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Ten Years Later Paperback – May 1, 2001
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"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
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I take the title of this review from the book, The Sword of Ridicule, from page 300, the written thoughts of King Louis XIV.
It's often funny, in a put-down kind of way, but really not very entertaining. It is no wonder that this volume never achieved the status of "The Three Musketeers" or "The Count of Monte Cristo." Dumas, it seems, serialized this endless tale, written in the 1840s, primarily to make himself rich. What other purpose could there be?
"Necessity is the mother of invention," is said by Aramis to Fouquet on page 111, when discussing Fouquet's dire financial condition. Is this the creation of the phrase?
It's actually the teen-age female characters who, while totally idiotic, provide intrigue and interest in this story. Even the flamboyant brother of Louis gives little color to the tale. And, only the last 75 pages or so are even remotely interesting.
Chief of the Musketeers Artagnan is barely present in this so-called sequel to the famous "Musketeer" book. Like all sequels of every medium, this one fails spectacularly.
What is humorous is Dumas' sweeping and inaccurate generalizations about women (and men) - ludicrous and highfalutin. But, back in the day, pretension was the by-word, and Dumas captures this unscientific arrogance with a vengeful pen.
Sorry to say, it's barely a 3 but given nonetheless due to the audacious and often well-deserved reputation of Dumas.
All of the Kindle versions of Dumas' work that I have read to date have been scanned well and appear error-free.
So 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 the Oxford University Press': Oxford World's Classics editions - which has the complete unabridged and annotated versions of all of these books...
Book 1: The Three Musketeers
Book 2: Twenty Years After
Book 3a: The Vicomte de Bragelonne
Book 3b: Ten Years Later
Book 3c: Louise de la Vallière
Book 3d: The Man in the Iron Mask
"Ten Years Later" actually refers to the ten years in between "Twenty Years After" and "The Vicomte de Bragelonne", so really, I think the titles of Books 3a and 3b should have been swapped. While the Vicomte still is not consistently a central character throughout this book, he certainly plays a much bigger role here than in the book that was named after him.
D'Artagnan and Athos make a couple brief appearances in this book, but mostly they are absent. Porthos is practically non-existent. Aramis is the key musketeer in this book, and chapters about him appear intermittently. Mostly they are setting the stage for "The Man in the Iron Mask" - which I only know from watching the Leonardo DiCaprio movie years ago. Surprisingly, the movie seems to have sufficiently equipped me to understand Aramis's secrets, and honestly, I think if I did not already know where the Aramis storyline is leading, I would be awfully confused about his doings in this book.
So, if this book isn't really about the musketeers, then what's it all about? Like a Jane Austen novel, this book is mostly about the love interests of "the young people". Our beloved musketeers, along with Anne of Austria, play supporting roles for the next generation - the Vicomte de Bragelonne and King Louis XIV, among others. Relationships are complicated by multiple love triangles, and there's a whole lot of drama going on at the court.
I found this book entertaining enough to keep up with it, but not especially compelling. It was easy to put it down and not pick it up again for days at a time.