I am writing this review only for the Penguin Classic version, as I know that each translation can vary slightly. Overall I found the Penguin version to have a good flow with few, if any, of the jerkiness or awkward phrasing that can often occur with translated novels. I was equally pleased with Penguin's unabridged translation of "The Count of Monte Cristo" as well.
I will say that Dumas's "The Count of Monte Cristo" fits easily into my Top 5 list of all-time favorite books. I held similar expectations for "The Three Musketeers" but was somewhat disappointed.
Perhaps the general premise of "Monte Cristo" appealed to me more, but I found "Musketeers" to be lacking in comparison when it came to overall plot, character development, and character likeability. I was not completely bored with the story since there was enough action and intrigue to keep it moving, but at the same time I found it rather tedious to read.
"Musketeers" is actually the first book in what became a trilogy. The second book in the series is "Twenty Years After." The third book is "The Vicomte de Bragelonne" which is sometimes published as three separate novels: '10 Years Later', 'Louis de la Valliere', and 'The Man in the Iron Mask.'
It's always interesting to read the original of such an extremely well-known story to see what the differences between the actual book and the popular consciousness are....
A few things that surprised me...
"All for one and one for all" - is only said in the book once, and is not made a terribly big deal of!
Our 'heroes' are really not that heroic. They're constantly starting fights over no cause at all, gambling irresponsibly, being generally lying, deceitful and adulterous - and D'Artagnan can't even be bothered to pay his rent to the guy whose wife he's seducing! (All four musketeers are perennially down-and-out, and can't hang on to a gift or cash past the next tavern....) Of course, all of this makes the book *much* funnier and more entertaining than it would be if they were more upright men...
I'm pretty sure that in at least one movie version of the story, it's stated outright that Lady de Winter was branded for the crime of murder. Not so! In the book, (at least from a modern perspective) her initial crimes don't really seem to warrant her husband trying to kill her by hanging her naked from a tree. Sure, she gets really evil *later* - but you have to have some sympathy for her situation! (At least I did!)
It takes a really long time to get into the main part of the story - I got the sense that, since this was published as a serial, Dumas was initially just sending his characters on random exploits, and only once the story had gained some popularity, embarked on the more complex, involved, continuing story, going back and weaving in bits that had been mentioned earlier... I don't know if that's historically accurate, but it's the feeling I got...
Definitely worth reading....
Dumas entertains and improves the standard of writing at the same time.
This was a fun ribald adventure story. We meet DArtagnan, a young Gascony, leaving his home to pursue his future in Paris. DArtagnan befalls a few scrapes, before reaching Paris and once there he has a tumultuous meeting with the Three Musketeers. Despite their rocky beginning they become fast friends; inseparable and willing to do anything for the other. Athos is the serious one, Aramis the religious one, Porthos the buffoon and DArtagnan becomes the brains and the youngest of them. The Musketeers were part of the kings guard their captain being Monsieur de Treville. Dartagnan becomes a guard with another unit, not the Musketeers, because of his youth and inexperience. The Cardinal Richelieu and King Louis XIII are politically aligned, but enemies. The Cardinal has his own guards and one of the most evil Hench-woman/spies in literature, Milady. The friends have many sword fights, lovers, damsels to rescue(Madame Bonacieux) and close scrapes with the bastille. Im so glad I finally read this book. Its really great for young adults, but the book is terrific for anyone. After all a book that has been entertaining readers this long should be enjoyed by everyone.
They call them classics for a reason! If you can get through the somewhat florid prose, there is a really fun story of adventure and loyalty here.
Fun. A lightweight, even in it's time, but fun.
Correction - note by STEVEN Brust, not Stephen.
Excellent edition of _The Three Musketeers_. I read this nonstop and laughed a great deal. Much recommended!