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on 12 April 2015
I love all the Musketeer books and this is no exception. If you don't want to hear about politics and Court machinations and the at times very immature and bad behaviour of the spoilt young King Louis XIV, you may not want to read this. However, I love it because my favourite musketeer, Aramis, comes to the fore now as the prime mover and shaker. Athos has become more and more noble and also more loivable too as he now has his adopted son Raoul to care for and educate and there are moving scenes between these two. Athos has long left the musketeers and lives quietly in the country on his estate, most of the time, but of course he gets dragged into adventures by either d'Artagnan or Aramis. Aramis in the later three books has a very ambitious plan to carry out, whilst d'Artagnan seems to spend most of his time trying to find out what Aramis is up to so as to prevent it for fear it might somehow be disadvantageous to the spoilt young King. There are many times when I would think, forget the King, let's go with Aramis!! I like heroes who are adventurous and freethinking and ambitious, rather than "doing their duty as superbly as any man possibly could...."

But the book as with the ones before and after have all kinds of angles and whichever is your favourite of the four, you should hopefully enjoy his part. Just don't expect the swashbuckling of the first book and to a certain extent the second, as the guys are in their fifties now!

As for la Valliere, she's the beloved of Athos's adopted son and she is a nitwit. The King needs a means to take public interest off his passion for his brother's wife, so she suggests to him that he find another woman to moon over publicly. He decides on silly la Valliere who has only recently come to court, and next thing she's besotted of course over his selfish Majesty, and then to make things worse, he actually gets besotted over her.... well, for a while anyway. You may like me groan every time she appears on the pages, and when poor Raoul starts to worry about what's going on, but fortunately there's plenty else happening that's exciting!
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on 18 April 2012
To read the whole 3 musketeers canon, this must be included, as it is volume 4 of the five. It covers the bit just before the Man in the Iron Mask, and reading this certainly makes TMITIM alot more understandable. Reading the whole lot also tells you that none of the films of TTM of TMITIM have done the stories justice.
They are a retelling of the history of the French court over the period from the about midpoint of Louis XIII's reign (TTM) to the early 1660s, when Louis XIV was taking power from Mazarin. The stories are, like all Dumas's histories, heavily romanticised, historical characters being freely - loosely even -intermingled with fictional and semi-fictional (e.g d'Artagnan), and C17 activities being rewritten for C19 sensitivities - King and mistresses never actually seem to bonk, for example, passionate kissing symbolising it all unspoken.
This translation, with copious historical notes, is a good rollicking read, and highly recommended.
7 people found this helpful
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on 21 March 2007
Having read many of Dumas' books, including The 3 Musketeers and Twenty years after I was reall looking forward to the Vicomte de Bragleonne trilogy. Having finished all three books I can only conclude that two out of three aint bad!

The first part, also called the Vicomte de Bragleonne, was very good - didn't add too much to the core Musketeer story, but stuck to the high paced excitement of its predecessors. The third part, The Man in the Iron mask was excellent - a fitting conclusion to the saga.

Unfortunately this part, Louise de Valliere, was in my opinion awful. Most of our regular heroes disappear for most of the book, to be replaced with limp courtiers; there is very little link to the main storyline taken up in The Man in the Iron Mask; and it is far too long and slow. Half way through I was so bored I even considered giving up - almost a first.

My advice would be to give this book a miss - I have friends who went straight from Twenty Years After to The Man in the Iron Mask and didn't even realise they had missed this one out.
4 people found this helpful
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on 11 December 2014
Usually Dumas gets 5 stars - this is better than 3 but not quite4. The end of the musketeers as their characters lead to their respective not quite flowing denouements
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on 19 May 2016
Important to read in sequence after 3 Musketeers and Vicomte de Bragelone.
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on 30 November 2016
very good
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on 16 October 2017
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on 4 April 2013
very easy download and an extremely good read,as a fan of the musketeer genre i thoroughly enjoyed this series thanks
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on 11 July 2013
Again book five out of the six a very good read and really looking forward to the last of the set.
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on 12 March 2018
A clear five stars for this #3.3 in the series, the previous two in the series left me wanting more and finally all those threads came together in this one. Thankfully. Now to complete the set I have begun The man in the Iron Mask.

I began 10 months ago with the Count of Monte Cristo and have read not much else besides Alexandre Dumas since. I was never bored. I expect in my lifetime I will read most if not all of his works.
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