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Publisher's Summary

For the first time in English in over a century comes a new translation of the forgotten sequel to Dumas' The Three Musketeers, continuing the dramatic tale of Cardinal Richelieu and his implacable enemies.

In 1844, Alexandre Dumas published The Three Musketeers, a novel so famous and still so popular today that it scarcely needs introduction. Shortly thereafter he wrote a sequel, Twenty Years After, that resumed the adventures of his swashbuckling heroes.

Later, toward the end of his career, Dumas wrote The Red Sphinx, another direct sequel to The Three Musketeers that begins not 20 years later but a mere 20 days afterward. The Red Sphinx picks up right where the The Three Musketeers left off, continuing the stories of Cardinal Richelieu, Queen Anne, and King Louis XIII - and introducing a charming new hero, the Comte de Moret, a real historical figure from the period. A young cavalier newly arrived in Paris, Moret is an illegitimate son of the former king and thus half-brother to King Louis. The French Court seethes with intrigue as king, queen, and cardinal all vie for power, and young Moret soon finds himself up to his handsome neck in conspiracy, danger - and passionate romance.

Dumas wrote 75 chapters of The Red Sphinx for serial publication but never finished it, and so the novel languished for almost a century before its first book publication in France in 1946. While Dumas never completed the book, he had earlier written a separate novella, The Dove, that recounted the final adventures of Moret and Cardinal Richelieu.

Now for the first time, in one cohesive narrative, The Red Sphinx and The Dove make a complete and satisfying story line - a rip-roaring novel of historical adventure, heretofore unknown to English-language listeners, by the great Alexandre Dumas, king of the swashbucklers.

Public Domain (P)2017 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What listeners say about The Red Sphinx

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Rather disappointing; stick with D’Artagnan series

The Red Sphinx is promoted as a “sequel” to The Three Musketeers. Though it might be placed in sequence to it as far as the timing of it, you will not meet any of the delightful four musketeers, nor will you be entertained as you might expect, especially if you read the full D’Artaganan set of books, culminating in The Man with the Iron Mask. We have a lot of Richelieu and Louis XIII and hear a lot about the intrigue in the court. But that’s the problem - we hear a lot: a lot of narrative, some dialog and conversation (way too much), we hear about way too many characters, but there is little action. The opening seems promising, but then the book gets bogged down and it takes a long time to revive interest, which occurs more than half way in, with the military campaign in Italy. Though the translator’s notes try to justify completing the story of the Comte de Moret with the novella The Dove, I found it totally unconvincing. Until that point, the Comte de Moret is a womanizer, being attracted to (and more) every pretty woman he meets. It was not at all convincing that he would become so besotted with Isabelle de Lautrec, be willing to take vows if they do not come together again, etc. Come on, this guy had the hots for every woman he saw. Further, The Dove was a drawn out presentation of an obvious conclusion, given the path that it started (which, as I said, did not seem characteristic of de Moret). The letters sent between the two lovers are repetitive and boring. We get it already. Move on. And that brings me to the narration. I found the narrator too machine-gun sounding in the way he read, and when it got to The Dove, the tone of Isabelle de Lautrec was grating - we know she is desperate, we know she is anxious, but it was just overdone and irritating to listen to.
I loved all the Musketeer books, I loved the Count of Monte Cristo. I will still read (or listen to) other books by Dumas. But this one was a huge disappointment, and I think the publishers and the translator try to make it sound much better than it is. Listening to the translator’s notes at the end, I felt this very much.

15 people found this helpful

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A wonderful story but too many details

A wonderful story but too many detailed and long-winded side stories and recitations of lineage and power trails for me. But if you like details, this is a good book for you.

4 people found this helpful

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Part action, part gossip, part annoying

This book is made up of 2 different Dumas works. The largest part is a combination of swashbuckling, political intrigue and court gossip in the mold of the musketeer series. The musketeers don't appear but Richelieu, Mme de Chevreuse and others do. I enjoyed that, including the many digressions to tell stories about court figures. The unfortunate part is that the work was unfinished so the author stuck onto it a totally different piece by Dumas. That one is an epistolary novel in a very different style, flowery and long-winded. Theoretically the hero of that piece is the one who was fighting and flirting in the main book, but he has become a poetic wimp. John Lee does a good job and mostly pronounces the names and places right, but that makes it more jarring when some are wrong.

3 people found this helpful

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Scott

I enjoyed how the narrator brought the characters to life using different voices. He brought life and depth to the characters that I actually felt as if I were in the story.

3 people found this helpful

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Read Dumas' major works before deciding on this.

This book, chronologically, picks up at the end of “The Three Musketeers” but before the other two books that are considered part of the Musketeer series and none of the Musketeers appear in this book. Instead there is more focus on Cardinal Richelieu, Queen Anne, and Marie de Medici, as well as King Louis XIII. However, it was written later as a serial in a newspaper and when the newspaper ceased publication, Dumas quit writing. Because it was unfinished, it wasn’t published as a book until much later and in an English translation even later. And, the English translation was very stiff and formal and didn’t sell well. This is from a new translation done in 2007 and feels more like a Dumas work. 

The problem is that it is unfinished and ends abruptly in the middle of a scene. Even unfinished it is almost 700 pages, but it certainly would have been better if Dumas had given it some ending at least. 

The translator believes that a reason that Dumas didn’t finish it goes beyond the fact that the paper ceased publication and posits that Dumas realized that a shorter story (“The Dove,” at around 100 pages) provided a suitable ending. I’m not a literary expert, but I just don’t see that. It does explain what happened to a central figure of the book, the Comte de Moret, the illegitimate son of King Henry IV, Louis XIII’s father. 

It’s very typical Dumas with lots of scheming, political intrigue, extraneous detail, and a large number of characters. Cardinal Richelieu comes across in a bit more of a positive light and the Queen and Queen Mother more negative than in the Musketeer series of books. And, even though unfinished, it was still very interesting and fulfilling.  

“The Dove” was so completely different, it almost felt like it couldn’t be from the same author. It occurs four years later and there is little connection, other than the two central characters. But even in that area, it doesn’t come across well. It doesn’t explain the huge change in loyalty for Moret, from fully supporting the king to turning to supporting the King’s younger brother, Gaston, in his rebellion, when Gaston comes across as an idiot and coward in “The Red Sphinx.” 

Having said that, it was written so well and creatively that, even though you could soon guess the ending, it kept your attention riveted to the story and always waiting for what would happen next. It’s form is a series of letters between Moret and Isabelle, carried back and forth by a dove and it is worth reading by itself. 

So, if you really like Dumas, you will probably enjoy “The Red Sphinx” and will enjoy “The Dove.” Certainly read his other books first and then decide. 

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Take a drink review

HOO BOY!

I'm glad I managed to get through this. I loved the Three musketeers but this was just so dry! The performance was amazing and the reader really put effort into the voices. I got a few chuckles out of this story but it was difficult to keep track of all the characters. This is called a sequel to the three musketeers but there was only a minor authors aside that references them but that's about it... Not what I was expecting. after the story there's a translators note that mentions how the story was translated in an even more bland way originally because the author was ahead of his time and they wanted the story to conform to the works of the time. disappointing!

Take a drink everytime Le comte de Moray is mentioned, every time someone says monsignor, and every time you wish you were listening to something else.

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Profile Image for Tim S WILLIAMS
  • Tim S WILLIAMS
  • 12-17-19

Worthy addition to the series!

While not in the same league as "The Three Musketeers" or "The Man In The Iron Mask", "The Red Sphinx/The Dove" are nice additions to the series and a rare joy for all Dumas fans!
The Red Sphinx gives us a closer look at the fascinating character of Cardinal Richelieu, while The Dove works as a series of letters that admirably conclude the story in a different way.
John Lee's narration is good with a wide range of voices and a clear understanding of the text, my only criticism is his tendency to be a little ponderous in his reading, which is fixable by increasing the playback speed!

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Profile Image for mr c a mole
  • mr c a mole
  • 04-09-18

A worthy edition if your a fan of Dumas.

A gripping tale as you'd expect from Dumas and a great insight into Cardinal Richelieu. Do not expect any mention of D'artagnan however as the story does not include the musketeers. a great translation that retains the excitement as originally written.

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Kindle Customer
  • 02-20-18

Very poor pronunciation of French names

Proper nouns frequently mispronounced or at least pronounced with a 'French' and not French accent. Couldn't listen beyond chapter 5. Ok for Pink Panther or Dogtagnan, not for Dumas even in English