Cover image for The three musketeers
The three musketeers
Dumas, Alexandre, 1802-1870.
Uniform Title:
Trois mousquetaires. English
Publication Information:
New York : Alfred A. Knopf : Distributed by Random House, 1999.
Physical Description:
712 pages : illustrations ; 21 cm.
General Note:
"A Borzoi book."

"First published 1844 - T.p. verso.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
FICTION Adult Fiction Open Shelf
FICTION Adult Fiction Open Shelf
FICTION Adult Fiction Open Shelf
FICTION Adult Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



Dumas's most popular novel has long been a favorite with children, and its swashbuckling heroes are well known from many a film and TV adaptation. Set in 17th-century France, this tale of the adventures of D'Artagnan and the three musketeers is the finest example of its author's brilliantly inventive storytelling genius.

Author Notes

After an idle youth, Alexandre Dumas went to Paris and spent some years writing. A volume of short stories and some farces were his only productions until 1927, when his play Henri III (1829) became a success and made him famous. It was as a storyteller rather than a playwright, however, that Dumas gained enduring success. Perhaps the most broadly popular of French romantic novelists, Dumas published some 1,200 volumes during his lifetime. These were not all written by him, however, but were the works of a body of collaborators known as "Dumas & Co." Some of his best works were plagiarized. For example, The Three Musketeers (1844) was taken from the Memoirs of Artagnan by an eighteenth-century writer, and The Count of Monte Cristo (1845) from Penchet's A Diamond and a Vengeance. At the end of his life, drained of money and sapped by his work, Dumas left Paris and went to live at his son's villa, where he remained until his death.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 4

Publisher's Weekly Review

The picaresque adventures of the young d'Artagnan, who strives to become a musketeer in service of the king, unfold in a visually vibrant adaptation of Dumas's novel. It's no easy task to condense such a sprawling story into a picture book, and readers may have trouble keeping up with the swerves of the plot. French artist André uses airy, watercolorlike effects to create dramatic visuals suggestive of stills from an animated action film. It's an ambitious retelling, but most readers will probably benefit from outside research or conversations with adults to better understand the context and stakes of the story. Ages 8-11. (Oct.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Booklist Review

Originally published in France, where they take their comics and their Three Musketeers very seriously, this is an extremely dense adaptation of Dumas' classic, presented under the venerable Classics Illustrated imprint. Even those who have read any of the numerous recent graphic-novel adaptations, seen any of the classic cinematic endeavors, or plan to see either of the two movies in production will likely find something unexpected as young D'Artagnan travels from the countryside of Gascony to the big city to turn the three musketeers into four, getting caught up in the much-expanded-upon intrigues of the oversexed Lady de Winter. Though reprinted on smaller pages that crowd the panels and compact the already dense retelling even further, this is somewhat counterbalanced by Ruben's fizzy, animated art, which keeps things light and popping. All this is well and good, of course, but what about the sword fights? They don't come as fast and furious as some will expect, but they are imagined with grace, vigor, and panache.--Karp, Jesse Copyright 2010 Booklist

Library Journal Review

A perennial favorite, this work continues to hold appeal for adventure lovers. Full of intrigue, swordplay, and revenge, it is the story of d'Artagnan, a young nobleman who travels to Paris in hopes of joining the Musketeers, a group of swashbuckling adventurers who serve King Louis XIII. His wit and fighting ability make d'Artagnan a welcome addition to their ranks, and together the four young men work to foil the King's evil rival, Cardinal Richelieu. Despite the period setting and constant violence, the story captures and sustains the listener's interest as the Musketeers vanquish the villains. Michael York reads superbly, his rich baritone voice giving each role convincing clarity. The audio format is particularly suited to the tale. The production quality is excellent. Recommended for general collections.-- Nancy R. Ives, SUNY at Geneseo (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal Review

Gr 2-5-Told in first person from d'Artagnan's point of view, this very complex story is compressed into a typical picture book. If children already know the tale of the Musketeers well, then this edition will be fairly easy to follow and will not disappoint. However, considering that even abridged chapter book adaptations usually exceed 300 pages, this one is quite ambitious. For those unacquainted with the original novel, it will take a knowledgeable adult to help sort out the numerous intricate relationships, characters, and events that are packed in tightly with little contextual explanation to ease the transition from one fantastic feat to the next. For example, American children may be unfamiliar with the historical role of a cardinal and, given the lack of context and details, may question why he is cast as nefarious throughout this version but at the end is hosting an event where Rochefort announces to everyone that d'Artagnan is now an official Musketeer. What is not lacking is the characterization of d'Artagnan as an overconfident, rambunctious, I-can-do-anything personality that shines through from the opening page right to the end, when he shouts the well-known "One for all and all for one!" André's illustrations are lush and full page, with an abundance of black and amber tones that convey much of the sinister goings-on, but they are also somewhat romantic in style and punctuated by occasional swaths of color. VERDICT A suitable purchase if one is in need of a brief, fully illustrated run-through of the major events of this classic.-Maggie Chase, Boise State University, ID © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



From Alexandre Dumas, a precise and candid description of his particular view of history: I start by devising a story. I try to make it romantic, moving, dramatic, and when scope has been found for the emotions and the imagination, I search through the annals of the past to find a frame in which to set it; and it has never happened that history has failed to provide this frame, so exactly adjusted to the subject that it seemed it was not a case of the frame being made for the picture, but that the picture had been made to fit the frame. This is the point of view of the historical novelist, who approaches the past as theater-the unending melodrama of saints and sinners, and who knows that history, eternally surprising, inspiring, disheartening, sometimes described as "one damn thing after another," will never fail him. It is all there. And it is all there to be used. Dumas was in his early forties when he wrote The Three Musketeers, an age when novelists are believed to be entering their best creative years. He is traditionally described as "a man of vast republican sympathies," which, in contemporary terms, made him a believer in democracy, equality, and the rights of man. He had fought in the streets of Paris during the July revolution of 1830; would man the barricades in 1848; would aid Garibaldi, with guns and journalism, in the struggle for Italian independence in 1860. Such politics came to him by inclination, and by birth. His father, Thomas-Alexandre Davy de La Pailleterie, had taken the name of his African slave mother, Marie Dumas, and spent the early years of his life on the island of Santo Domingo. When the French Revolution made it possible for men without wealth or social connections to rise to power, the soldier Alexandre Dumas became General Alexandre Dumas, commanding the Army of the Alps in 1794, serving under Napoleon Bonaparte in Italy, and later in Egypt. But his relationship with Bonaparte deteriorated; his health was destroyed by two years in an Italian prison; and he died, a broken man, in 1806. His son, in time the novelist Dumas, was then four years old, but he would be told of his father's life, and he knew what it meant. By 1844, France was ruled by Louis-Philippe, duc d'Orleans, a constitutional monarch known as "the bourgeois king," who presided over the golden age of the French bourgeoisie, a propertied class animated by the slogan "Enrichissez-vous!" (Enrich yourselves!) This was a period of transition, when corrupt capitalism was opposed by passionate idealism-the age of monarchy was dying, the age of democracy was just being born. The best insight into the period is to be found in the novels of Honoré de Balzac-Dumas's fierce literary rival. Balzac was virtually the same age as Dumas, and, like Dumas, rose from social obscurity and penury by producing a huge volume of work at an extraordinary pace. But Balzac wrote about contemporary life-the vanity, corruption and sexual politics of Paris in the 1840s-and was, throughout his fiction, essentially a novelist of vice. Dumas, on the other hand, was a novelist of virtue, though he had to go back two hundred years to find it. Setting The Three Musketeers in the year 1625-at that distance, a contemporary American novelist might use the revolution of 1776-Dumas was summoning up a remote and heroic era. Yes, it was all different back then. Better. Still, it may be worth remembering that Dumas's musketeers are proud, courageous men, men without inherited money or the support of prominent family, who must fight their way through a world of political intrigue dominated by predatory, immoral people who scheme and connive, who will do virtually anything, to keep their wealth and position. So, if it is about anything, The Three Musketeers is about betrayal, fidelity, and, like almost all genre fiction, it is about honor. Honor lost, honor gained, honor maintained at the cost of life itself. By 1894, the sale of Dumas's works totaled three million books and eight million serials. The Three Musketeers, the first book of the d'Artagnan trilogy, with Twenty Years After and The Vicomte de Bragelonne to follow, appeared in installments in the journal Le Siècle from March to July in 1844. It was written with help of a collaborator, Auguste Maquet, who also participated in the writing of The Count of Monte Cristo. Maquet would later claim significant authorship, and haul Dumas into court. Dumas was accused, as well, of plagiarism, having used The Memoirs of Monsieur d'Artagnan, by one Courtilz de Sandras, published in Cologne in 1701, as source material. There he found not only d'Artagnan but Athos, Porthos, and Aramis; Tréville and his musketeers; Milady and her maid; and the Cardinalist Guards. From the annals of French history, he took the machinations, real or reputed, involving Louis XIII, Anne of Austria, Cardinal Richelieu, and the duke of Buckingham. Then he threw out whatever reality he found inconvenient and wrote what he liked. In the real world of Europe in 1625, the continent was being torn apart by the Thirty Years War-a rather pallid name that obscures the cruel and brutal nature of its reality. Fighting on behalf of royal houses in conflict over religious issues and rights of succession, mercenary armies were paid by the right of pillage and ravaged the countryside, a strategy described as "war supports the war." In France, French Catholics suppressed a French Protestant minority, the Huguenots, who were supported by English Protestant money and arms. Serving as virtual regent for a weak king Louis XIII, Cardinal Richelieu was perhaps the greatest political figure of his time. Famously eloquent, determined and brilliant, Richelieu was a deeply ambitious man, but a devoted and faithful servant of king and country. A popular novelist, however, must produce an archvillain, and Dumas gave the job to Richelieu. As the servant of Dumas's fictional requirements, Richelieu is merely political on the surface, as he undertakes a series of intrigues in a struggle for power with the king or with his English Protestant enemy, Buckingham. In The Three Musketeers, Richelieu is discovered to have deeper motives, a lust for revenge inspired by a romantic slight-a spurned advance-and, in general, by sexual jealousy. The cardinal, according to Dumas, was in love with the queen, Anne of Austria. The reader of 1844, hurrying off to buy this week's chapter in Le Siècle, likely suspected as much. Serialized fiction read as a novel can, at times, be a slightly bumpy ride. The twists and turns of the story are intended not only to keep the reader reading, but to keep the reader buying. Thus the plot tends toward precipitous dives and breathtaking ascents, as peril and escape follow each other at narrow intervals, characters disappear and are brought back to life, and what seemed like the central crisis of the narrative is suddenly resolved, to be replaced by a second crisis. The perfidious Cardinal Richelieu is a good example of this principle at work. He's a useful éminence grise at the beginning of the novel, as Cardinalist guards fight the king's faithful musketeers. But, when it's time for the story to end, he's too historical a figure to be vanquished with all the force that the conclusion of a romantic adventure demands. Thus the role of villain is shifted to Milady; the story can then take its chilling and violent turn; and justice, when it is at last achieved, can be, to say the least, severe. Since writers of serials wrote for a weekly deadline, there was no such thing as regret or revision, and the reader may see rather more of the novel's scaffolding than the author would like. Dumas, characteristically, solved this problem with talent, and produced the best writing in The Three Musketeers in the latter third of the novel, for example the combination of battle and picnic at the Bastion Saint Gervais, during the attack on the Protestant stronghold at La Rochelle. This is easily one of the most insouciant scenes in all of literature, as the musketeers, intent on winning a tavern bet, occupy the bastion; sip wine; discuss matters of love and strategy; push a wall over on a raiding party; use the dead as mock defenders; and, finally, after four-hundred pages of action and intrigue, actually fire muskets! This is but one pleasure among many. There is, throughout The Three Musketeers, a vast and magnanimous intelligence at work. The critic Jules Michelet described Alexandre Dumas as "an inextinguishable volcano," and "one of the forces of nature." He was certainly that. Born to write, and born to write about mythic times and mythic deeds, Dumas loved his characters and the elaborate story he fashioned for them. This is a telling trait in a novelist, the reader instinctively feels it, so gives himself to the story, lives in the time and place of its setting, and escapes, as surely as d'Artagnan ever escaped, from the drone of daily existence. That's the job of romantic fiction and it's done in The Three Musketeers on virtually every page. "All for one, and one for all!" And all for us. From the Trade Paperback edition. Excerpted from The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

Author's Prefacep. 11
1. The Three Presents of M. D'Artagnan, the Fatherp. 15
2. The Antechamber of M. de Trevillep. 30
3. The Audiencep. 40
4. The Shoulder of Athos, the Belt of Porthos, and the Handkerchief of Aramisp. 52
5. The King's Musketeers and the Cardinal's Guardsp. 60
6. His Majesty King Louis the Thirteenthp. 71
7. The Domestic Manners of the Musketeersp. 92
8. The Court Intriguep. 100
9. D'Artagnan Begins to Show Himselfp. 108
10. A Mousetrap of the Seventeenth Centuryp. 116
11. The Intrigue Becomes Confusedp. 126
12. George Villiers, Duke of Buckinghamp. 145
13. Monsieur Bonancieuxp. 154
14. The Man of Meungp. 163
15. Civilians and Soldiersp. 174
16. In which the Keeper of the Seals, Seguier, looked more than once after the bell, that he might ring it as he had been used to dop. 182
17. The Bonancieux Householdp. 195
18. The Lover and the Husbandp. 209
19. The Plan of Campaignp. 217
20. The Journeyp. 226
21. The Countess de Winterp. 239
22. The Ballet of 'The Merlaison'p. 249
23. The Appointmentp. 256
24. The Pavilionp. 267
25. Porthosp. 278
26. The Thesis of Aramisp. 298
27. The Wife of Athosp. 315
28. The Returnp. 336
29. The Hunt after Equipmentsp. 351
30. 'My Lady'p. 360
31. English and Frenchp. 368
32. An Attorney's Dinnerp. 375
33. Maid and Mistressp. 385
34. Concerning the Equipments of Aramis and Porthosp. 394
35. All Cats are alike Gray in the Darkp. 402
36. The Dream of Vengeancep. 410
37. The Lady's Secretp. 418
38. How, without disturbing himself, Athos obtained his Equipmentp. 425
39. A Charming Visionp. 434
40. A Terrible Visionp. 444
41. The Siege of La Rochellep. 452
42. The Wine of Anjoup. 465
43. The Red Dove-Cot Tavernp. 473
44. The Utility of Stove Funnelsp. 481
45. A Conjugal Scenep. 490
46. The Bastion of St. Gervaisp. 496
47. The Council of the Musketeersp. 504
48. A Family Affairp. 522
49. Fatalityp. 537
50. A Chat between a Brother and Sisterp. 546
51. The Officerp. 554
52. The First Day of Imprisonmentp. 566
53. The Second Day of Imprisonmentp. 573
54. The Third Day of Imprisonmentp. 581
55. The Fourth Day of Imprisonmentp. 591
56. The Fifth Day of Imprisonmentp. 600
57. An Event in Classical Tragedyp. 615
58. The Escapep. 622
59. What Happened at Portsmouth, on the Twenty-third of August, 1628p. 631
60. In Francep. 642
61. The Carmelite Convent of Bethunep. 648
62. Two Kinds of Demonsp. 662
63. A Drop of Waterp. 668
64. The Man in the Red Cloakp. 682
65. The Judgmentp. 688
66. The Executionp. 696
67. A Message from the Cardinalp. 701
The Epiloguep. 711