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on 28 June 2008
This is a very good translation of the full story with excellent notes to explain the more obscure references - or the references to the classics if these too are unfamiliar. The book is surprisingly fast and gripping. The characters are fully formed with insight into their motivations and actions revealed at just the right time. A beautifully told story - with many memorable phrases. A must for your bookshelf to read again and again.
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on 3 November 2015
The purchase of this book was an attempt to look back at an experience during World War 2 when we read this book for the first time.
I remembered it as a "gory" book when compared to The 39 steps which we had at about the same time. The style of writing was rather
heavy for teenagers and I found this still to be the case - now that I am considerably older than a teenager - I am having to read this book carefully over again to fully appreciate it.
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on 26 October 2011
I didn't really know how to rate this novel. I have given it 4 stars because I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. One of those books where I wish I could take more than an hour for lunch, skip work and continue sitting in a cafe and reading it, but also it was a bit sissy-ish (if I may be so bold) compared to Dumas other swashbuckling novels. This is not to say that an author is not 'allowed' to stray out of his more recognizable style but I found at times the way the characters were described so blatantly like the reader was expected to be a complete nincompoop was slightly irritating. Other than that, I quite enjoyed that the novel was based on a flower. To create something big out of something small, I love that notion.
I say read it! If you're a Dumas fan, even so!
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VINE VOICEon 8 October 2009
There are many parallels between this tale of wrongful imprisonment and its better-known predecessor, The Count of Monte Cristo (Penguin Classics). One attraction is its relative brevity, and as a previous reviewer has remarked it fairly bowls the reader along at a furious pace.

Dumas recounts his story against the singular background of "tulipomania", which only serves to add zest to the narrative. It is beautifully translated by Robin Buss, who made an equally good job of the Penguin Classics version of The Count of Monte Cristo. Readers who are familiar with the story from earlier versions should take note that this is the full, unabridged version, complete with its remarkably gory prologue which outlines the unfortunate and violent end of the de Witts.

Highly recommended.

We can only now hope that Robin Buss eventually translates the Dumas 'musketeer' novels...
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on 19 September 2013
This was the first book I ever fell in love with as a young teenager, and the first to keep me awake all night reading it. So it has always had a special place in my heart. Reading it again thirty-five years later, I can see why I loved it so much, as it's got everything a dramatically inclined teenager could possibly want: passion; intrigue, wrongful imprisonment; romantic love; and a wonderfully happy ending. Honour is salvaged, the baddie gets his comeuppance and love conquers all. Oh, and all this with tulips too!

Yes, its old-fashioned way of being written takes some getting used to these days, but hey it's all part of the charm. And Dumas has a definite knack of making you want to read on. A wonderful revisiting of my past, all in all.
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on 16 August 2013
A beautifully written tale, so descriptive it becomes real. This more than makes up for the realization early in the story as to the ending!
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on 9 October 2014
I read this story years ago and wanted to read it again, a true classic
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on 25 May 2009
Another ripping yarn from the pen of Alexander Dumas. The book is set against a real political and economic background of the Netherlands of 1672. This is the height of tulip mania (when tulip bulbs traded hands for hundreds of thousands of pounds in today's money), and also when the lynching of the de witt brothers, Johan (who was prime minister) and Cornelius took place - possibly at the instigation of the Prince of Orange of the Dutch Royal House. These events seem to have nothing to do with the book's hero - Cornelius van Baerle - who is trying to win the prize of 100,000 Guldens to the man who can grown a black tulip. Nonetheless, because of treachery by a rival grower and his connection to the de Witts, Van Baerle is thrown into prison. He falls in love with Rosy the gaoler's daughter (yes, really) who rescues him. He saves his reputation, brings down his rival, wins the prize and the girl and is honoured by the Prince.

The politics and action don't blend as well here as in the musketeer books (partly because Dutch politics are so complex) but this is still a super story with goodies and baddies, a race to win the competition, and evil doers to be exposed. Plus an unlikely romance. A very enjoyable way to pass the time.
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on 17 August 2014
Brilliant!
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on 11 July 2013
Wanted to read it as I last read it 40 years ago. Just a good story, even if a bit far fetch at times, but it kept me interested.
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