207 of 215 people found the following review helpful
on July 4, 2002
The only reason I picked up the book was because it was one of "those" books in the school library. You wanted to read it for the points, but everybody who picked it up gaze up and put it back down. *I* even tried to read it once and gave up. But I'm always up for a challenge. The next year I checked it out and informed everybody I knew that I was going to be one of the first people in our school to read the book. Then I decided to begin reading.
The first couple pages are basically one long paragraph that doesn't make sense unless you're re-reading it and already know the characters and what's going on. I was tempted to put it down, but I wasn't going to back down. By about page 30, it was easy to read, and I began to get into it.
What I discovered was that this is possibly one of the best pieces of fiction ever written. I couldn't put it down, and spent a whole Saturday reading it. I never expected it to be what it was from what I'd read on the back. But then, the plot is so complex, and there are so many sub-plots that you wonder how anyone can do it justice.
I read once that many people associate the word "classic" with the word "boring". As I've discovered, this is entirely not true. When I thought about it, the reason books become classics aren't because they're old and boring, but because people love them, because they are read by millions. The reason that they lasted for so long is because people kept them alive. I'm sure that in a century from now, only a select few books that we enjoy will still be in print, and those particular books will be the best of our time, just as The Three Musketeers was the best of its time.
I'm sorry if this review didn't suffice, I'm just hoping that maybe somebody will read it and give it a try. So far I haven't talked anyone I know into reading it, but they're not bookworms like me. People are intimidated by its size, but from my experience, the best books are the largest. When an author really has a story to tell, one that you will enjoy, one that has a complex, satisfying plot, then it's going to be long.
Okay, I'm done lecturing anyone who got this far. :)
51 of 51 people found the following review helpful
on April 4, 2011
If one were to search for "The Three Musketeers" in Amazon's Kindle store, you might find several listings, some free, some for $0.99. AVOID THEM! Most are repackaged versions of the same stilted translation by William Barrow which reads like a 2nd year French student's term paper. It captures nearly all of Dumas' words and none of his nuance. Also, be warned that some of these packages are abridged versions and do not advertise themselves as such.
I heartily recommend the Lowell Bair 1984 translation printed by Bantam Books and available for Kindle here: http://www.amazon.com/The-Three-Musketeers-ebook/dp/B000FC29H0/ref=tmm_kin_title_7?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&qid=1301931164&sr=1-1-catcorr. This most excellent translation is fresh, modern and faithful to both the spirit, grace, and the character of Dumas' authorized editions (there were at least three). Bair's translation is both literate and elegant. Unlike the Mobi/Project Gutenberg/Barrow version(s?), it never forces you to rearrange 19th century French grammar and syntax into modern 20th/21st century English. Bair does this for you without distilling out any of the flavor and panache that Dumas (et alia) infused into the original serials.
Similar to Bair's artistry is that of LeClerq (http://www.amazon.com/The-Three-Musketeers-ebook/dp/B000FC1KNY/ref=tmm_kin_title_popover?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&qid=1301931164&sr=1-1-catcorr) and Pevear (http://www.amazon.com/Three-Musketeers-Penguin-Classics-ebook/dp/B000Q9J0QA/ref=tmm_kin_title_8?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&qid=1301931164&sr=1-1-catcorr). Why the Pevear Penguin edition costs three times what Bair's and LeClerq's do is beyond me since I only sampled the Kindle version. However, I have read Bair's in hardcopy and recommend it for your Kindle reading pleasure. If you really are hard pressed for cash, then by all means: go for the free/cheap versions. Just remember, cheap does not bode well for quality.
45 of 48 people found the following review helpful
on January 23, 2005
Long lines wait impatiently outside book shops for the latest issue of the magazine Le Siecle. On the streets and in cafes Parisians talked excitedly about each new installment of the thrilling adventure story, The Three Musketeers. (Like many novels written in the mid-1800s, Dumas' novel was serialized in a magazine before being published as a book.)
The public quickly recognized that a new literary genre had appeared - a fast paced, action story based upon a historical event. Previous historical fiction now seemed slow, wordy, and even archaic.
What is even more surprising is that 150 years later The Three Musketeers remains widely popular, both in print and on screen. Exciting duels, close escapes, political intrigues, and chivalrous romance still capture the imagination of today's readers.
Today's public undoubtedly remembers more about French history - at least history according to Alexandre Dumas - from The Three Musketeers, and its sequels, than from high school and university classes. Athos, Porthos, and Aramis - and their friend D'Artagnan, the irrepressible, courageous, handsome young Gascon who aspires to become a Musketeer himself - are modern icons. Similarly, Dumas' portrayal of King Louis XIII, Queen Anne of Austria, and Cardinal Richelieu are decidedly more interesting than the dry, factual historical characters found in textbooks.
And it impossible to forget the enchanting, notorious, and dangerous Milady de Winter, one of the more dramatic and memorable character created by any author. I am somewhat disappointed that Milady is fictional.
Choices: There are several good translations of Three Musketeers, including paperbacks like the Bantam Classic and Signet Classic editions. The slightly more expensive Oxford World's Classics edition is also quite good, and it offers an extended introduction and other supplementary material. Trident Press offers an attractive, deluxe gift edition profusely illustrated with the original ink drawings by Maurice Leloir. This version is a reprint of an edition first published by Thomas Y. Crowell and Company in Boston in 1879.
Advice: I strongly caution you to avoid the abridged editions. The Three Musketeers is indeed a lengthy novel, but it is one that warrants reading in its entirety, especially if you might someday read one of its sequels, like Twenty Years After or The Man in the Iron Mask.
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on March 16, 2002
1 When I got this book, the name seemed very familiar. `Three Musketeers' was a phrase used by people to describe any trio of friends indulging in some activity or enterprise. Then I came to know about the movie made on the story of this book with the same name.
2 Initially, this book did not interest me at all. What a funny kind of language it has is what I thought. I wondered as to why it is such a famous classic when I am unable to find first few pages so interesting. But when I convinced my mind that this must be the language of times to which the book belongs (1844) and proceeded, It was evident why it is a classic. Masterly woven story line and plot. Thrill of not knowing what to expect next, the intrigue of the French court, helplessness of the Queen and power of the Cardinal all add to the boiling pot of this book's plot. Rise of its commoner hero D' Artagnan through intelligence, luck, hard work and musketeer friends has been convincingly developed. Even after long time from its release in 1844, `Three Musketeers' holds the readers captive till the very last page. A MUST READ.
22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on June 12, 2005
A few months ago I was in the mood to read a good classic, and stumbled across Alexander Dumas' famous narrative The Three Musketeers in a bookstore.
This story has everything you would ever want: romance, camaraderie, heroism, and, above all, adventure.
D'Artagnan is a young boy who dreams of becoming a famous musketeer (the soldiers who protect the king of France in the 17th century). Along the way to achieving this dream, he finds, in Paris, the musketeers disbanded by the evil Cardinal who hopes to undermine the King's reign and rule France on his own. With the help of three famous Musketeers, Athos, Porthos, and Aramis, D'Artagnan fights to protect the King and his throne.
The Three Musketeers is written with such eloquence and style that it is obvious why it has gone down in history as a distinguished novel. The sword fights are described with such magic that you feel you are standing with Athos and Porthos to fight the Cardinal's guards.
As a hopeless romantic, I am always looking for a great romance. So if there is one negative, it would be the love story. I don't want to give away the ending. But as an avid reader of Jane Austen, if the lovers don't end up happy and together, I finish the book feeling unfulfilled. Dumas does, however, compensate with the wonderful relationship of the band of musketeers. Even though in the end they follow their own paths, you know they will always be able to rely on each other.
In all other regards, The Three Musketeers is excellent. It leaves you exhilarated and reminds you that true friends come together in troubled times.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on July 21, 2002
For those trying to read The Musketeers Saga:
In the original French, there are only three (3) books - 1. The Three Musketeers 2. Twenty Years After and 3. Ten Years Later. But when translated, most English editions split the behemoth Ten Years Later into a Trilogy (and some four - which make it all the more confusing!).
The reading list should be 1. The Three Musketeers 2. Twenty Years After and 3a. The Vicomte de Bragelonne 3b. Louise de la Valliere and 3c. The Man in the Iron Mask. Five books - that's the total series!
I highly recommend this series from Oxford University Press containing the complete unabridged and annotated versions of all of these books. The notes are located in the back of each book so as not to slow down the flow of the text. Most of the notes give additional info on historic characters and places. And a few point out that Dumas was a better storyteller than historian, as keeping dates seems to be such a nuisance!
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on July 12, 2011
The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas is a novel set in 17th century France focusing on the young d'Artagnan and his adventures with the musketeers Athos, Porthos and Aramis. The four men have to stop bad people from doing bad things, while saving the integrity of both the Queen and France herself.
This book is actually really funny. Everything is over the top and dramatic. d'Artagnan and the musketeers will rush into any fight, and they all have various love trysts, though none quite so many as d'Artagnan. The main character falls in love with quite a few women and fights with a lot of men. The plot is kind of confusing, and I had trouble seeing the point behind many parts, but the characters are amusing and the action is pretty good. The book is very enjoyable.
My absolute favorite part in this book is when d'Artagnan meets the title characters. He gets on each of their bad sides and ends up dueling all three of them, each fight an hour apart. Eventually, they realize that they actually quite like each other, and they become best friends. What a fantastic way for characters to meet. The men in this book agree to duels a lot, and most of the times it's for no reason at all, and it's pretty entertaining.
Another great part is when d'Artagnan meets Madame Bonacieux and immediately falls in love, and tells her so the same day. At first, I was like dude she's married, but then I realized that literally every person in this book is having an affair, so I suppose that's the norm. But then she's taken prisoner, and d'Artagnan pretty much forgets about her. He starts sleeping with "Milady" and her maid at the same time. He quickly forgets about the maid too, but he wants revenge on Milady for a lot of bad things she did, which he gets in the end.
A lot of things happen in this book. Pretty much every chapter introduces a new plot, and after a while, I forgot things that happened earlier in the book.
This novel is pretty much a coming-of-age story. After a while, d'Artagnan becomes more brave and less reckless, and he gets a promotion, and everyone gets along with the cardinal. The queen's lover dies, which I thought was what they were trying most to avoid, but I guess it didn't matter. Madame Bonacieux died, but d'Artagnon got his revenge for her death. So everything is resolved in the end in a way, and the characters all got their happy endings. I enjoyed the book, and Dumas's writing was pretty easily comprehended.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on November 9, 2007
Alexandre Dumas' The Three Musketeers is a thrilling tale of courage, loyalty and love. Anyone who enjoys a fast-paced, intelligent adventure will be intrigued by this story, centered around a young man from the country, D'Artagnan, on his quest to join the ranks of the king's musketeers and later to win the heart of the woman he loves. The story begins in a small town in France in the 17th century. D'Artagnan leaves his country home with hopes of joining the king's Musketeers in Paris. Here he finds three lifelong friends and companions--Athos, Porthos and Aramis--for which the title of the book was given. Together with D'Artagnan, they help thwart the plans of Cardinal Richelieu, the king's advisor and rival, as he plots against the queen, the king, and the musketeers throughout the book. Undoubtedly, The Three Musketeers comes complete with its heroes, villains, surprises and scandals that will captivate readers throughout the world. Alexandre Dumas uses the theme, characterization, and symbolism to appeal to a broad universal audience.
Alexandre Dumas uses close father-son relationships in The Three Musketeers, between different characters to illustrate the theme of friends are like family. One of the most outstanding father-like roles is played by M. de Treville, the captain of the king's Musketeers. He protects his courageous musketeers by vouching for and advising them. In his own words he teaches D'Artagnan, "A captain is nothing by a father of a family, charged with even a greater responsibility than the father of an ordinary family. Soldiers are big children" (30). M. de Treville cares about his men as if they were his own sons. He maintains a close relationship with them and helps guide them in the way they should go. Readers everywhere can identify with M. Treville's relationship with his men, in that they must look after others as others look after them. "M. de Treville was the father of his soldiers. The lowest of least known of them, as soon as he assumed the uniform of the company, was as sure of his aid and support as if he had been his own brother" (148). The company is described here as being a family, with M. de Treville as the father figure. Not only does he play this role in D'Artagnan's life but also in the lives of the other soldiers he has authority over.
Athos is another of the many father characters in this novel. He is the eldest of his three companions, and rightfully would assume this role. His friends, like children, turn to him for advice. Not only does Athos advise his three companions on the whole, but also individually. This relationship is particularly strong between D'Artagnan and Athos. "D'Artagnan began by making his most splendid toilet, then returned to Athos's, and according to custom, related everything to him. Athos listened to his projects, then shook his head, and recommended prudence to him..." (323). D'Artagnan eventually decides not to follow this advice though he continually asks for Athos' guidance, much as a rebelling child would ask a father for advice and end up shunning it in the end. It is a common part of human existence to rebel against one's parents at some point or another. Although his advice at this point may have been ignored, Athos still had a huge influence in the life of D'Artagnan. Athos' continual wisdom, loyalty and distinguished intellect provide this book with another example of a father figure. Though there are many more links to father-son relationships in this novel, these two are definitely the most prominent. There is an overall theme of friendships bordering on the brink of family in their manner of relationships. This theme provides one of the driving forces for this novel, whether in the beginning between D'Artagnan and his true father, M. de Treville and his Musketeers, Athos and D'Artagnan, the Cardinal and his followers, or several other characters in this novel.
The characterizations in this novel are also strong. Though some can be classified as heroes and others as villains, all have their moments of triumph and blunder. One example of this is the main character, D'Artagnan. Although he is a hero in this novel, he is a deeply complex individual with faults and weaknesses as well as strengths. He offends and challenges his future friends Athos, Porthos, and Aramis directly upon his arrival in Paris because of his headstrong discourtesy. This character trait is shown implicitly through his actions and speech when he comes in contact with others. Another multifaceted character is Athos. He is a melancholy man because of the past he attempts to hide from his companions. By far the most distinguished of all the musketeers, he guides them in wisdom. This characterization is shown directly through the way his companions speak of him. " `My dear Athos,' said Aramis, `you speak like Nestor, who was, as everyone knows, the wisest among the Greeks' " (467). In comparing Athos to Nestor, he is directly assisting in the characterization of Athos.
Finally, the main characters are symbols of courage and loyalty. Through the actions of D'Artagnan, Athos, Porthos, and Aramis, the reader gains a sense of their undying loyalty to the queen, the king, and each other. They show their loyalty to the queen by helping save her reputation. She secretly gives away a few diamond studs to the English Duke of Buckingham (who is in love with her), and the Cardinal finds out. He plots to ruin her by persuading the king to order her to wear them at an upcoming ball. The musketeers find out about this plot and ride quickly to England facing many dangers along the way to retrieve the two diamond studs. Their efforts effectively show their loyalty and courage. Another example of the musketeers being symbols of loyalty occurs on one of their missions; one by one each of the musketeers falls behind, except D'Artagnan. Once the task is completed, he goes back and searches for his companions, not stopping until they are all reunited. In this and other instances, the musketeers are shown as symbols of loyalty and courage.
The Three Musketeers, a brilliant action-filled novel, is an excellent read. The action and suspense provide the driving force of the novel, while the underlying relationships provide multifaceted characters who are easily identify with, as fantastic and extraordinary as their lives may be. As Dumas wove theme, characterization, and symbolism into his thrilling story, it became a treasure to last for generations. Truly this novel is a timeless attestation of the human experience that readers can relate to throughout the world.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on March 5, 2002
Being only an eigth grader and a thirteen year old, you may think I don't have very much experience with books. However, I have read The Three Musketeers, and I can easily say, it is the best book ever written. It is witty with 18th century humor. It has fencing, fighting, romance, betrayl, action, seduction, death, hatred, true love, and so much more. It is filled with creativity, and Alexandre Dumas has a wonderful style of writing that really lets him connect to the reader.
D'Artagan is a young Gason boy who wants to become a Musketeer. It follows him and his adventures with his three friends and fellow musketeers, Athos, Porthos, and Aramis. The journeys that the four of them take together are unforgettable. This book is a must read. It is hard to get into at first, but once you start reading, at least twenty pages, you have to finish.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on January 9, 2007
The Three Musketeers should be recommended just on the ubiquitousness of the story in pop culture. Luckily, the story is good that its worth reading. For those who have only a passing familarity with Dumas and the three musketeers a few notes.
1) The movies I've seen are nothing like the books.
2) Dumas was a french playwright and author, and was paid by installment for novels, which is probably why his novels are so long, but you almost don't notice because there is always stuff happening to move the plot. Also, Dumas based most of his works on history so Cardinal Richelieu, King Louis, Anne of Austria are real people, and some events did occur - but Dumas stretches things to tell good stories. Its basically historical fiction.
3) There are 5 books about the musketeers - I think it was originally a trilogy but the last book was so long it was broken into 3 parts. You can read only the first, or the first two and stop without cliff hangers, but the last three should be read together. The chronological order is The Three Musketeers, Twenty Years After, then Vicomte de Bragelonne, Louise de la Valliere, and the Man in the Iron Mask. Don't read the Man in the Iron Mask without reading the prior books - its so much better with the whole story.
Now, as for the story itself. Dumas is good at making characters and moving the action of the story. His characters don't develop in the traditional sense, and I think in the later books some of the musketeers are very two dimensional. Three Muskeeters is short, full of adventure, and D'Artagnan learns and grows throughout the book. There is some sex, and morality flaws in the book, but nonetheless I recommend it for young readers as well, preteens should be able to handle the content of this book. I think this book is great especially for young boys/teens who don't enjoy reading that much because it is so straightforward and full of adventure.