XXXV At Night All Cats Are Gray 422
XXXVI Dreams of Vengeance 430
XXXVII Milady's Secret 439
XXXVIII How Athos, Without Inconveniencing Himself, Acquired His Equipment 446
XXXIX An Apparition 456
XL The Cardinal 466
XLI The Siege of La Rochelle 476
XLII The Anjou Wine 490
XLIII The Inn at Colombire-Rouge 499
XLIV On the Utility of Stovepipes 509
XLV A Conjugal Scene 518
XLVI The Bastion of Saint-Gervais 525
XLVII The Council of the Musketeers 534
XLVIII A Family Affair 554
XLIX The Hand of Fate 571
L A Conversation Between Brother and Sister 580
LI "Officer!" 588
LII The First Day of Captivity 600
LIII The Second Day of Captivity 608
LIV The Third Day of Captivity 616
LV The Fourth Day of Captivity 626
LVI The Fifth Day of Captivity 635
LVII A Scene from Classical Tragedy 652
LVIII Escape 660
LIX What Happened at Portsmouth on 23 August 1628 670
LX In France 683
LXI The Carmelite Convent at Béthune 689
LXII Two Varieties of Demon 703
LXIII A Drop of Water 711
LXIV The Man in the Red Cloak 727
LXL Judgment 733
LXVI Execution 743
LXVII Conclusion 749
Dramatis Personae: Historical Characters 761
Notes on the Text of The Three Musketeers 772
What People are Saying About This
"Dumas is a master of ripping yarns full of fearless heroes, poisonous ladies and swashbuckling adventurers."
"The Napoleon of storytellers."
— Washington Post
Reading Group Guide
1. Discuss Dumas's use of historical events in the novel. Do you think a knowledge of history is necessary or unnecessary in order to enjoy the novel? Discuss the ways in which Dumas alters or takes liberties with real events in order to suit the story. Is his view of history sanitized in any way?
2. Dumas is thought of as the chief popularizer of French Romantic drama. In considering The Three Musketeers, do you think this reputation is an accurate one? How does Dumas use dramatic effect in the novel?
3. Contemporary critics were offended by the scenes depicting vice and violence in the novel. Do you find these scenes arbitrary or not?
4. Many critics have described the musketeers as well-developed stereotypes, but are there ways in which the musketeers transcend these stereotypes? Are there other, perhaps more complex ways of interpreting the four protagonists?
5. Discuss Dumas's female characters, in particular Milady. What is her role in the novel, and what does this reveal about Dumas's views of women, if anything? Does Dumas depict a war between the sexes?
6. How do the chapter endings contribute to Dumas's masterly maintenance of pace? How does this kind of device recall a play, and how does this speak to Dumas's strengths stylistically?
7. In what ways is The Three Musketeers a bildungsroman? Would you characterize the work as a youthful novel?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Countless movies have been made over the years on Alexandre Dumas¿ The Three Musketeers. Regardless of how many times you have seen these movies or which ones you have seen, nothing can compare to the book. This book is a timeless classic with an extremely action-packed plot that will glue itself to your fingers until you have read the last two words of the book: ¿THE END.¿ I have enjoyed this book tremendously and would recommend it. For guys, this book is the perfect book with the most interesting things in life engraved in it. D¿Artagnan, a zealous young man from a somewhat poor family, has come to Paris in search of his life long dream, becoming a musketeer. In doing so he plays his cards wrong and although securing it well with the leader of the musketeers, secures himself three duals at the same time: He had one with Athos, one with Porthos, and one with Aramis. Although humorous, this then builds their friendship and they accept D¿Artagnan as one of them. The next thing they know they are defending the Queen against the hatred of the Cardinal, hunting down a beautiful spy, taking on armies by themselves, and a whole lot more. One of the more interesting parts of this book is the culture that is so very evident in it. For instance, the four of them drink more wine than the country of Italy has to offer. For every meal, snack, or tea time they bring out the bottles. This is one of the many humorous things that happen on a regular basis with the musketeers. So, what will happen to the inseparable quartet of musketeers? The only way of finding out is by taking the time and effort and reading it. You will not be disappointed.
This is the translation you want. Most others are obtusely Victorian bowdlerizations. This manages to keep the formality of French but make the characters and story fresh and rollicking ... like the serial it is.
I love epics, and this series is one of my favorites. Though few people may know it, this book is the first in a series of 5 books, the LAST installment being The Man in the Iron Mask. We have been completely duped by Hollywood in accepting that this story is as shallow as a king, his throne and an ambitious cardinal. It is a classic representative of love and honor in times gone by, with more action than verbage-which is a major accomplishment considering the 5 books are literally over 3,000 pages when combined. If you love d'Artangan, follow him through Twenty Years After, The Vicomte de Bragelonne, Lousie de la Valliere and The Man in the Iron Mask. He will never dissappoint!
This is a converted scan of a physical book, with many uncorrected OCR errors. Too much distraction, there are better quality electronic editions freely available
In Alexander Dumas' classic novel, The Three Musketeers, the protagonist is a young Gascon man, D'Artagnan, who leaves his home in search of a career with the Musketeers. He is portrayed as a handsome young man, hotheaded, prideful, intelligent, who cannot stand being insulted. While attempting to enter the Musketeers, he meets three musketeers: Athos, Porthos, and Aramis. As these four have many adventures together, they become best friends. Athos, the eldest of the four, is portrayed as a handsome, father-like figure to the three. He is also very secretive, never talks of past loves and hides his past behind his drink. The friends all believe he had his heart severely broken and it will never be mended. Porthos is described as an intimidating giant, honest, and enjoying the pleasures of life: wine, women, and music. Aramis is portrayed as a man who loves women and enjoys flirting with them. He dreams one day of retiring from the Musketeers and joining a monastery to spend the rest of his life as a religious man. The main antagonist is Cardinal Richelieu, a corrupt member of the Catholic Church who uses many spies and guards. This is his attempt to defeat the Protestants and anyone else who gets in his attempt to show his dominance over Christianity. Another antagonist is Milady de Winter, who is later revealed to be Athos' ex-wife. She was supposed to be executed but somehow miraculously evaded death. She uses her beauty to seduce men and use them as her wishes. The main conflict is the attempt to conceal the love affair between the Queen of France and the Duke of Buckingham. In the process of hiding the secret, they must find the location of Constance and evade the wrath of Milady de Winter. Action that leads to the climax includes the journey to receive the diamond studs from the Duke of Buckingham. Another example in the climax is the disappearance and quest to locate D'Artagnan's missing lover, Constance. This book was very interesting to read because it has descriptive words to describe the plot with many excellent twists and turns on every page that surprise the reader. I enjoyed reading about D'Artagnan's hotheaded and rash personality, especially when thinks someone has insulted him. For example, when he passes by the town of Meung and sees a man laughing, D'Artagnan assumes that he is amused by his horse and challenges the man to a duel to the death. I also enjoyed the personality of D'Artagnan as he leaves his friends to reach the Duke of Buckingham to save the Queen, and then returns to help each of his friends recover. Another interesting point was when the four decided to have breakfast in the camp of the enemy and talked casually as if nothing was happening as hundreds of soldiers charge the four.
I've only seen the Disney version (the one with Kiefer Sutherland) of this book, so thought I might enjoy it for my classics challenge. Boy, was I surprised. It was not an easy read. It's large and cumbersome. I didn't have to force my way though it, just had to take my time. I was most shocked by the differences. I was under the impression that D'Artagnan was a follower and more of the type to get into trouble. He's actually more of the leader in this book. The musketeers aren't as valiant and courageous as I thought. More along the lines of men who like their women and their wine, and prefer to haggle their way to getting them for free. There wasn't as much suspense, intrigue, coercion, and backstabbing as I anticipated. I was glad when I finished it, but happy I read it
Fits the Era perfectly. Romance, adventure, intrigue.
Young D¿artagnan and his three Musketeer companions are embroiled in a succession of plots instigated by Cardinal Richeleiu and carried out by the infamous `my lady¿ or `her ladyship¿, one of the fiercest and most deceitful female adversaries in literature. I¿m glad I finally got around to reading this... overall, the tale makes for an enjoyable, adventuresome romp¿ not my favourite Dumas, but eminently readable. I found I struggled at first to care about the French politics, but since everything was both necessary to, and interwoven with, the plot, it soon consolidated itself with the rest of the story to become well-paced and dramatic.
Well swash my buckle and buckle my swash!Loved the books and the Oliver Reed/Raquel Welsh films. But more than anything loved the way that Dumas took time to concentrate on the Baroness and created the first, real modern villaness.One of those books which completely surprises you.En guard!
Having only been exposed to the Disney and Dogtanian version of this story, I thought I would undertake to read the real thing. And wow, I wasn't disappointed! According to the introduction, Dumas wrote this book serialised daily, which is quite some feat! It also means that each chapter ends on a cliff-hanger or something else that draws you in to keep reading. Its an exciting, thrilling tale of daring and adventure. Last night I had to stay up late to finish it, despite the fact that I was really tired, as the book progressed towards its inevitably tragic and dramatic climax.Admittedly, the main characters are hardly sympathetic. The musketeers and D'artagnan are all hard-drinking and loose with their money, sponging off their friends and treating their servants with contempt. Their relationships with women are quite cavalier too. The most sympathetic one is Athos, whose past comes back to haunt him and who increasingly occupies a greater role in the story towards the end as he seeks his revenge.Of the baddies, I was a bit disappointed with the cardinal, as he seemed to me to be rather an insipid character, torn between his admiration for the daring feats of the musketeers and his dislike for the fact that they keep undermining his dastardly plots. The best character is definitely Milady, a cold and calculated actress who can twist people round her little finger to do what she wants. Yet even she seems scared of losing the cardinal's favour.This is a brilliantly multi-layered book which, due to the plot full of political machinations, intrigues and secrets, is, at its heart, a damn good read.
This is a classic tale of honor, duty and loyalty. The heroes aren't otherworldly characters, but instead are written to be normal individuals with common problems with only their integrity to set them apart. Even if you know the story, this book is very captivating to the end.
Here's a book that has infiltrated popular culture to a certain extent for over 150 years. I've seen derivative movies, ridden themed amusement rides, shouted 'All for one...!' during heated moments. But I'd never read the book itself.Sure, I can check it off of my 'well read' list now. But the experience, though entertaining for the most part, left me wondering exactly what the big deal is about this novel.I'm going to warrant a guess that it was genre-shaping, and its outright irreverence was probably a kick in the pants to its 19th century audience. Dumas' treatment of illicit affairs is not subtle, and there is raunchy humor sprinkled liberally throughout.This is a boy's novel, thoroughly. Though the main antagonist is a crafty female, the real depth of character is saved for the four heroes (d'Artagnan, Porthos, Athos, Aramis). And it would be an overstatement to call this swashbuckling adventure a character study, anyway.The action is pretty constant, although occasionally formulaic (and thus predictable). Dumas uses patterns that sound poetic or mythic sometimes: a certain adventure befalls each of the four protagonists in rhythmic succession, for example. Something I learned, as an aside: Dumas wrote in tandem with a history teacher, Auguste Maquet, who served as his researcher and did a good amount of the outlining and a bit of the writing.
The Three Musketeers' objective is to entertain; this novel is solid adventure, from first to final page. I expected a more riveting plot, however, and I also hoped for the demonstration of themes worthy of a master author such as Dumas. But it is a book that presents problems that are invariably solved by swordplay. The theme of camaraderie is, of course, ubiquitous, as is the theme of youthful love that continuously vascillates. Quick to read and somewhat amusing. But you won't be exposed to any enduring questions to ponder.
I found a really wonderful translation of Dumas's work hiding in a bookstore in Helsinki, and two days later I was finished. It was so brisk and lively, full of wit and bravado and the kind of coarseness that really illustrates the France of those times. D'Artagnan's adventure is as movingly romantic now as it ever was again, and closing the book afterwards felt like saying goodbye to friends far too soon.
An endless adventure breathlessly moving from one scene to the next: sword-fighting duels, court espionage, sex scandals, poisonings, assassinations, undying love. "Les Trois Mousquetaires" was translated into three English versions by 1846. One of these, by William Barrow, is still in print and fairly faithful to the original, available in the Oxford World's Classics 1999 edition. However all of the explicit and many of the implicit references to sexuality had been removed to conform to 19th century English standards, thus making the scenes between d'Aragnan and Milady, for example, confusing and strange. The most recent and new standard English translation is by award-winning translator Richard Pevear (2006). Pevear says in his translation notes that most of the modern translations available today are "textbook examples of bad translation practices" which "give their readers an extremely distorted notion of Dumas's writing."
I was surprized at how complex and detailed the writting is. Absolutly every thought and movement is stated by the author. And the vocabulary was huge. I was thinking about how many more words people knew one hundred years ago.
This book is the adventures of d'Artagnan and is friends Porthos, Athos, and Aramis. Together the live by the motto "all for one, and one for all" and protect the rulers of France from the evil Cardinal Richelieu.This story has a little bit of everything, action, adventure, romance, comedy, it just a fun read all around.I would use this book in a unit on French literature or in conjunction with a unit on medieval romances as it shares many of the same themes as they have.
This is one of the longest books I have read lately. At first it was a little intimidating but when I finally got the courage to start reading it I discovered that it's fast paced and couldn't stop reading. This book is full of action, the events are cleverly interwoven to make a complex plot of friendship, loyalty, romance, adventure and suspense. I found the characters to be all so fascinating, it starts with the great D'Artagnan whose hot hotheadedness accounts for most of the adventures and which leads him to meet with the famous three musketeers, Athos, Porthos and Aramis. Once they are sworn as friends the four men become inseparable and live by their motto "all for one, one for all", they demonstrate loyalty for each other until the end. I recently learned that Alexandre Dumas wrote two more books to follow this one, Twenty Years After and The Vicomte De Bragelonne, the three books are also known as the D'Artagnan Romances. This made me curious to get hold of the next books and find out what happened after The Three Musketeers. With every classic that I read I realize that these books truly deserve to be called classics and why I should really read more of them.
This is a well-known story so I won't bore you with rehashing the tale. I have been trying in the last few years to read Classics that I have on my shelf and never cracked open. This was one that I chose for this year and several other readers joined me in a group read. I have to admit that I thought I knew the story because I had seen the movies (both versions) and I thought they probably didn't range too far from the book but I was wrong. I found as I was reading this over two months that it took me to places that I hadn't seen in either movie and character depths that were unexplored came to life. I'm not someone that normally enjoys the Classics, but this was an exception.
I'm sure most people are familiar with the story line of The Three Musketeers from hollywood movies, but what you don't get in the movies is Dumas' wonderful dry wit. This book is an excellent read, and if you are willing to push through some of the dry parts you will be amply rewarded with an exciting tale.
A must-read, at least once. I'm not terribly fond of Dumas' style of writing, but it is a lot more readable than some of his era. The story is a classic & has been rehashed so many times that it is really worth seeing what everyone has begged, borrowed & stolen over the years. I've read it twice & may read it again before I die, but probably only once more.
Built on the ridiculous, the humorous, the exciting, and deeply in the characters, this work creates a world of romance (in that oh-so-classic sense) and adventure which conscripts the reader and delivers him to the front lines. I am alway amazed by this book's ability to invoke lust, pity, wonder, respect, scorn, and hatred, all while driving along a plot filled with new events and characters.Should there be any future for Fantasy, it lies not in the hands of Tolkien-copying machines, nor even in Moorecock's 'un-fantasy', but in whatever writer can capture Beowulf, The Aeneid, The Three Musketeers, or The White Company and make a world which is exciting not because everything is magical and strange, but because everything is entirely recognizable, but much stranger. Of course, one may want to avoid going Mervyn Peake's route with this, and take a lesson from the driving plot and carefree frivolity that Dumas Pere and his innumerable ghostwriters adhered to.It is amusing here to note that Dumas has accredited to his name far more books than he is likely to have ever written. As he was paid for each book with his name on it, he made a sort of 'writing shop' where he would dictate plots, characters, or sometimes just titles to a series of hired writers and let them fill in the details.So, praises be to Dumas or whichever of his unrecognized hirees wrote such a work.
Great adventure story! Though I didn't like it as much as The Count of Monte Cristo.
This was one of those classics I elected to listen to on audio and I'm so happy I did. I loved sitting back and being told this story about the one-for-all-and-all-for-one guys. Funny, smart -- one of the better classics I've experienced. Political intrigue, romance, humor, history -- I really enjoyed reading the story. I also rented the movie with Michael York, Richard Chamberlain, Raquel Welch, Oliver Reed, Charleton Heston and Faye Dunaway having vague but fond memories of it. It didn't match up to my memories, but it was still fun to see it again after having read the book.If a classic is on your need-to-read list, pick this one.
It's not every day I stop while reading a book to say to myself: "Wow. I'm really having a lot of fun." This book and the sequels are a great time.