The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas and Will Hobson (translator)
|The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas and Will Hobson (translator)|
|Category: Historical Fiction|
|Reviewer: Robert James|
|Summary: A welcome new translation of a thrilling classic with well-portrayed heroes and villains.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 752||Date: January 2014|
|Publisher: BBC Books|
Leaving his home to try and join the famous musketeers in Paris, young Gascon d'Artagnan encounters troubles on the way but quickly falls in with title characters Athos, Aramis and Porthos. Soon, the quartet are caught up in a diabolical plot of the wicked Cardinal Richelieu and his accomplice Milady de Winter - can they save the Queen's honour?
The Three Musketeers is one of those books which I've been meaning to read for a ridiculously long time - probably ever since I used to rush home from school to watch the wonderful Dogtanian and the Three Muskehounds. With a rather bigger budget TV adaptation just having launched, this new translation by Will Hobson has been released as a tie-in to the series. Thankfully, the twenty-year or so wait to get round to reading it definitely proved worth it!
D'Artagnan is a brilliant hero and it was easy to see why several women found him so attractive; I loved the romance between him and Constance Bonacieux. The friendship he forms with the title characters, which of course is the main thrust of the novel, is superbly portrayed. I especially enjoyed their first meetings and his bravery as he prepared to fight duels against them after accidentally insulting all three. Once these misunderstandings are cleared up, we're thrown headlong into the main plot and Richelieu and Milady are a compelling pair of villains - although one of my few criticisms is that the build-up to the ending sees us depart from the heroic quartet to focus on Milady for rather too long for my tastes. While it's an accomplished section which shows the depths of her wickedness, I was desperate to get back to d'Artagnan and his friends, and it was only in this section that the pace of my reading slowed down slightly, after I'd raced through the first three-quarters or so.
Still, with that minor quibble aside, it's easy to see why this is a book which has captivated so many readers through the past two centuries. Exciting, romantic, and full of historical detail (including 30 pages of fascinating footnotes on the history of the time period) this is highly recommended.
For more classic French historical fiction, I adored The Complete Brigadier Gerard Stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. You should also check out The Black Count: Glory, revolution, betrayal and the real Count of Monte Cristo by Tom Reiss about Dumas's father, who inspired both this novel and The Count of Monte Cristo.
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You can read more book reviews or buy The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas and Will Hobson (translator) at Amazon.com.
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