Alexandre Dumas is not like other highly regarded nineteenth century writers. My understanding is that he did not write in isolation. Or sit in an ivory tower. He was a business man. (A bit of a scoundrel?) He was a collaborator, an industry, much in the way James Patterson is an industry today, pumping out books with the help of co-writers.
What ever Dumas was in life – his books are great fun. (The Count of Monte Cristo is a fave of mine – see here). Dumas’ novels are blockbusters on a scale not seen today – bold, bawdy, rich, intelligent, brash, exciting page turners which have delighted audiences since the day they were published.
If Dumas were alive today I believe he would be in the movie business. And all his films would be in 3D. In fact, he would probably be making steam-punk film versions of nineteenth century classics. So it’s kinda fitting that The Three Musketeers has been given a modern makeover. Dumas would be so proud. (You can buy the book below. The what? B. O. O. K. What, the thing made of paper with words in it? Oh, okay.)
The Three Musketeers by Dumas
A much-loved swashbuckling tale. Cardinal Richileu’s machinations are no match for the Musketeer’s determination to act ‘one for all and all for one’!
The young D’Artagnan travels to Paris determined to join King Louis XIII’s elite guards. Hot-headed and raring to prove himself, D’Artagnan challenges three strangers to a duel. These strangers are none other than the daring band of Musketeers – Porthos, Athos and Aramis. D’Artagnan’s fearless spirit impresses them and the Musketeers take him under their wing.
Soon, the wicked plots of Cardinal Richelieu and Milady de Winter propel the four musketeers to adventures on horseback, across seas and over rooftops to defend the honour of the Queen and protect the life of the King.
This is a rousing tale of thrilling swordplay and royal intrigue, brave friends and the basest treachery.
Young D’Artagnan arrives in Paris to join the King’s elite guards, but almost immediately finds he is duelling with some of the very men he has come to swear allegiance to – Porthos, Athos and Aramis, inseparable friends: the Three Musketeers.
But D’Artagnan’s loyalty to his new allies puts him in the deadly path of Cardinal Richlieu’s machinations, and when the young hero falls in love with the beautiful but inaccessible Constance, he finds himself in a world of murder, conspiracy and lies, with only the Musketeers to depend on.
A stirring tale of friendship and adventure, The Three Musketeers continues to be one of the most influential and popular pieces of French literature.
In this acclaimed new translation, Richard Pevear’s introduction investigates the controversy of Dumas’ literary collaborators, and how important serialisation was to the book’s success. This edition also includes notes on the text.
A year after the publication of “The Three Musketeers“, Alexandre Dumas produced a sequel worthy in every respect of the original. In “Twenty Years After” the much beloved D’Artaganan, Athos, Porthos and Aramis reunite to fight the forces of evil. In the original novel they defeated Milady, a formidable foe; now they need to face her vengeful son Mordaunt, as well as countering the machinations of the sinister Cardinal Mazarin.
Their adventures also take them to England, where Cromwell is about to topple Charles I. Meanwhile, they must overcome the obstacles which the passing of time has placed between them. Rediscovering strength in unity, they fight for Queen and country.
“The Musketeer” novels were a huge success in Dumas’ own lifetime, and have lost none of their original appeal. Translated into many languages and adapted for cinema and television, they have helped to make Dumas arguably the most successful exporter of French culture to the wider world.
One of the most famous and popular writers of the nineteenth century, Alexandre Dumas was born in Villes-Cotterets in 1802. His father, a general in Napoleon’s army, was the illegitimate son of the Marquis de la Pailleterie and an Afro-Caribbean woman, Louise Cossette. After his father’s death in 1806, the family lived in poverty.
Dumas was self-educated, a high-spirited youth, who loved telling stories and having affairs. At the age of twenty he obtained a position with the Duc d’Orleans-later King Louis Philippe-in Paris. He lived much in the style of his heroes, taking part in the Revolution of 1830, he caught a dose of cholera in 1832 and travelled to Italy in order to recuperate. His early successes were a series of historical dramas and were followed by his greatest triumphs, The Three Musketeers (1844),Twenty Years After (1845), The Vicomte de Bragelonne (1848-50) and The Count of Monte Cristo (1845).
Dumas made enormous fortunes from his writing, but throughout his life he always managed to spend more than he earned. In 1858 he travelled to Russia and then to Italy, where he was a fervent supporter of Garibaldi in the struggle for his country’s independence. He remained in Italy for another four years working as a keeper of museums in Florence. On his return to Paris his debts continued to mount, as he spent his money on his friends, mistresses and other interests.
He died of a stroke in Puys, near Dieppe on December 5th, 1870.
About the Contributor
While still in his twenties, John Purcell opened a second-hand bookshop in Mosman, Sydney, in which he sat for ten years reading, ranting and writing. Since then he has written, under a pseudonym, a series of very successful novels, interviewed hundreds of writers about their work, appeared at writers’ festivals, on TV (most bizarrely in comedian Luke McGregor’s documentary Luke Warm Sex) and has been featured in prominent newspapers and magazines. Now, as the Director of Books at booktopia.com.au, Australia’s largest online bookseller, he supports Australian writing in all its forms. He lives in Sydney with his wife, two children, three dogs, five cats, unnumbered gold fish and his overlarge book collection.