Context: Started this on my way down from Mt. Wilhelm, PNG’s highest peak. Paused at a stream to get my breath back.
This is a rollicking tale of derring-do, as full of stereotypes as you like. The villains are really villains, the cowards are really cowardly and the heroes are really heroic. What it’s not is The Three Musketeers though. It should really be called D’Artagnan becomes the Fourth Musketeer.
There are these three official guys with swords and another one who isn’t official but still has a sword. Then there’s this evil but supposedly holy cardinal and a lady who is most definitely not a lady. D’Artagnan does a few things which impress the officials and earn him a place at the top of this lady’s hit list. But the lady herself is a wanted woman and finds herself in peril of her own life. Will she escape? Will D’Artangnan be her next victim. Da duh daaaaaaaaaaa…
This novel has quite a legacy and that’s why it rated good. If I wasn’t considering its place in history, I’d probably rate it okay mostly because I was put off by some of the melodrama. There’s a particularly pathetic scene in which Lord Buckingham and Anne of Austria pour sickly sweet sentiment over each other. I can do without adultery dressed up as romance.
The book did make me look forward to The Count of Monte Cristo because Dumas can definitely spin a yarn and develop a character. I think he’d do better in a longer book that focusses more on one character a la Cristo. We shall see.
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