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.
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!
This is a long book, but the adventures of the Musketeers was fantastic. Alexander Dumas was a great writer as the books reads like a play. Lots of dialogue and character interaction. The narrator was excellent, more British then French, but he made the characters come alive. It you like Charles Dickens as I do then you will certainly like this book
This was my first venture into Dumas. It was far from my first listening to Simon Vance's narration. I liked the old-fashioned feel of the story, and the narration was good. If I didn't appreciate that it's such a classic work, I might have given it three stars instead of four. To me it had a campy Jules-Verne type feel.
Simon Vance reads this book beautifully, he brings Dumas's work to life in a why that allows the listener to travel back in time. Although my first encounter of this tale, although abrevated was on screen with the likes of Oliver Platt, Kiefer Sutherland, Charlie Sheen, Chris O'donnell and Tim Curry, there is nothing that can compare with the shear volume of story that is contained in this book. The ending was not what I would have asked for but it is as it should be. Dumas is an author who has endured for centuries and is worth reading or in this case listening to. Also I highly recommend Simon Vance as a narrator, he had done a lot of book in a variety of genres.
Faced with mindless duty, when an audio book player slips into a rear pocket and mini buds pop into ears, old is made new again.
The Three Musketeers is a character driven novel loaded with romantic heroes and evil specters. In the context of a more enlightened 21st century, The Three Musketeers is a female bashing and debasing tale of travail; i.e. a male chauvinist delusion. Women are depicted as the cause of war, heart ache, and most maladies of mankind. However, if a listener can put Alexandre Dumas’s misogyny and view of justice aside, this is a fiction writer’s tour de force and a joy to listen to when narrated by a master story-teller.
Brilliant Story - brilliant narrator! One of Audible's masterpieces - highly recommend. Never a dull moment.