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The Man in the Iron Mask (Wordsworth Classics) [Paperback]

Alexandre Dumas
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
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Book Description

1 Oct 2001 Wordsworth Classics

This Wordsworth Edition includes an exclusive Introduction and Notes by Keith Wren, University of Kent at Canterbury

The Man in the Iron Mask is the final episode in the cycle of novels featuring Dumas' celebrated foursome of D'Artagnan, Athos, Porthos and Aramis, who first appeared in The Three Musketeers. Some thirty-five years on, the bonds of comradeship are under strain as they end up on different sides in a power struggle that may undermine the young Louis XIV and change the face of the French monarchy.

In the fast-paced narrative style that was his trademark, Dumas pitches us straight into the action. What is the secret shared by Aramis and Madame de Chevreuse? Why does the Queen Mother fear its revelation? Who is the mysterious prisoner in the Bastille? And what is the nature of the threat he poses?

Dumas, the master storyteller, keeps us reading until the climactic scene in the grotto of Locmaria, a fitting conclusion to the epic saga of the musketeers.

Frequently Bought Together

The Man in the Iron Mask (Wordsworth Classics) + The Three Musketeers (Wordsworth Classics) + The Count of Monte Cristo (Wordsworth Classics)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 656 pages
  • Publisher: Wordsworth Editions Ltd; New Ed edition (1 Oct 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1840224355
  • ISBN-13: 978-1840224351
  • Product Dimensions: 3.5 x 12.2 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 23,626 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Alexandre Dumas (pere) (1802-1870) was the son of a distinguished General in the Republican Army. Interested in writing from an early age, Dumas left for Paris where he found work in the household of the Duc D'Orleans. He soon found success writing historical plays and gained important friendships, money and the Librarianship of the Palais Royale. By 1832 his plays were celebrated throughout France, but he contracted cholera and was sent to Switzerland to convalesce. There he took to writing travel books and eventually turned to fiction, primarily adventure stories and historical novels, for which he has an enduring reputation. Other titles by this remarkable author available in Wordsworth Classics: The Count of Monte Cristo and The Three Musketeers.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
This is the final part of the final instalment of the musketeers trilogy, and this is no doubt where much confusion arises. After the completion of The Three Musketeers in 1844 and Twenty Years After in 1845 Dumas once again returned to the musketeers for one final outing. Published in serial form between 1847 and 1850 The Vicomte De Bragelonne is a massive work. So massive in fact that it is normally not published as one edition (as is the case with the current Oxford edition) the first part of which is, confusingly, normally called The Vicomte De Bragelonne. The second and third parts are given the titles Louise De La Valliere and The Man in the Iron Mask respectively.
It is clear, therefore, that The Man in the Iron Mask should not be read out of sequence as it will make little or no sense. What we get is the culmination to the greatest literary saga of all time. And this is perhaps the reason why this book is so misunderstood. The ending is not sad (except in the sense that it's a little sad when anything ends) although most people will cry. This is an outstanding tale of heroism, of friendship and of honour. It contains some absolutely magical scenes (although to list them would be to give too much away).
As if an exciting story about the musketeers wasn't enough Dumas added a fantastic subplot: the man in the iron mask. However the man in the iron mask is just that, a subplot, a means for Dumas to get his characters where he wants them at the end of the novel. The title is, in this respect, rather misleading (but remember it is only the title given to the third part of a novel). While many are disappointed by the lack of prominence of the man in the iron mask and others dislike the ending the fact is that this is one of the greatest books ever written. It is the story of the destinies of the musketeers and how they meet them, the man in the iron mask is merely a plot device.
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37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
I thought I should give a five star review to redress the current (unfair) one star rating for this book.

As far as I can see, Amazon has published two reviews which criticise the translation of the Penguin edition of The Man in the Iron Mask. However, the book listed on this page is the new Oxford World Classics translation. I know that the previous reviewers' comments are valid (I also have a copy of the Penguin version of The Man in the Iron Mask, and it doesn't read very well) - but they are not applicable to the book you can buy on this page. The Oxford edition available here is an excellent translation, and is highly enjoyable!

As far as reading the book is concerned, I would recommend reading the entire Dumas cycle of five musketeer novels in order (each of the volumes tends to start immediately from the quite abrupt ending of the previous one, so if you start with The Man in the Iron Mask - the last novel in the cycle - you are rather thrown in at the deep end!). Only two of the five books are well known, but the order is:

1) The Three Musketeers
2) Twenty Years After
3) The Vicomte de Bragelonne
4) Louise de la Valliere
5) The Man in the Iron Mask

(Technically, there are really only three books - 3, 4 and 5 above are intended to be a single (massive!) novel, which gives you some idea of how strange the start of this book will be if you haven't read the first two parts of it)
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Forget the movie, read the book!! 13 July 2007
By Misfit TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Oh wow, what a great end to an incredible ride, the story of the Musketeers. I haven't been so engrossed in a series of books since I picked up Diana Gabaldon's Outlander. Athos, Raoul, Porthos, Aramis and of course D'Artagnan are going to be in my thoughts and dreams for some time, I hate to let them go.

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.

One side note, some people are purchasing this as a stand-alone book, which it is not.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brace yourself 21 Nov 2000
By A Customer
It's always sad when you've lived with characters for so long to say goodbye, but Dumas does it in style. The title is misleading, and readers should not expect the entire book to be based on the one sub-plot; this is a book that draws all that has gone before it together, into a melancholy, yet valiant ending.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars A book I've always wanted to read
but it was disappointing. Gave the feel of more than one story cobbled together, latched onto the characters from the Three Musketeers.
Published 1 month ago by jmg
5.0 out of 5 stars Alexander Dumas
Another master piece from Alexander Dumas . Superbly writen and as usual very entertaining. About the betrayal of a king.
Published 1 month ago by Mi
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic read
I have been trying to read a number of classics and was drawn to this one by the front cover design which is very striking
Published 3 months ago by David
2.0 out of 5 stars Very long winded
Very heavy reading, but a good book. it is very long winded, but this is how things were written and spoken when this book was written. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Reg Geary
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic book
Good old fashioned story line that transfered easily to the silver screen, containing a love story and swash buckerling adventure!
Published 4 months ago by KIM F GRAHAM
1.0 out of 5 stars Not what I expected
I suppose my expectations here were based on the film but I was so disappointed. The plot to instal Philippe as the King of France fails miserably almost immediately and he is then... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Lynne Seymour
3.0 out of 5 stars OKAY
Not havoing read any of the Musketeeer books before, I didn't know the characters previously which was a distinct disadvantage. Read more
Published 5 months ago by onprod
5.0 out of 5 stars Great
I am busy and do not see why I also have to write 20 words after giving it 5 stars
Published 6 months ago by John Derek Jones
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic Dumas
Great book. The film is terrible, and the story is also completely different to the film. It is very sad and depressing, cuts really deep.
Published 7 months ago by Jay
4.0 out of 5 stars Not Like the Leo Movie
If you're expecting this book to be like the Leonardo Di Caprio movie, you will be disappointed. That film takes inspiration from a couple of chapters and uses creative licence to... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Mr. J. Emblen
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