Twenty Years After

Twenty Years After

by Alexandre Dumas


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Twenty Years After (1845), the sequel to The Three Musketeers, is a supreme creation of suspense and heroic adventure.

Two decades have passed since the musketeers triumphed over Cardinal Richelieu and Milady. Time has weakened their resolve, and dispersed their loyalties. But treasons and strategems still cry out for justice: civil war endangers the throne of France, while in England Cromwell threatens to send Charles I to the scaffold. Dumas brings his immortal quartet out of retirement to cross swords with time, the malevolence of men, and the forces of history. But their greatest test is a titanic struggle with the son of Milady, who wears the face of Evil.

The only edition in print, David Coward sets both the author and his exciting tale in their historical and cultural contexts.

About the Series: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the broadest spectrum of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, voluminous notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9789353443610
Publisher: Astral International Pvt. Ltd.
Publication date: 07/08/2019
Pages: 626
Product dimensions: 6.14(w) x 9.21(h) x 1.39(d)

About the Author

Alexandre Dumas, père, born Dumas Davy de la Pailleterie (July 24, 1802 - December 5, 1870) 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, and The Man in the Iron Mask were serialized, and he also wrote plays and magazine articles and was a prolific correspondent.

Other Books of Dumas:
• The Count of Monte Cristo (1845)
• The Three Musketeers (1844)
• The Man in the Iron Mask (1850)
• Twenty Years After (1845)
• The Borgias (1840)
• Ten Years Later (1848)
• The Vicomte of Bragelonne (1847)
• The Black Tulip (1850)
• Louise de la Valliere (1849)
• Ali Pacha (1840)

Read an Excerpt

Twenty Years After

By Alexandre Dumas


Copyright © 2016 Alexandre Dumas
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-5040-3381-7


The Shade of Cardinal Richelieu

In a splendid chamber of the Palais Royal, formerly styled the Palais Cardinal, a man was sitting in deep reverie, his head supported on his hands, leaning over a gilt and inlaid table which was covered with letters and papers. Behind this figure glowed a vast fireplace alive with leaping flames; great logs of oak blazed and crackled on the polished brass andirons whose flicker shone upon the superb habiliments of the lonely tenant of the room, which was illumined grandly by twin candelabra rich with wax-lights.

Any one who happened at that moment to contemplate that red simar — the gorgeous robe of office — and the rich lace, or who gazed on that pale brow, bent in anxious meditation, might, in the solitude of that apartment, combined with the silence of the ante-chambers and the measured paces of the guards upon the landing-place, have fancied that the shade of Cardinal Richelieu lingered still in his accustomed haunt.

It was, alas! The ghost of former greatness. France enfeebled, the authority of her sovereign contemned, her nobles returning to their former turbulence and insolence, her enemies within her frontiers — all proved the great Richelieu no longer in existence.

In truth, that the red simar which occupied the wonted place was his no longer, was still more strikingly obvious from the isolation which seemed, as we have observed, more appropriate to a phantom than a living creature — from the corridors deserted by courtiers, and courts crowded with guards — from that spirit of bitter ridicule, which, arising from the streets below, penetrated through the very casements of the room, which resounded with the murmurs of a whole city leagued against the minister; as well as from the distant and incessant sounds of guns firing — let off, happily, without other end or aim, except to show to the guards, the Swiss troops and the military who surrounded the Palais Royal, that the people were possessed of arms.

The shade of Richelieu was Mazarin. Now Mazarin was alone and defenceless, as he well knew.

"Foreigner!" he ejaculated, "Italian! That is their mean, yet mighty byword of reproach — the watchword with which they assassinated, hanged, and made away with Concini; and if I gave them their way they would assassinate, hang, and make away with me in the same manner, although they have nothing to complain of except a tax or two now and then. Idiots! Ignorant of their real enemies, they do not perceive that it is not the Italian who speaks French badly, but those who can say fine things to them in the purest Parisian accent, who are their real foes.

"Yes, yes," Mazarin continued, whilst his wonted smile, full of subtlety, lent a strange expression to his pale lips; "yes, these noises prove to me, indeed, that the destiny of favorites is precarious; but ye shall know I am no ordinary favorite. No! The Earl of Essex, 'tis true, wore a splendid ring, set with diamonds, given him by his royal mistress, whilst I — I have nothing but a simple circlet of gold, with a cipher on it and a date; but that ring has been blessed in the chapel of the Palais Royal, so they will never ruin me, as they long to do, and whilst they shout, 'Down with Mazarin!' I, unknown, and unperceived by them, incite them to cry out, 'Long live the Duke de Beaufort' one day; another, 'Long live the Prince de Conde;' and again, 'Long live the parliament!'" And at this word, the smile on the cardinal's lips assumed an expression of hatred, of which his mild countenance seemed incapable. "The parliament! We shall soon see how to dispose," he continued, "of the parliament! Both Orleans and Montargis are ours. It will be a work of time, but those who have begun by crying out 'Down with Mazarin!' will finish by shouting out, 'Down with all the people I have mentioned, each in his turn.

"Richelieu, whom they hated during his lifetime and whom they now praise after his death, was even less popular than I am. Often he was driven away, oftener still had he a dread of being sent away. The queen will never banish me, and even were I obliged to yield to the populace she would yield with me; if I fly, she will fly; and then we shall see how the rebels will get on without either king or queen.

"Oh, were I not a foreigner! Were I but a Frenchman! Were I but of gentle birth!"

The position of the cardinal was indeed critical, and recent events had added to his difficulties. Discontent had long pervaded the lower ranks of society in France. Crushed and impoverished by taxation — imposed by Mazarin, whose avarice impelled him to grind them down to the very dust — the people, as the Advocate-General Talon described it, had nothing left to them except their souls; and as those could not be sold by auction, they began to murmur. Patience had in vain been recommended to them by reports of brilliant victories gained by France; laurels, however, were not meat and drink, and the people had for some time been in a state of discontent.

Had this been all, it might not, perhaps, have greatly signified; for when the lower classes alone complained, the court of France, separated as it was from the poor by the intervening classes of the gentry and the bourgeoisie, seldom listened to their voice; but unluckily, Mazarin had had the imprudence to attack the magistrates and had sold no less than twelve appointments in the Court of Requests, at a high price; and as the officers of that court paid very dearly for their places, and as the addition of twelve new colleagues would necessarily lower the value of each place, the old functionaries formed a union amongst themselves, and, enraged, swore on the Bible not to allow of this addition to their number, but to resist all the persecutions which might ensue; and should any one of them chance to forfeit his post by this resistance, to combine to indemnify him for his loss.

Now the following occurrences had taken place between the two contending parties.

On the seventh of January between seven and eight hundred tradesmen had assembled in Paris to discuss a new tax which was to be levied on house property. They deputed ten of their number to wait upon the Duke of Orleans, who, according to his custom, affected popularity. The duke received them and they informed him that they were resolved not to pay this tax, even if they were obliged to defend themselves against its collectors by force of arms. They were listened to with great politeness by the duke, who held out hopes of easier measures, promised to speak in their behalf to the queen, and dismissed them with the ordinary expression of royalty, "We will see what we can do."

Two days afterward these same magistrates appeared before the cardinal and their spokesman addressed Mazarin with so much fearlessness and determination that the minister was astounded and sent the deputation away with the same answer as it had received from the Duke of Orleans — that he would see what could be done; and in accordance with that intention a council of state was assembled and the superintendent of finance was summoned.

This man, named Emery, was the object of popular detestation, in the first place because he was superintendent of finance, and every superintendent of finance deserved to be hated; in the second place, because he rather deserved the odium which he had incurred.

He was the son of a banker at Lyons named Particelli, who, after becoming a bankrupt, chose to change his name to Emery; and Cardinal Richelieu having discovered in him great financial aptitude, had introduced him with a strong recommendation to Louis XIII under his assumed name, in order that he might be appointed to the post he subsequently held.

"You surprise me!" exclaimed the monarch. "I am rejoiced to hear you speak of Monsieur d'Emery as calculated for a post which requires a man of probity. I was really afraid that you were going to force that villain Particelli upon me."

"Sire," replied Richelieu, "rest assured that Particelli, the man to whom your majesty refers, has been hanged."

"Ah; so much the better!" exclaimed the king. "It is not for nothing that I am styled Louis the Just," and he signed Emery's appointment.

This was the same Emery who became eventually superintendent of finance.

He was sent for by the ministers and he came before them pale and trembling, declaring that his son had very nearly been assassinated the day before, near the palace. The mob had insulted him on account of the ostentatious luxury of his wife, whose house was hung with red velvet edged with gold fringe. This lady was the daughter of Nicholas de Camus, who arrived in Paris with twenty francs in his pocket, became secretary of state, and accumulated wealth enough to divide nine millions of francs among his children and to keep an income of forty thousand for himself.

The fact was that Emery's son had run a great chance of being suffocated, one of the rioters having proposed to squeeze him until he gave up all the gold he had swallowed. Nothing, therefore, was settled that day, as Emery's head was not steady enough for business after such an occurrence.

On the next day Mathieu Mole, the chief president, whose courage at this crisis, says the Cardinal de Retz, was equal to that of the Duc de Beaufort and the Prince de Conde — in other words, of the two men who were considered the bravest in France — had been attacked in his turn. The people threatened to hold him responsible for the evils that hung over them. But the chief president had replied with his habitual coolness, without betraying either disturbance or surprise, that should the agitators refuse obedience to the king's wishes he would have gallows erected in the public squares and proceed at once to hang the most active among them. To which the others had responded that they would be glad to see the gallows erected; they would serve for the hanging of those detestable judges who purchased favor at court at the price of the people's misery.

Nor was this all. On the eleventh, the queen, in going to mass at Notre Dame, as she always did on Saturdays, was followed by more than two hundred women demanding justice. These poor creatures had no bad intentions. They wished only to be allowed to fall on their knees before their sovereign, and that they might move her to compassion; but they were prevented by the royal guard, and the queen proceeded on her way, haughtily disdainful of their entreaties.

At length parliament was convoked; the authority of the king was to be maintained.

One day — it was the morning of the day my story begins — the king, Louis XIV, then ten years of age, went in state, under pretext of returning thanks for his recovery from the small pox, to Notre Dame. He took the opportunity of calling out his guard, the Swiss troops and the musketeers, and he had planted them round the Palais Royal, on the quays, and on the Pont Neuf. After mass the young monarch drove to the Parliament House, where, upon the throne, he hastily confirmed not only such edicts as he had already passed, but issued new ones, each one, according to Cardinal de Retz, more ruinous than the others — a proceeding which drew forth a strong remonstrance from the chief president, Mole — whilst President Blancmesnil and Councillor Broussel raised their voices in indignation against fresh taxes.

The king returned amidst the silence of a vast multitude to the Palais Royal. All minds were uneasy, most were foreboding, many of the people used threatening language.

At first, indeed, they were doubtful whether the king's visit to the parliament had been in order to lighten or increase their burdens; but scarcely was it known that the taxes were to be still further increased, when cries of "Down with Mazarin!" "Long live Broussel!" "Long live Blancmesnil!" resounded through the city. For the people had learned that Broussel and Blancmesnil had made speeches in their behalf, and, although the eloquence of these deputies had been without avail, it had, nonetheless, won for them the people's good-will. All attempts to disperse the groups collected in the streets, or silence their exclamations, were in vain. Orders had just been given to the royal guards and the Swiss guards, not only to stand firm, but to send out patrols to the streets of Saint Denis and Saint Martin, where the people thronged and where they were the most vociferous, when the mayor of Paris was announced at the Palais Royal.

He was shown in directly; he came to say that if these offensive precautions were not discontinued, in two hours Paris would be under arms.

Deliberations were being held when a lieutenant in the guards, named Comminges, made his appearance, with his clothes all torn, his face streaming with blood. The queen on seeing him uttered a cry of surprise and asked him what was going on.

As the mayor had foreseen, the sight of the guards had exasperated the mob. The tocsin was sounded. Comminges had arrested one of the ringleaders and had ordered him to be hanged near the cross of Du Trahoir; but in attempting to execute this command the soldiery were attacked in the market-place with stones and halberds; the delinquent had escaped to the Rue des Lombards and rushed into a house. They broke open the doors and searched the dwelling, but in vain. Comminges, wounded by a stone, which had struck him on the forehead, had left a picket in the street and returned to the Palais Royal, followed by a menacing crowd, to tell his story.

This account confirmed that of the mayor. The authorities were not in a condition to cope with serious revolt. Mazarin endeavored to circulate among the people a report that troops had only been stationed on the quays and on the Pont Neuf, on account of the ceremonial of the day, and that they would soon withdraw. In fact, about four o'clock they were all concentrated about the Palais Royal, the courts and ground floors of which were filled with musketeers and Swiss guards, and there awaited the outcome of all this disturbance.

Such was the state of affairs at the very moment we introduced our readers to the study of Cardinal Mazarin — once that of Cardinal Richelieu. We have seen in what state of mind he listened to the murmurs from below, which even reached him in his seclusion, and to the guns, the firing of which resounded through that room. All at once he raised his head; his brow slightly contracted like that of a man who has formed a resolution; he fixed his eyes upon an enormous clock that was about to strike ten, and taking up a whistle of silver gilt that stood upon the table near him, he shrilled it twice.

A door hidden in the tapestry opened noiselessly and a man in black silently advanced and stood behind the chair on which Mazarin sat.

"Bernouin," said the cardinal, not turning round, for having whistled, he knew that it was his valet-de-chambre who was behind him; "what musketeers are now within the palace?"

"The Black Musketeers, my lord."

"What company?"

"Treville's company."

"Is there any officer belonging to this company in the ante-chamber?"

"Lieutenant d'Artagnan."

"A man on whom we can depend, I hope."

"Yes, my lord."

"Give me a uniform of one of these musketeers and help me to put it on."

The valet went out as silently as he had entered and appeared in a few minutes bringing the dress demanded.

The cardinal, in deep thought and in silence, began to take off the robes of state he had assumed in order to be present at the sitting of parliament, and to attire himself in the military coat, which he wore with a certain degree of easy grace, owing to his former campaigns in Italy. When he was completely dressed he said:

"Send hither Monsieur d'Artagnan."

The valet went out of the room, this time by the centre door, but still as silently as before; one might have fancied him an apparition.

When he was left alone the cardinal looked at himself in the glass with a feeling of self-satisfaction. Still young — for he was scarcely forty-six years of age — he possessed great elegance of form and was above the middle height; his complexion was brilliant and beautiful; his glance full of expression; his nose, though large, was well proportioned; his forehead broad and majestic; his hair, of a chestnut color, was curled slightly; his beard, which was darker than his hair, was turned carefully with a curling iron, a practice that greatly improved it. After a short time the cardinal arranged his shoulder belt, then looked with great complacency at his hands, which were most elegant and of which he took the greatest care; and throwing on one side the large kid gloves tried on at first, as belonging to the uniform, he put on others of silk only. At this instant the door opened.

"Monsieur d'Artagnan," said the valet-de-chambre.


Excerpted from Twenty Years After 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.

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Twenty Years After 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 55 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
My first thought on completing this book was how unfortunate it is that few people seem to know about it. I felt it to be a fantastic follow-up to 'The Three Musketeers' and enjoyed it just as much as I enjoyed the first book. The characters are enjoyable and Dumas' writing style is as fantastic as ever. I'm just sorry more people haven't discovered this excellent book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is an uncorrected scan of an old print edition by Google Books, and is riddled with errors.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In Twenty Years After by Dumas, many similarities can be found connecting it to its prequel, The Three Musketeers. To replace the evil Milady is her son Mordaunt; to replace Richelieu is the penurious Mazarin; to replace Louis XIII is Louis XIV, his son. This novel is still quite swashbuckling, and this is incorporated in the doomed struggle of the four friends for the abandoned Charles I and his family. Divided politically yet united socially, Athos, Porthos, Aramis, and D'artagnan resolve to once again revive their loyalty to each other in the amazing fight they put up for the hands of fate, rather Cromwell and Mordaunt. This book can be very slow in places, but has a good ending and continuing storyline, so I would recommend you read it. If you didn't know, it is part TWO in a FIVE part series. The Three Musketeers, Twenty Years After, Vicomte d'Bragelonne, Louis d'Laviellere, and finaly The Man in the Iron Mask.
soylentgreen23 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I absolutely adored the first 'Three Musketeers' book. It was thrilling, it was fast-paced, it was unpredictable, and the characters were the sort you could fall in love with. 'Twenty Years After' is a decent sequel, looking at the lives of those same musketeers two decades later, and their subsequent adventures. The political intrigue is there, the action is there, the friendship is there, and yet that little bit of magic that was present in the first novel doesn't seem quite the same.
Clarencex on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I loved this book for all the reasons expressed below. One of the great things in the book is that it develops the characters of the four further than in first volume. We see the feet of clay - the avariciousness of D'Artagnan, the arrogance of Porthos, the snobbishness of Athos, the hypocrisy of Aramis, etc. But, rather than lessen the men, these faults seem to make them more human and even more attractive. I haven't had this much fun in years.
twiglet12 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I am on the side of Better than The Three Musketeers because there is more history and more of a story and I like the fact that there are conflicts between the friends. I still love The Three Musketeers just because it has been one of my favourites for such a long time and is still and excellent book and they both still get maximum starage.
Clurb on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The sequel to The Three Musketeers doesn't have quite such an exciting plot and lags a bit in places. But, saying that, there's a prison break, civil war, the execution of a king, explosions, midnight flights, murder, politics, love and humour. No, this isn't as good as The Three Musketeers, but it's still very, very good.
Misfit on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It's been twenty years since the close of The Three Musketeers, and only D'Artagnan remains in service to the French Crown. Richelieu is dead and his protege Mazarin now holds the power behind the throne. Anne of Austria rules as regent for her young son, and civil war threatens France. D'Artagnan is sent to bring the Musketeers out of retirement, but they find themselves at odds between the two sides in the civil unrest. D'Artagnan wants to be promoted to captain and Porthos who wants to be a baron, side with Mazarin, Athos and Aramis with the Fronduers (sp?). However, they soon find that although much has changed, their love and friendship for each other remain intact, particularly when faced with the evil son of Milady, who is bent upon revenge against those who executed his mother. There's way too much plot to even try to explain, leave it to say that there is much adventure and derring do, from the civil war in France to the conflict between Charles I and Oliver Cromwell in England. I especially enjoyed the nail biting, sit on the edge of your seat excitement during the escape from England and Mordaunt, along with the rescue of D'Artagnan, Porthos and Athos from Mazarin (what fun!). Along with the excitement comes the humor of their constant banter and escapades making for a near perfect read. I personally liked the parts in England the best, but I think that's because I have a better understanding of English history than French. Even after researching that period in France and Mazarin online, I still got a bit confused at times, but that is a minor issue in comparison to the rest of the story. Dumas is brilliant (as always) and his dialogue is among the best (as always). An awesome sequel to the Three Musketeers, and I am looking forward to starting the next chapter in this story, The Vicomte De Bragelonne.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Camp is still 2nd res til i find a proper new one. -- iceh --
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Here to drop off my kits
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is really hard too read. Buy the cheapest non-free version. Definitely worth the bit of money.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Do not get this version! It's been abridged! I started reading this version, but couldn't stand it. I then purchased the Oxford version and found that there were chapters missing from Barnes and Noble version. It's disappointing to think that Barnes and Noble has decided to use this version. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book had a very bad scan.
Man_Of_La_Book_Dot_Com More than 1 year ago
Twenty Years After by Alexan­dre Dumas is the sec­ond book in what is now knows as the d’Artagnan Romances (the first being The Three Mus­ke­teers and the third being The Vicomte de Bragelonne). As in the pre­vi­ous book, the novel was seri­al­ized in 1845 before being pub­lished in book format. The novel’s plot is com­pli­cated and would take more than a few lines to sum up. The son of “Milady”, the two-faced Mazarin smug­gle the young king and his mother from Paris which is becom­ing hos­tile to the crown. I found Twenty Years After by Alexan­dre Dumas to be as excit­ing and adven­tur­ous as its pre­de­ces­sor, but with cooler heads pre­vail­ing. Maybe because I’m at the age of d’Artagnan in the story which I thought was a delight­ful coincidence. The novel is well writ­ten, well paced and char­ac­ter dri­ven. Dumas did a great job redefin­ing the rela­tion­ship of the four friends (d’Artagnan, Athos, Porthos and Aramis) as they are older but also con­nected emo­tion­ally, rather than phys­i­cally, to one another. The old friends have grown and changed yet I still felt an emo­tional con­nec­tion to them much like one does with an old high-school friend who is no longer the same per­son you took classes with. Much like The Three Mus­ke­teers, this novel also fol­lows a com­pli­cated plot, where our heroes are try­ing to save the French and the monar­chy from them­selves. Dumas also incor­po­rates many his­tor­i­cal char­ac­ters into his fic­tional story, inter­act­ing skill­fully with char­ac­ters of his imagination. This is a coura­geous book, not because of dar­ing deeds but because in a time like ours where no action hero ever ages, it is refresh­ing to read about foolish-types get­ting older and wiser. Dumas had courage in writ­ing a novel about his pop­u­lar heroes who have aged and the out­come is stim­u­lat­ing and exciting.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book does not work well on my 1st Ed. Nook. Pages either don't turn, or take 20-30 seconds to turn. It frequently freezes up. A good book, a good read, but I'm 90% through it and can't get it to work well enough to finish.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had to buy this book in order to get a copy edited version. This free one was like trying to read some kind of code.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very poor google scan
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well this book was as much fun to read as the first it really had me going throughout the whole book. The characters are more developed and i find that the progress made really added to the reading and interest in these characters. I would really suggest reading this book, especialy if you are planning on reading man in the iron mask. I give this bok a thumbs up really it so mych fun ans has a lot on action in it still alond with adventure.
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