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The Man In The Iron Mask (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition)
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No part of the world has ever seemed to me so charming as these pages, and not even my friends are quite so real, perhaps quite so dear, as D'Artagnan. --Robert Louis Stevenson
The name Alexandre Dumas is more than French --- it is universal. --Victor Hugo
The name Alexandre Dumas is more than French --- it is universal. --Victor Hugo --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
Text: English (translation)
Original Language: French --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
If you are expecting the story as told by Hollywood, forget it. While I haven't seen the latest version with Leonardo DiCaprio (forgive me if I spell it wrong), I looked at the reader reviews and was quite surprised at how different the book is from Hollywood's version. I also recall a movie done in the late 70's/80's that is nothing like the book as well. I would pick it apart point by point, but that would include spoilers. The Man in the Iron Mask is actually the last third of a huge novel by Dumas originally titled The Vicomte de Bragelonne. Because of the size of the book, English publishers have divided into three books, The Vicomte de Bragelonne, Louise de la Valliere, and The Man in the Iron Mask.
Suffice it to say that TMITIM is the final chapter of our heroic Musketeers, as well as Raoul, the son of Athos. While we all know the story of Louis XIV's twin and the plot to substitute him, that is a minor part of the whole story, as the action then becomes centered on the aftermath of that plot and Louis' revenge. It has been a grand, glorious ride reading this series, The Three Musketeers, Twenty Years After, The Vicomte de Bragelonne, Louise de la Valliere and The Man In the Iron Mask. And do have your box of tissue handy for the last 20-30 pages. You'll need it. Five stars.
If one reads enough of Alexandre Dumas a certain style emerges. It is enjoyable and dynamic. Mr. Dumas describes many characters as seemingly bigger than life. Porthos is perhaps the perfect example. There are many superlatives in the narration. Like many other authors, Mr. Dumas refers to many other artists and historical events. I enjoy studying these references and learn a lot this way.
I am not sure who my favorite classical French Author is. I love Victor Hugo, Jules Verne and Emile Zola, perhaps leaning to Mr. Hugo. However, Alexandre Dumas has really grown in my estimation and I highly recommend his work.
1. Read all five books in order. The Man in the Iron Mask is probably enjoyable on its own but reading the four books that proceed it help place the story in its proper context. Think of the Man in the Iron Mask as the dessert in a five course meal. Dessert is great but the four proceeding course are also enjoyable. Getting to the end of the book was especially enjoyable knowing that I was finishing a 3,500 page experience.
2. Read the Oxford University editions. There are wonderful end notes that help the reader keep track of the characters and events. When you read 3,500 pages you need that type of assistance to keep things straight. The Introductions are also very well written and help the reader get back into focus before beginning the next chapter.
3. If you really like any one book in particular, go to the internet and purchase a well illustrated used hardback edition for your collection. I purchased a used Three Musketeers with illustrations by Maurice Leloir. The three hundred plus illustrations make that edition especially enjoyable.
Along with Sir Walter Scott, Alexandre Dumas created the genre of the historical adventure novel. I have been reading these types of novels my entire life. Beyond a doubt, Alexandre Dumas is the master virtuoso of this genre.
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