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The Club Dumas Paperback – May 1, 2006

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Editorial Reviews Review

Fallen angels, satanic manuals, and a passion for the works of Raphael Sabatini and Alexandre Dumas among others--this is the stuff of Spanish author Arturo Pérez-Reverte's engrossing novel The Club Dumas. Set in a world of antiquarian booksellers where dealers would gladly betray their own mothers to get their hands on a rare volume, The Club Dumas is a thinking person's thriller: in addition to a riveting plot, the book is full of intriguing details that range from the working habits of Alexandre Dumas to how one might go about forging a 17th-century text. Woven through these meditations is enough murder, sex, and the occult to keep both the hero, Lucas Corso, and the reader hopping.

As in his previous novel, The Flanders Panel, set in the world of art restoration, Mr. Pérez-Reverte has written a literary thriller to tease both the intellect and adrenaline gland. Lucas Corso makes a complex, ultimately sympathetic hero, and there's plenty to delight in the intricate twists and turns the story takes before the mystery of The Club Dumas is finally solved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

The hero of Spanish author Perez-Reverte's freewheeling, ambitious literary mystery is Lucas Corso, an itinerant rare-book hunter who'd gladly sell his grandmother for a first edition. When a wealthy cookbook publisher and bibliophile is found hanged in his study, leaving behind an original handwritten chapter from Alexandre Dumas's The Three Musketeers, antiquarian book dealer Flavio LaPorte asks his friend Corso to authenticate the manuscript. What begins as a straightforward assignment soon complicates into a bewildering tangle of literary gamesmanship as the book detective finds himself swept into a real-life adventure-serial and crime novel rolled into one. As the action shifts from Madrid to Portugal to Paris, the intrepid, bad-tempered, gin-swilling Corso encounters a host of intriguing characters, including devil worshippers, obsessed book collectors and a hypnotically appealing femme fatale. Suspense-filled and ingenious, Perez-Reverte's latest (after The Flanders Panel) is also something of a primer on the rare-book business and a witty meditation on the relationship between book lovers and the texts they adore. Rights: Howard Morhaim.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books (May 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 015603283X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0156032834
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.9 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (396 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #103,969 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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165 of 170 people found the following review helpful By Natalia ( on July 7, 1999
Format: Paperback
"The Club Dumas" kept me at home, curled up in bed the whole weekend despite a long-awaited Saturday rave. It was THAT good.
The plot is enough to keep you on edge until the last line. It starts of with an investigation on the suicide of a well-known bookseller, who had left a manuscript of "The Anjou Wine", a chapter of Alexander Dumas' "The Three Musketeers". Lucas Corso, the central character of the novel, is a book detective hired to authenticate the manuscript. His investigation leads him to a vortex of mysterious events, and he becomes involved in puzzling murder scenes and even demonology. To add to his stange experiences are the people he meets, who bear a puzzling resemblance to characters in the Dumas masterpiece.
This book was so interesting. It had twists and surprises that didn't use tired formulas of old mystery novels. I must add, though, that this book may not be enjoyed by everyone. If you're looking for an easy, fast read, well, you might have to think twice before reading this. There are various allusions to classic literature (particularly 19th century French literature), medieval history, religion and demonology. A reader not versed in Dumas' works may get confused. (And I haven't even mentioned all the Latin phrases yet). I DO recommend this book, however, to all bibliophiles, fans of classic literature and murder mystery genres. All the little literary tidbits, particularly on Alexander Dumas, will be mind candy, indeed. The author, Perez-Reverte, was compared by some critics to Umberto Eco in this novel. I have to disagree a bit, though...
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35 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Lev Raphael on August 9, 2000
Format: Paperback
Lucas Corso is an unusual kind of private detective. He's "a mercenary of the book world," hunting down rare books for wealthy collectors. If that includes arranging for a theft and having confederates disguise the book's provenance, so be it. Corso knows all the angles.
In The Club Dumas, however, his latest case unexpectedly takes detours into violence and satanism. Corso has twin tasks: verifying the authenticity of a manuscript chapter of Dumas's The Three Musketeers and discovering whether a medieval volume, The Nine Doors, is a forgery. This book supposedly holds the secret of calling up Satan, and copies were burned during the Inquisition.
As he plumbs the murky depths of The Nine Doors and delves into the world of Alexander Dumas, Corso's case grows more and more phantasmagorical. He's stalked, beaten, becomes an accessory to murder, falls in love with a mysterious young woman who may be a devil, and becomes convinced someone has enmeshed him in a bizarre re- enactment of The Three Musketeers.
Critics have compared the author to Umberto Eco, but The Club Dumas lacks the heavy hand of the literary critic. It's a fast-paced, joyously complex and inventive book, imbued with a passion for literature. Prepare to be amused and amazed by this funny, bizarre set of puzzles within puzzles. And if you're a book lover, or have a special fondness for The Three Musketeers, this novel is an unforgettable feast.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 29, 2002
Format: Paperback
In The Club Dumas, Reverte takes the idea of the novel-within-a-novel to an entirely new, compelling level. The levels of references within the novel are rich, nearly impenetrable, from the more obvious connection to Dumas's Three Musketeers to the fact that the central female character is named Irene Adler, who was "the woman" in Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes story, "A Scandal in Bohemia." The Club Dumas is a mystery about books, and Corso is a book detective. The reader must act as a detective as well, sorting through the woodcuts, the diagrams, and the references in order to follow Corso's journey.
Reverte is successful in that he creates an experience for the reader that mirrors Corso's own experiences; whether that experience is enjoyable for the reader remains to be seen. "Books play that kind of trick," Reverte writes, and the tricks within this book can actually reach the point of tiresome at times. Nevertheless, this remains one of the most fascinating books I have ever read. The narrative style is compelling and rich, even if it takes a bit of time to be fully digested.
The Club Dumas is a testament to bibliography and the treatment of books as physical objects as well as intellectual entities. The books within the novel interact with each other as they interact with the characters and with the reader. There are many ways to read this novel, but if nothing else, Reverte's novel is a love story to the book. It is difficult, if not impossible, to read it without feeling Corso's, or Reverte's, emotional connections to text.
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40 of 45 people found the following review helpful By J.A. VINE VOICE on January 31, 2007
Format: Paperback
While many of the literary references were over my head, it was amazingly easy to follow the paper trail (pun intended). We have two trails: a document that appears to be part of The Three Musketeers, and a `demon book', "The Book of the Nine Doors of the Kingdom of Shadows". The two don't seem to have much in common, but as Corso (a "book detective") continues his investigation of both the document and the book, disturbing similarities begin to appear.

What should be a simple case of authentication becomes a race against time, and a desperate attempt to stay alive. A girl with dubious intentions and origins joins Corso after many chance meetings, and her presence thickens the stew. Who is she? What is she? Why does she care about Corso?

The questions pile up, and answers aren't in abundance. Friends seem, at times, to be enemies, and enemies seem to be friendly. Corso's actions, as well as others around him, seem to mirror events from The Three Musketeers, and the characters seem to be playing their parts - Milady, Roquefort, and Richelieu. Everything seems tied in together, but how? The Three Musketeers and a "demon book"?

Three copies of the "Book of the Nine Doors of the Kingdom of Shadows" exist, and Corso's charge is to find them all, compare them, and verify their authenticity - though his employer tells him that the copy he gives Corso is most certainly a forgery, although he will not tell Corso how he knows that. The content of the book is fascinating, and Corso's investigation into comparing the texts and the meaning behind everything within opens deadly doors - doors, perhaps, to Hell. Doors that could bring Satan himself into the material world.
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