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Publisher's Summary

This historical romance, perhaps the greatest cloak-and-sword story ever written, relates the adventures of four fictional swashbuckling heroes who loyally served the French kings Louis XIII and Louis XIV.

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.

Critic Reviews

"His plots are...rich in characters and adventures." (Biographical Dictionary of Literary Influences)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

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More fun than a classic is supposed to be!

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.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

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  • Tadd
  • MADISON, WI, USA
  • 05-13-09

A brilliant read.

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!

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

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  • Sharon
  • Sebring, FL, United States
  • 08-18-07

Adventure

A rip-roaring adventure, filled with intrigue and humor, and read with style by Simon Vance. This is one of my favorite audiobooks.

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

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Everything You'd Expect...Which is A Good Thing

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.”

13 of 15 people found this review helpful

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One of the best books written!

This is a great book and I love listening to it on Audible! I've probably listened to it 10 times over the years!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Three Musketeers + Simon Vance = superb audiobook

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!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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All for One

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.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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An expert reading of an adventure classic

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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Adventures Abound!

What made the experience of listening to The Three Musketeers the most enjoyable?

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!). <br/><br/>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.<br/><br/>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.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Three Musketeers?

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...

Which character – as performed by Simon Vance – was your favorite?

Oh, they were all brilliant, but I think Athos and Cardinal Richelieu were particularly well done.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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a pleasure

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.

8 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • Peter
  • 09-16-09

Goodish book

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.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 04-14-16

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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  • Xin
  • 07-27-16

My favourite audio book to date.

Fricking love Simon Vance as a narrator - such memorable character voices, especially great that they carry over into The Man in the Iron Mask! A romantic story that inspires me to be an officer and a gentleman.