Brilliant Story - brilliant narrator! One of Audible's masterpieces - highly recommend. Never a dull moment.
Simon Vance's recording of "The Three Musketeers" is one of the best audiobooks I've experienced. His reading and characterizations brought out nuances I'm sure I would have missed by reading the book myself.
The plot really moves, with just a few slower spots used to flesh out the characters. The tale is chock full of adventure and intrigue. It's quite humorous in the first half but turns dark in the second half, as the story shifts to the vengeful machinations of Milady de Winter, perhaps the most chilling villain I've ever encountered. I was also intrigued by the amoral actions of d'Artagnan and his friends. The musketeers are not always the honorable heroes portrayed in movie adaptations. Dumas pictured a bygone age with different notions of chivalry and heroism than we have today.
As an English history buff, I enjoyed how Dumas turned the real-life fate of the Duke of Buckingham (favorite of Charles I) into a key plot twist in the novel.
Vance's character voices were very good. My favorites were D'artagnan, Porthos and Cardinal Richelieu - who came off quite sympathetically in this narration. I often thought the Musketeers should throw in their lot with him rather than the foppish, foolish King Louis XIII or his scheming queen.
This book has everything. It has action and adventure; it has intrigue; it has politics and religion; it has romance; it has daring deeds and escapes; and it has a band of friends out to fight for their king and there each other, no matter what. It had been over a year since I'd read this book before listening to this version narrated by Vance. I think this book gets too little attention, and many people are only familiar with one of the many film adaptations - which, while Disney's version starring Keifer Sutherland, Oliver Platt, Charlie Sheen, Christ O'Donnel, and Tim Curry (one of the most fantastic casts ever assembled) holds a special place in my heart, no version I have ever seen on screen does justice to this story. There is simply too much content to pack into a feature. (I do, however, think it'd make a great mini-series.) There are so many simultaneous plots to track, and the intrigues develop with manifold layers that it can only come across as Dumas wrote it. In fact, I don't think the siege at La Rochelle, or the secret mission to deliver the message to the Duke of Buckingham were even touched on in any film versions I have seen. With every new adventure, there is a new thread woven into the grander scheme, and every new secret and character is a double edged sword. The depth of the characters is so much greater in this too, you get to see more of their private lives, their troubles and tribulations. Their man-servants actually play a larger role sometimes that I expect (partly due to expectations after the Disney film - which doesn't include them at all!).
It is a fantastic unfolding of adventure after adventure. I think it is better in audio form, as in print it can sometimes become a little dense (partly due to Dumas' narrative style, but sometimes also because of natural lulls between action scenes). After the long and thorough build-up, I had forgotten how suddenly and tragically/violently the climax arose and transitions to a solemn, calm denouement. Such a great adventure/romance/intrigue story though.
Vance was magnificent, lending distinct voices to all manner of characters, male and female, of many classes, and a few different nationalities. I always enjoy his narrations.
Oh, there are so many good ones! I think the sequence introducing D'Artagnon to the Musketeers and their proceeding duels is one of the best. But so many other moments are vivid and memorable, from Milady's escape from her tower prison, the ambush in D'Artagnon's landlord's apartment, the journey to the Duke and back, meeting with the cardinal...
Oh, they were all brilliant, but I think Athos and Cardinal Richelieu were particularly well done.
Light, fast and funny.
Actually, I think I liked the author himself the most. He portrayed human nature succinctly without making the book a lecture in psychology. His depiction of three moderately young soldiers, full of life and themselves, welcoming young d'Artangnan's keener edge and yet great naiivety, was woven with a low-level plot but genuine hijinx that you can easily imagine. No fan fare, typical male bonding, and a laugh a minute.
He has a great French accent and wonderful timing. His portrayal of the characters was well interpreted, I think.
I had the Disney version of the movie in my head from the start and kept waiting for the book's plot to resemble that of the movie. I was disappointed in that regard, and yet relieved to find the book's plot was something that could truly have been a part of history.
I love to walk and run listening to audiobooks
A most excellent book about d’Artagnan’s adventures with Athos, Porthos and Aramis, foiling Cardinal Richlieu’s plan to embarrass the Queen of France and the Duke of Buckingham due to his wounded ego. Milady de Winter is a consummate villainess – she must be a sociopath. I also read a children’s version to the kids to great success (even wrote my own kiddie cliff notes) and we are going to celebrate by eating a period French meal and watch the movie. Fabulous read that I would re-read again and again! I am on to the other d’Artagnan romances now!
An old classic comes to life in a very entertaining way. Dumas is a great story teller, very humorous and beautiful prose. Simon Vance does an excellent job acting the characters. This is a wonderful read. I was sorry to see it end.
I have to say I was a little disappointed by the story. There are some exciting sections, but on the whole I often found my mind wandering while it was playing. It did not say which translation was used. I wonder if that might be a part of the problem.
This would not be high on a list of books I'd recommend, unless you happen to be especially interested in this genre and period. There is an abundance of relatively obscure geographical, historical and cultural details that are not very clearly presented which tended to get in the way of the story.
I really enjoy Simon Vance as a reader, and his readings of Charles Dickens (among other authors) are fantastic. His performance here produces distinctively realized characters, and he is a pleasure to listen to, but the plot just didn't give me enough to really care about all that much.
Swashbuckling, romantic, funny, and the very highest adventure. The mystery of seduction and subterfuge, the gallantry of swordplay, and the thick web of love and politics are brilliantly read and written. I was entranced. I found myself leaving early for gigs so that I could sneak an extra ten minutes listening to this in the car in the parking lot. I loved every second of it.