My main reading goal this summer was to finish The Three Musketeers by Andre Dumas. It has sat on my “to be read” list for years, while I balked at its enormous length. But now I was finally ready to read it, all 600 pages of it. Since it was written in 1844, I was expecting the book to get off to a pretty slow start, and to generally have large passages of description with some swashbuckling action in between. That assumption was wrong. From start to finish, this book was jam packed with swashbuckling action, romance, and political intrigue.
The book follows the adventures of d’Artagnan, a young country boy from Gascony, who sets off to become one of the king’s Musketeers. While on his way he makes plenty of enemies, and befriends the titular Three Musketeers: Athos, Porthos, and Aramis. That is where his real adventure begins, and the fate of France might just hang in the balance.
Although it took me several months to read, I quite enjoyed this book. The pacing was good, and the characters were interesting and likeable. The only character that I was a little disappointed in was Constance. I felt that she had a lot more potential, and was largely ignored during the last third of the book. Luckily, in most adaptations of the novel, she gets a larger role. I loved d’Artagnan and the Musketeers. They were the perfect mix of swashbuckling and ragtag, making them underdogs who were certain to always win in a spectacular fashion.
The best way to describe how the plot of this novel works is to think about it like a TV show. It was originally published as a newspaper serial, which would be printed each week from March through July, so the original format was very similar to a modern television show. This allowed for several plots to carry the reader through the story without too much down time.
I highly recommend this book to everyone. Whether you like action and sword fighting, romance, or classic literature, this book has a lot to offer. It isn’t a difficult read, and like a TV show, can be read in between other books, making it the perfect fit for those just beginning to read literature, as well as the experienced classicist.
After finishing the book, I watched the 2011 movie adaptation, which, while entertaining, was loosely, at best, based on the book. Have you read the book or seen any good adaptations? Are there any books that you want to read, but are daunted by the length? I’ve caught the bug, so I can’t wait to dive into my next long read.