Cover image for The three musketeers
The three musketeers
Dumas, Alexandre, 1802-1870.
Uniform Title:
Trois mousquetaires. English
Modern Library edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Modern Library, 1999.

Physical Description:
xxi, 598 pages ; 22 cm
Reading Level:
960 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 11.3 42.0 547.

Reading Counts RC High School 8.1 41 Quiz: 11498 Guided reading level: NR.
Subject Term:
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"We read The Three Musketeers to experience a sense of romance and for the sheer excitement of the story," reflected Clifton Fadiman. "In these violent pages all is action, intrigue, suspense, surprise--an almost endless chain of duels, murders, love affairs, unmaskings, ambushes, hairbreadth escapes, wild rides. It is all impossible and it is all magnificent."
nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;First published in 1844, Alexandre Dumas's swashbuckling epic chronicles the adventures of D'Artagnan, a gallant young nobleman who journeys to Paris in 1625 hoping to join the ranks of musketeers guarding Louis XIII. He soon finds himself fighting alongside three
heroic comrades--Athos, Porthos, and Aramis--who seek to uphold the honor of the king by foiling the wicked plots of Cardinal Richelieu and the beautiful spy "Milady."
nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;"Dumas will be read a hundred, nay, three hundred years on," wrote John Galsworthy. "His greatest creation is undoubtedly D'Artagnan, type at once of the fighting adventurer and of the trusty servant, whose wily blade is ever at the back of those whose hearts have neither his magnanimity nor his courage. Few, if any, characters in fiction inspire one with such belief in their
individual existences. . . . To one who made D'Artagnan all shall be forgiven." Clifton Fadiman agreed: "Dumas enjoyed writing his stories. . . . The pleasure he must have felt in
creating D'Artagnan's troubles and triumphs
flashes out of these pages. . . . Dumas rampaged through the history of France, inventing, changing, distorting--doing whatever was needed to produce a tale to hold the reader breathless."

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

Jacques Le Clercq
Introductionp. XV
Author's Preface: Wherein It Is Proved That Despite Their Names Ending in -os and -is, the Heroes of the Story We are About to Relate Have Nothing Mythological About Themp. xix
I The Three Gifts of Monsieur d'Artagnan the Elderp. 3
II The Antechamber of Monsieur de Trevillep. 16
III The Audiencep. 26
IV Of Athos and His Shoulder, of Porthos and His Baldric, and of Aramis and His Handkerchiefp. 36
V His Majesty's Musketeers and the Cardinal's Guardsp. 43
VI His Majesty King Louis XIIIp. 53
VII Home Life of the Musketeersp. 69
VIII Concerning a Court Intriguep. 76
IX D'Artagnan to the Forep. 84
X Concerning a Mousetrap in the Seventeenth Centuryp. 91
XI In Which the Plot Thickensp. 100
XII George Villiers, Duke of Buckinghamp. 115
XIII Of Monsieur Bonacieuxp. 122
XIV The Man of Meungp. 129
XV Men of Law and Men of the Swordp. 138
XVI Wherein Monsieur Pierre Seguier, Chancellor of France and Keeper of the Seals, Looks More Than Once for a Bell to Ring as Lustily as He Was Wont to Do of Yorep. 145
XVII Of Monsieur Bonacieux and His Ladyp. 156
XVIII Lover and Husbandp. 167
XIX Plan of Campaignp. 173
XX The Journeyp. 181
XXI Lady Clarkp. 191
XXII In Which Their Majesties Dance La Merlaison, a Favorite Ballet of the King'sp. 199
XXIII The Rendezvousp. 206
XXIV The Lodgep. 216
XXV Of What Happened to Porthosp. 225
XXVI Of Aramis and His Thesisp. 243
XXVII Of Athos and His Wifep. 259
XXVIII The Returnp. 278
XXIX Of the Hunt for Campaign Outfitsp. 292
XXX Miladyp. 300
XXXI Englishmen and Frenchmenp. 307
XXXII A Dinner at the House of an Attorney-at-Lawp. 313
XXXIII The Soubrette and Her Mistressp. 321
XXXIV Concerning the Respective Outfits of Aramis and Porthosp. 331
XXXV At Night All Cats Are Grayp. 338
XXXVI Dreams of Vengeancep. 345
XXXVII Of Milady's Secretp. 352
XXXVIII How Athos Without Lifting a Finger Procured His Equipment for the Campaignp. 358
XXXIX A Visionp. 366
XL Wherein D'Artagnan Meets His Eminence and Milady Speeds Him Off to Warp. 374
XLI The Siege of La Rochellep. 381
XLII Of Anjou Wine and Its Salubrious Virtuesp. 392
XLIII At the Sign of the Red Dovecotep. 399
XLIV Of the Utility of Stovepipesp. 406
XLV Husband and Wifep. 413
XLVI The Bastion Saint-Gervaisp. 418
XLVII The Council of the Musketeersp. 424
XLVIII A Family Affairp. 440
XLIX Fatalityp. 453
L Of an Intimate Conversation Between Brother and Sisterp. 460
LI Of an Officer Out on a Strollp. 466
LII Captivity: The First Dayp. 475
LIII Captivity: The Second Dayp. 481
LIV Captivity: The Third Dayp. 487
LV Captivity: The Fourth Dayp. 495
LVI Captivity: The Fifth Dayp. 502
LVII How Milady Employed the Technique of Classical Tragedy to Prepare a Modern Onep. 515
LVIII Escapep. 521
LIX Of What Occurred at Portsmouth on August 23, 1628p. 528
LX Of What Was Happening in Francep. 538
LXI Of What Occurred at the Convent of the Carmelite Nuns in Bethunep. 543
LXII Of Two Varieties of Demonsp. 555
LXIII Of Wine and Waterp. 561
LXIV The Man in the Red Cloakp. 573
LXV Day of Judgmentp. 577
LXVI Of How Judgment Was Accomplishedp. 585
LXVII Of the Cardinal, His Agent and a Lieutenant's Commissionp. 589
LXVIII Epiloguep. 597