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on October 19, 2005
Dumas' "The Three Musketeers" is one of those books whose title one grows up knowing. In fact, it is difficult to remember a time when one was not familiar with this title! Also familiar from childhood is the slogan "one for all and all for one," although it appears but once in the entire 400+ page novel (the number of pages varying by edition, type size, etc.) In my case, this early familiarity with the title and the popular slogan enabled me to grow up with a thorough misunderstanding of what the book was about. I always assumed it was a series of swashbuckling, derring-do adventures by three gallant rogues bound together by fealty and love of carefree adventure. Finally, I had time to grow up and actually read the book that I felt I already knew and, in so doing, I found most of my assumptions about it to have been rather inaccurate. Ah, how reality intrudes upon safe assumptions formed in ignorance of facts!

The three musketeers, of whom there are really four who are germane to the story, are nominally soldiers of King Louis XIII, and they easily spend as much time fighting other French soldiers who are more loyal to Cardinal Richelieu than to the monarch. Not pitched battles, you understand, but back alley sword fights as chance meetings permit. But such knavery is but a small part of the intrigue, plotting, spying, assassination, and sundry other peccadillos that characterize the royal court. Add to the royal jealousies a measure of personal infatuations, kidnappings and imprisonments, and we find a web which ensnares more than one of our fine musketeers.

The men themselves defy a singular type casting, for they are all of such different personalities and motivations that they have little in common, and, in fact, their friendship, which is better characterized as an alliance at times, does not outlast the novel's epilogue as we see each following a decidedly separate path, one to the church, another to a wealthy marriage, a third to the estate he had formerly left, and only one to the life of a soldier.

Suffice it to say that Dumas' novel is more than I had anticipated, yet also less in some ways. More in that it is not a series of mad adventures but presents a constantly evolving theme of intrigue and mystery; less in that I found my heroic musketeers to be but mortal men, being vanquished by their betters in duels while themselves vanquishing their inferiors, subject to the throes of deception and loss in their love affairs, and driven at times by the simple fact that they find themselves pennyless and in need of food money!

The plot holds the reader's attention, and the unfolding picture of the disparate natures of our musketeers urges the reader onward to the next chapter. The novel does give short shrift to women: the queen is all but powerless, the principal villain is "milady," the keeping of mistresses is a common way of life, and the "sweet young thing" whom we expect to rescued from a loveless marriage by d'Artagnon meets her fate in a scene reminiscent of Shakespeare's Juliet. Perhaps it is useful to remind oneself that this is a novel written in the 1800's and set in the 1600's so that we do not condemn it for its acceptance of actions that appear strangely intolerant in the 21st Century.

Why should "The Three Musketeers" be on anyone's reading list? I offer the two reasons that I felt compelling: first, any book, regardless of how long ago it was written, remains brand new until one has read it, and, second, its title and its strangely engrossing slogan are so well known and so oft repeated that those who use them should know the real story and the real characters that they are invoking! I have said nothing about writing style or pedantry in parts of the text, for my linguistic skills are so limited that I can enjoy the book only in English translation, and I realize that the words I am reading are not those of the author but of a translator. I shall not hold Dumas accountable for the efforts of another, and different translators will undoubtedly render the text somewhat differently. Some will be true to the literal meaning of Dumas' words. Better ones will be true to the spirit and connotation of those words. In any event, the novel deserves the time that the reader will devote to it, for it is too well known in our culture for anyone to remain ignorant of its contents or, as in my own case, to have misconstrued those contents early on. I am pleased that I now stand corrected in terms of Dumas' first great novel.
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on December 6, 2002
THere is a reason that most classics are regarded as classics: they are timeless and very fun to read, often far more interesting fun than you would imagine. THis is a long book, 900 pages in the French version, but I sliced through so fast that I was sorry when it ended.
The plot outline is simple. The four musketeers - for there really are four - want to help the queen in her love for Lord Buckingham of England. All the rest is intrigue and adventure related to that. But the episodes are so funny, the chemistry between the characters so subtle and realistic, that it makes for a truly great read. Indeed, the characters of the musketeers are so well drawn, their inter-relations so complex, that a film or even a miniseries simply cannot do it justice. The glimpses at historical personnages is also fascinating, from Richelieu to Louis XIII. Finally, you get a flavor for the Paris of that epoch, with the rumbling of the religious wars in the background. But this is not a dark book, Like the Reine Margot: it is a great frolic of brotherhood and good guys and bad guys. Taken for what it is, it is one of the greatest.
Highly recommended.
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VINE VOICEon March 14, 2007
I'm a big fan of Dumas and thus far have finished this and 20-years after (and will likely continue the series at some point).

There's not a whole lot I can add here as 186 people have already reviewed this, so I'll keep this brief.

On the edition, I read the Modern Library hardcover edition (I note this in case my review turns up under other editions, as often happens on Amazon) and I liked it. That said, I'm not familiar with any of the other translations so can't really provide a comparative analysis, but suffice it to say I found the modern libary edition very good (high quality materials and the translation was by all means easy to read).

On the story, it is in my opinion one of the most enjoyable I've ever read. It's entertaining, it's full of action, and it's humorous at times. But it's the characters that make it such an enjoyable, memorable read - d'Artagnan in my opinion is one of the most memorable and easiest to relate to protagonists in all fiction (whether we're talking about novels, film, or TV, Dumas' d'Artagnan is one of my favorite fictional characters ever), and his three friends (as well as his enemies) are equally well crafted.

Highly recommended - in fact I'd call it a must read.
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on July 18, 2001
The only impressions I had about the novel were from the parodies that Hollywood had created. No sooner had I read the first chapter than I had fallen in love with not only Dumas's style but with D'Artagnan as well. This tragic yet action filled novel is a page turner. Once you begin reading you can't stop. The honor of the queen is at stake and the only one left to help is the young rapscallion D'Artagnan. In a tale of himself and his three witty friends, Aramis, Athos, and Porthos, they embark on an adventure to return honor to the queen and shame upon the cardinal. Yet to succeed the four friends must avoid the plots and schemes of Rochefort and Milady, the cardinals esteemed colleagues. The end is a tale of love lost, honor gained, and friendships forged. The Three Musketeers is truly a tale that cannot be passed up.
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Set in 17th century France, "The Three Musketeers" is one of the greatest adventure stories ever written and a true classic, enduring in its appeal. The universal themes of loyalty, friendship, and brotherhood are explored throughout this novel of court intrigue, assignations, and more. Alexandre Dumas had indeed created a masterpiece for the ages.

This 1978 Easton Press collector's edition is bound in genuine leather with gilt features on the covers and spine, and contains the complete unabridged text, with illustrations by Edy Legrand. The color of the leather binding is an attractive light gray, and the book also features moire endpapers and a satin ribbon page marker. I've been collecting these books for some time now, and I can say each book is unique and of heirloom quality, and will enhance anyone's collection.
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on November 30, 2015
This is an unmodified copy of the free version of the book (The Three Musketeers) which has the unfortunate characteristic of CAPITALIZING foreign words and titles, rather than putting them in italics which is customary. This is because the source of the text is the free version from Project Gutenberg.

I recommend The Three Musketeers: (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition), which is a fine translation and a much better crafted ebook. At $13, it's not cheap, but you get what you pay for.
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on May 3, 2015
Of course I don't need to get into the details of the story. It's a classic and if you are thinking of buying this book it's likely for the material it's made from and its quality and not because you haven't read it before. I read most all my books on the kindle app in my iPad. However, I think there is something sacred about the classics and something to be said for actual printed books. With that being said, if I'm going to be displaying books on the shelves of my office I want them to look good. They need to look classy and not just like random books thrown into the shelves as the office is one of the first rooms you see when you come into my home. These books are perfect with their leather-bound gold leaf design. Not only does this book look great on my office shelves they are also a wonderful way to get my kids to read the classics. Hand them a paperback book and they lose it and don't bother reading it. Hand them one of these and explain their value, both culturally and monetarily, and they take it a bit more seriously. They tend to take care of them and actually read them and put them back on the office shelf when done. This book was no exception. Both my 13 year old daughter and 15 year old son read it. It's in great condition and, as I said, looks good on the shelf. If you're a book nerd like me, it's a good investment.
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on May 26, 2015
This book is over 150 years old. The diction is old style and the storytelling is something a modern reader my find difficult. But the story is great. Written by A. Dumas who turned out several high adventure books in the 19th century--he was very popular then, and they still are a good read to someone who will spend the time to get acquainted and willing to adapt to the author's diction. As in other books of that genre, the first 40 pages are difficult, but after that, you're glad you stuck with it.
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on February 10, 2013
The Three Musketeers is a tour-de-force in storytelling. A magnificent tale featuring Epic Characters, a Satisfying Plot, wonderful style, romantic and incredible Settings, and most importantly, a Narrator who knows how to tell a great story with high style and good humor. Read it at your own risk, however. Nothing will ever again seem as good as it did before you encountered M. Dumas and his remarkable trio of rogues.
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on February 1, 2016
Absolute favorite version, as far as translation, I've attempted to read other versions while awaiting the book's arrival (so I could finish it) but the word choice left me too spoiled to bear anything other than this masterpiece of literary finery! Le Clercq captures Dumas' intents with such a crisp, pristine conveyance and apprehension; it is an absolute wonder!
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