When the dashing young D'Artagnon arrives in Paris from Gascony, he becomes embroiled in three duels with the Three Musketeers: Athos, Porthos, and Aramis. But when he proves himself by fighting not against, but with, the Three Musketeers, they form a quick and lasting friendship. The daring escapades of the four pit them against a master of intrigue, Cardinal Richelieu, and the quintessential wicked woman, Lady de Winter.
(P)2007 Blackstone Audio Inc.
"His plots are...rich in characters and adventures." (Biographical Dictionary of Literary Influences)
This is one of my all-time favorite classics. Dumas has a real gift for portraying fallible human nature with humor and insight. The narrator does a great job capturing the characters- d'Artangnan's exuberance, Porthos' thick bluster, Athos' nobility.
Dumas, the grandson of French nobility and son of one of Napolean's generals, has captured 17th-Century French sensibilities and the intrigues of court, courting, and swashbucklery.
The narrative is witty and smart. I blame Disney, et al, for the cheapening of this wonderful, classic work of fiction. I've probably read this book five times and listened to it once, and no doubt will again.
Two thumbs up- way up!
It doesn't matter what century he hails from, Dumas writes a cracking good tale. His four musketeers are delightful, funny, and quirky. The plot bowls along and keeps you involved right up to the last minute. I think the thing that surprised me most about this book is the fact that no adaptation of it that I have seen (and I have seen many!) really stayed faithful to the plot all the way to the end. The same is true, of course, for the Count of Monte Cristo, and I am sure it is because in both cases the hero does not end up with the heroine, at least, not the one we are expecting! But Dumas has such cinematic pacing that it hardly matters! We are swept along with the heroes and love every minute. Simon Vance is the king of narrators ~ he's just a master ~ and you will love the whole experience, I promise.
A rip-roaring adventure, filled with intrigue and humor, and read with style by Simon Vance. This is one of my favorite audiobooks.
A wonderful book that combines comedy and adventure to illuminate a slice of 17th century France. The breakfast in the "bastion" scene was pure comic genius. I was literally laughing out loud.
St. Louis, Missouri
Maybe it’s because I’ve seen the 1973 Oliver Reed / Michael York / Frank Findlay / Richard Chamberlain movie repeatedly since high school. Maybe it’s because, unlike The Count of Monte Cristo, this story is set in the more distant past, a past that has been defined and mythologized in the popular imagination (mine included) by this very story. Or maybe it’s just that, for all it has in common with Monte Cristo—opulence, flamboyance, high drama—this is first and foremost an unapologetically adventuresome adventure story. Whatever the reason, I popped in the ear buds, revved up the mower (or stepped on the train home from work, or cleaned the kitchen) and just enjoyed myself. I didn’t expect to be moved mightily and I wasn’t. I didn’t expect to be overawed by a tour-de-force of the writer’s art and I wasn’t. I did expect to be entertained, and I was, handsomely.
This is not to say I didn’t feel a thrill when Athos’ secret was revealed or cringe at the gradual, artful seduction of Lieutenant Felton or feel empathy for d’Artagnan’s grief. If anything, in the original tale the Cardinal and Milady are even more chilling, the father-son relationship between Athos and d’Artagnan even more effecting. But the pity and terror that Aristotle said literature was supposed to produce in us never gets in the way of the plumed, high-booted, hard-charging story. Thank goodness. If anything, the pity and terror the story generates help everything skim along nicely.
As with Sherlock Holmes, it’s hard to say much about a novel that has stood the test of time as well as this one, and which Hollywood never seems to get tired of revisiting (six new versions have appeared since 1973—and at least seventeen before 1973). So I’ll confine myself to this recording, which is excellent. Simon Vance is perfect. For all her beauty, Milady’s voice is always less than beautiful, always tinged with a note of menace and duplicity, even when she’s being nice. The four “inseparables” are pitch-perfect, as is the King, the Cardinal, the Queen, Constance, Kitty. The only disappointment was the executioner of Lille; I don’t know what else Mr. Vance could have done with him, but the deep, rasping note he struck seems a little too stock.
However, that is the only fly—and a miniscule fly—that appears in this ointment. It is boisterous, funny, and every once in a while able to stop you and make you hit the rewind button, as when Planchet, d’Artagnan’s lackey, delivers this bit of encouragement (and my favorite line in the book) to his master:
“Never mistrust the mercy of God.”
If you are a fan of Dumas (I am) this classic novel and the narration of the audiobook will leave nothing to be desired: great characters fully realized, an exciting storyline and a real education on 18th century France.
I was genuinely worried about the ability of a 169 year old novel to hold my attention, but this book is absolutely full of fantastic swashbuckling fun. Simon Vance's performance is captivating. The translation is faithful and really captures the feel of the era. Several others that I reviewed made me feel as if I were reading a Great Illustrated Classic. If you are searching for the print companion to this audio book, look for the Collins Classics version.
Well read, entertaining book, but not as good as I had hoped for. The plot is quite linear and the Three Musketeers are all two-dimensional fops who instantly bow to the newcomer D'Artagnan superior intellect and swordplay. I always thought this story would be about their tutoring him to becoming their equal, Fourth Musketeer, but alas he immediately outshines them in everything! They border on idiots who have been waiting for a teenage leader.
The most interesting and clever character is 'Her Ladyship' whose scheming and political machinations, as a woman, make her especially reviled for the time. This results in her particularly unpleasant downfall. Whenever two men fell out, it inevitably led to them prancing around each other, swords drawn, until one of them manages to flesh-wound the other, then the victor hugs the defeated man and they become best friends. But if a woman crosses you... I'll let you read the book! I should not judge an old story by todays standards.
"Overall very enjoyable"
Very educating, sometimes funny, sometimes sad. Well written characters. Very well performed. If you like historical books you will definitely enjoy.
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