The Three Musketeers
By: Alexandre Dumas
This swashbuckling epic chronicles the adventures of d’Artagnan, a brash young man from the countryside who journeys to Paris in 1625 hoping to become a musketeer and guard to King Louis XIII. Before long he finds treachery and court intrigue-and also three boon companions: the daring swordsmen Athos, Porthos, and Aramis. Together they strive heroically to defend the honor of their queen against the powerful Cardinal Richelieu and the seductive spy Milady.
The Three Musketeers is one of those novels that I always knew of (the gist of the plot, the main characters) but never got around to reading. My brother read the book about a year or two ago and kept insisting ever since that I should read it. Well, I finally got around to reading it (yay)!
The Three Musketeers is a fun, adventurous romp across France in the seventeenth century (and a bit of England too) filled with swash-bucking action, sneaking around, plots at every corner and lots of travelling. At the heart of all the action is D’Artagnan and his friends, the three musketeers of the title–Athos, Porthos and Aramis. I personally found these three far more interesting than D’Artagnan because they’re just such distinct personalities and we learn about their respective pasts through D’Artagnan’s eyes. Their scenes together with D’Artagnan are also a lot of fun to read; it’s funny how despite of their experience and their expertise that D’Artagnan comes up on top as the leader or the chief planner amongst the friends.
The plot was fairly even-paced right from the start although I personally found it to be a little slow midway when D’Artagnan struck out on his own on a few missions. Those moments often leave me with anxious and tense because you know he’s going to get into trouble somehow but nonetheless he has some really funny moments too; my favourite scene still has to be when he first encountered the three musketeers.
One thing I will particularly note here is that there is no sweeping character development here; there are revelations along the way but there’s not a lot of in-depth reflecting on character motivations and the like. I thought that Milady’s motivations were sorely unexplained although it’s clear that she is a deadly, a trap waiting to be sprung when in captivity (those chapters were also pretty tense).
Oh, and hands down my favourite quote of the entire novel (it was said towards the end but not really spoilerish):
“Your crimes have wearied men on earth and God in heaven.”
That is one very loaded statement there!
Overall I enjoyed reading The Three Musketeers. I wish I had read it when I was younger, I think I would’ve enjoyed it a whole lot more (what young person isn’t looking for adventure?) but it was a lot of fun nonetheless.