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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best possible end to the greatest literary saga
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...
Published on 13 Jun 2000

versus
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


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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best possible end to the greatest literary saga, 13 Jun 2000
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Beware: Penguin reviews wrongly applied to Oxford book, 25 Jun 2010
By 
M. Short - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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 (Seattle, WA USA) - See all my reviews
(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. You could probably get away with that, but you'll spend so much time looking back at the footnotes trying to figure who is who I doubt you will enjoy the story as much. Also, this version didn't have the list of characters that the VDB and LDLV did. Go for broke and read the whole thing, it's well worth it.
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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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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Man in the Iron Mask, 19 Nov 2009
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I love Dumas but was a little disappointed with this one. It was very slow to get started and the Man in the Iron Mask features only briefly in the story. However, I loved the story of the final days of the Musketeers and this compelled me to read the book to the end. In fact I did not want to put it down once I got into the story. If you have read the musketeers you must read this to find out what happens to them at the end of their lives. It made me cry!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The end of the epic Musketeers series!, 26 Mar 2012
By 
Mr. Steve D. Berridge (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I arrived eagerly anticpating this finale, having read the previous 4 novels in the series during the previous 5 weeks. I enjoyed it but found the finale rather sad and deflating. If you are a fan of "happy endings" from the likes of Harry Potter, or even the majority of the Dickens novels, then I warn you that this all ends rather sadly! Suffice to say that the book is nothing like the films and the only one who really lives happily ever after is King Louis XIV.

That said, a great adventure and like all Dumas novels, hard to put down.

My favourite Dumas novel remains the Counte of Monte Cristo. My favourite of the 5 musketeers novels, twenty years after...
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3.0 out of 5 stars A book I've always wanted to read, 30 May 2014
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This review is from: The Man in the Iron Mask (Kindle Edition)
but it was disappointing. Gave the feel of more than one story cobbled together, latched onto the characters from the Three Musketeers.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Alexander Dumas, 15 May 2014
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This review is from: The Man in the Iron Mask (Kindle Edition)
Another master piece from Alexander Dumas . Superbly writen and as usual very entertaining. About the betrayal of a king.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Classic read, 4 April 2014
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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
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2.0 out of 5 stars Very long winded, 5 Mar 2014
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This review is from: The Man in the Iron Mask (Kindle Edition)
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. I found that you had to read lots of pages before there was any action.
Definitely not a casual read and not for anyone who likes lots of action.
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The Man in the Iron Mask by Alexandre Dumas père
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