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on 23 December 1999
An unusual book that reflects Dumas's views of both honour and chivalry as well as his interest in esoteric societies. Woven into the adventure romp are countless referernces to the philosophical dilemas that confront man's existence and most of all regarding his relationship with fellow man. It is hard not to identify with the politically incorrect charcters of the four heroes and even the villains lack any real malice.
By far and away the best aspect (for me) is the astoundingly uplifting quality of the narrative. Comparable to three pints of Youngs on an empty stomach after half a chapter you will feel that all is right with the world and after the battle scenes you may feel it necessary to re-enact the sword play with an old golf club.
Far outshines the authors other work and will provide you with many hours priceless entertainment.
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on 2 June 2003
My first introduction to 'the three musketeers' was during my childhood when I used to avidly watch 'dogtanian and the three muskehounds' - you may well laugh, but years later my fond memories of this cartoon impelled me to read the book. Yes the book is much better than any cartoon or film version, but when you read it you realise why. Basically, the characters are initially introduced in a rather sketchy manner - you only 'get to know' the characters as you read through the book. It is therefore understandable that this is difficult to portray in a film - hence reading the book is a must, it is a classic.
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on 3 March 2013
This claims to be the translation by Richard Peavar, published in 2008, but it isn't. This is a translation by Lord Sudley, published in 1952. Check the preview before you buy - this might get fixed, I suppose.
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Apparently, when he was dying, Dumas said of death: "I shall tell her a story, and she will be kind to me." If it is so, then I assume he is lounging on a cloud with an entourage of angels to do his bidding, for Dumas in his lifetime was a consummate storyteller, and his particular brand of epic adventure is loved today by readers across the globe.

Dumas' novels are heavyweights, literally, and readers will have to contend with a lot of pages; these pages are filled with a lot of characters and events that though often convoluted, are always intriguing. In this first instalment, a young d'Artagnan sets out to join King Louis XIII's highly regarded Musketeers, only to find himself sword-to-sword with the eponymous "three": Porthos, Athos and Aramis. Meanwhile, Queen Anne of Austria, is having an affair with the Duke of Buckingham, and the scheming Cardinal Richelieu is determined to expose them... so begins a wild ride of murder, deception and secret assignations against the backdrop of 17th century England and France.

The loyalty of our four "heroes" is well known, and none can hear of the Three Musketeers without remembering "One for all, and all for one." Still, the musketeers are hardly ideal heroes, being essentially lazy, prone to eating and drinking, and doing little else except beating their servants and cavorting with their (various) women. Yet, it is their devotion and friendship that we ultimately remember them for, when it comes to each other, and their King, their honour knows no bounds.

Pitched against them is the formidable Milady de Winter, deceitful and beautiful, a lethal combination for many who cross her path, even before she is given, in the form of a note from her employer, carte blanche to murder. Her imprisonment and seduction of her jailer Felton provide one of the most memorable sections of the novel, and show Dumas at his most daring.

Readers used to contemporary fiction may find Dumas verbose, and slow to start... but give this novel a chance, and you will find yourselves hooked on the plot's machinations, depserate for the safety of our heroes and friends, and rushing onwards to discover their fate.

Note I: The Three Musketeers is part of a trilogy (published in English as a group of 5 novels) although reads perfectly well as a standalone. Those interested in the continuing fortunes of our aging foursome might like to follow them up in Twenty Years After (Wordsworth Classics),The Vicomte de Bragelonne (Oxford World's Classics),Louise de la Vallière (Oxford World's Classics), and finally, The Man in the Iron Mask (Wordsworth Classics).

Note II: Richard Pevear's is widely held to be the most faithful English translation of the text.
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on 29 June 2009
I'd always wanted to read this book, having seen numerous films. However, all of those paled compared to this wonderful historical novel. I'm not one for lengthy descriptions normally, but the narratvie had the perfect mix of description and dialogue. I read it over three weeks, (when I should have been revising for my incredibly important, life changing exams oops) and felt that the chararcters were all well crafted and didn't always seem to fit the allegorical roles, with even the antagonists having their moments and the protagonists having their failings.
Overall, this is truly an epic and I enjoyed the history, and although not always accurate I felt it was still plausible enough to class as historical fiction.
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on 26 August 2016
Lots to enjoy in this classic tale of derring-do in 17th century France as we follow the fortunes of the heroic musketeers as they fight and drink their way through a series of escapades, trying to get one over Cardinal Richelieu and the simply wonderful Milady de Winter. The book does take a while to get going and, at times, is over elaborate which, combined with being a long book, does make it at times hard going. But, there are plenty of moments of great humour and thrilling action and more than enough intrigue and scheming to keep you going. Best of all though, is one of the most wonderful literary characters ever in the aforementioned Milday. She is just sooooo bad, you have to love her!
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on 31 July 2007
What can one say about this book? It has always been a favourite of mine since I first read it at the tender age of 12 some thirty years ago.

The characters have become some of the most famous in fiction (for reasons that will be obvious to anyone who has read this book) and the plot is driven forward with energy, humour and, dare I say, panache.

If you want to devour a good book then sit back, read this and relish the company of M D'Artagnan, Athos, Porthos and Aramis.
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on 22 November 2012
Dumas' classic has much to recommend it; fabulous action scenes, complex plot twists and appealing characters racing about France (and occasionally England) in order to serve the great historical personages that determine their fates and their own sense of duty to them. If Dumas' book has a fault it is that the dramatist in him wins out over the novellist, and the last third of the book, particularly when Milady's influence begins to be truly felt, is often reduced to the episodes of a play rather than the complex internal dialogues and narrative observations of the earlier parts. The characters exist solely in terms of what they do and say, and whilst the ride is exhilarating, the effect is less impressive. But, a classic instruction manual for the young and noble, and makes you want to get out your epeé for the cut and thrust of musketeering.
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on 27 March 2013
With a timeless classic like this, there is no doubt that the storyline will be great, but with it being a foreign classic, translations are always an issue. Sometimes they don't read well, sometimes they stray too far from the point that the author was trying to convey. This Wordsworth edition has it spot on!
A definite must-read!
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THere is a reason that classics are regarded as classics: they are timeless and very fun to read, often more fun than you would imagine. THis is a long book, 900 pages in the French version, but I sliced through so fast that I was sorry when it ended.

The plot outline is simple. The four musketeers - for there really are four - want to help the queen in her love for Lord Buckingham of England. All the rest is intrigue and adventure related to that. But the episodes are so funny, the chemistry between the characters so subtle and realistic, that it makes for a truly great read. Indeed, the characters of the musketeers are so well drawn, their inter-relations so complex, that a film or even a miniseries simply cannot do it justice. The glimpses at historical personnages is also fascinating, from Richelieu to Louis XIII. Finally, you get a flavor for the Paris of that epoch, just after the religious wars.

Highly recommended.
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