The Three Musketeers

by Alexandre Dumas

Other authorsMarcel Girard (Introduction)
Hardcover, 1941




J M Dent & Co (1941)


In seventeenth-century France, young D'Artagnan initially quarrels with, then befriends, three musketeers and joins them in trying to outwit the enemies of the king and queen.

User reviews

LibraryThing member slickdpdx
Athos: Well, D'Artagnan, if he doesn't come, it will be because of some delay. He may have tumbled off his horse or fallen on some slippery deck or ridden so fast against the wind that he is ill with a fever. Let us allow for the unforseen, gentlemen, since all is a gamble and life is a chaplet of minor miseries which, bead by bead, your philosopher tells with a smile. Be philosophers as I am, friends; sit down here and let us drink. (p. 451)… (more)
LibraryThing member DeltaQueen50
My number one thought upon completing The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas is that I had more fun reading this book than I’ve had in a long time. Chock full of drama, humor, political schemes, romance, and, oh yes, swordplay. This is a delightful swashbuckler and wonderful historical adventure.

As Dumas uses historical references and events as a framework to build his story on, I was curious as to how close his interpretation were and upon a little research, the actual facts meld very well with his version. His well developed, strong characters and the fast pace at which the story unfolds has the reader engrossed and turning pages avidly. Dumas is skilful at evoking emotions as events play across the pages, and I felt many, ranging from sympathy to scorn, hatred to respect, humor to pathos.

When I mention strong characters, one in particular springs to mind. Lady de Winter is one of the best villains I have ever read about. She can be very nasty, both cruel and vindictive, yet she masks her psychotic ways with her beauty, an angelic looking yet deadly blonde temptress that created most of the best edge of your seat moments in the book. And although d’Artagnan tried my patience any number of times, I could understand his young impatient ways. My admiration went mostly in the direction of Athos, the strong, silent type, hiding his true identity and a dark past.

The Three Musketeers is a well known story and many movie adaptations have been made, but this was my first actual read and I was surprised at how different the book is from the Hollywood versions which usually play strongly upon the humor and less upon the story. Dumas delivers a kick-ass action adventure with strong undertones of his favorite themes of vengeance and intrigue. Highly recommended.
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LibraryThing member groovykinda
It's not every day I stop while reading a book to say to myself: "Wow. I'm really having a lot of fun." This book and the sequels are a great time.
LibraryThing member lit_chick
2007, Blackstone Audiobooks, Read by Simon Vance

I love classics and read them often, but The Three Musketeers was not one I could get drawn into. I read The Count of Monte Cristo several years ago, loved it, and it remains one of my all-time favourites. So I hoped to revisit that experience with the first of Dumas’ D’Artagnan Romances. But it was not to be. I felt completely indifferent towards the characters: D’Artanan and the musketeers alike, as well as the scheming Cardinal and Milady.

I cannot not recommend Dumas and this well-loved classic, but I will say that readers who loved [The Count] will not necessarily have a similar experience with this one. The audio version is narrated by the inimitable Simon Vance, so it certainly has that in its favour.
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LibraryThing member Meredy
Six-word review: Swashbuckling adventure of intrigue and swordplay.


In among the duels and melees, the politics and warfare of royalty versus religion, and the passing of notes to confidantes and traitors, there are numerous thoughtful passages to lend substance to this action melodrama. A Jesuit warns Aramis: "You're touching on the controversial subject of Free Will, which is a deadly snare." (page 325) And Aramis tells the hero of the piece: "'Take my advice, d'Artagnan: when you're in trouble, hide it. Silence is the only refuge of the unhappy. Don't let others into the secrets of your heart; prying folk feed on your tears as vampires feed on human blood.'" (page 332)

One chapter (page 696) actually begins: "It was a dark and stormy night." Wow!

I thought the novel seemed to peter out at the end, or maybe I just didn't understand the politics of switching sides. It seemed to cancel out the theme of loyalty that had permeated the story from the beginning. But it was a lively romance anyway, with very villainous villains.
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LibraryThing member Terpsichoreus
Built on the ridiculous, the humorous, the exciting, and deeply in the characters, this work creates a world of romance (in that oh-so-classic sense) and adventure which conscripts the reader and delivers him to the front lines. I am alway amazed by this book's ability to invoke lust, pity, wonder, respect, scorn, and hatred, all while driving along a plot filled with new events and characters.

Should there be any future for Fantasy, it lies not in the hands of Tolkien-copying machines, nor even in Moorecock's 'un-fantasy', but in whatever writer can capture Beowulf, The Aeneid, The Three Musketeers, or The White Company and make a world which is exciting not because everything is magical and strange, but because everything is entirely recognizable, but much stranger. Of course, one may want to avoid going Mervyn Peake's route with this, and take a lesson from the driving plot and carefree frivolity that Dumas Pere and his innumerable ghostwriters adhered to.

It is amusing here to note that Dumas has accredited to his name far more books than he is likely to have ever written. As he was paid for each book with his name on it, he made a sort of 'writing shop' where he would dictate plots, characters, or sometimes just titles to a series of hired writers and let them fill in the details.

So, praises be to Dumas or whichever of his unrecognized hirees wrote such a work.
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LibraryThing member MrsLee
Ah, so many reviews, this will be a record for me of some of my thoughts while reading this classic.

I was impressed by the amount of political commentary Dumas was able to work into the story by showing, not telling. From the English Duke's attitude to common people to the Cardinal's power over the King, he makes some strong statements without saying so.

Competent women? In an adventure book from the 1800s? Yes! Although the main strong woman was portrayed as a villain, it was clear enough to me that perhaps much of her evil was brought on by an intelligent woman trying to make her mark in a world where men have all the rights and power. Also, the other women in the book, while being under the power of the men around them, find intelligent and daring ways to circumvent them. I was a bit sad that the one D'Artagnan "loved" ended up helpless and not very bright when she started out brave and clever.

It almost had an aroma of satire, as the heroes were by no means without faults. They were idiotic at times, so much so that I frequently had visions of Abbott and Costello or the Three Stooges doing the routine when they were conversing. Their manners and attitudes towards the women in their lives was maddening. I frequently wondered whether Dumas meant for us to love them, laugh at them or despise them.

This was a fun way to brush up on history, if you do not rely on it as history but use it as a jumping board to learn about the characters and events within.
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LibraryThing member tikitu-reviews
I know it's a classic, but I didn't expect this to be such a rollicking good read. The story flies along, and kept me up until 3am this morning finishing the last few chapters. It's also laugh-out-loud funny at regular intervals, up until the plot gets really tense and tragic and takes over.

Every now and then the narrator intrudes to remind us that the morality and conventions of the time were different, and that the characters were acting, by their lights, entirely reasonably. Much more interesting, though, are the episodes which he does not consider to require such a reminder, which make clear the misogyny and class oppression the author himself took for granted. (The authorial treatment of Kitty, doubly unlucky as a woman and a servant, has dated particularly badly.)

If you can get past that though, or see it as a historical quirk, what remains is a story heroic, tragic and funny, all by turns and occasionally all at once.

And no, I haven't seen the film (any of 'em), and yes, I suppose now I'll have to.
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LibraryThing member benuathanasia
One of my favorites!

Milady is a fascinating character study. She deserves her own story. Yes, the evil, man-destroying succubus was stereotypical even by the time this was written, but Milady is so brilliantly written, I can happily look past that.
LibraryThing member AltheaAnn
It's always interesting to read the original of such an extremely well-known story to see what the differences between the actual book and the popular consciousness are....

A few things that surprised me...

"All for one and one for all" - is only said in the book once, and is not made a terribly big deal of!

Our 'heroes' are really not that heroic. They're constantly starting fights over no cause at all, gambling irresponsibly, being generally lying, deceitful and adulterous - and D'Artagnan can't even be bothered to pay his rent to the guy whose wife he's seducing! (All four musketeers are perennially down-and-out, and can't hang on to a gift or cash past the next tavern....) Of course, all of this makes the book *much* funnier and more entertaining than it would be if they were more upright men...

I'm pretty sure that in at least one movie version of the story, it's stated outright that Lady de Winter was branded for the crime of murder. Not so! In the book, (at least from a modern perspective) her initial crimes don't really seem to warrant her husband trying to kill her by hanging her naked from a tree. Sure, she gets really evil *later* - but you have to have some sympathy for her situation! (At least I did!)

It takes a really long time to get into the main part of the story - I got the sense that, since this was published as a serial, Dumas was initially just sending his characters on random exploits, and only once the story had gained some popularity, embarked on the more complex, involved, continuing story, going back and weaving in bits that had been mentioned earlier... I don't know if that's historically accurate, but it's the feeling I got...

Definitely worth reading....
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LibraryThing member victrola
Great adventure story! Though I didn't like it as much as The Count of Monte Cristo.
LibraryThing member heidijane
Having only been exposed to the Disney and Dogtanian version of this story, I thought I would undertake to read the real thing. And wow, I wasn't disappointed! According to the introduction, Dumas wrote this book serialised daily, which is quite some feat! It also means that each chapter ends on a cliff-hanger or something else that draws you in to keep reading. Its an exciting, thrilling tale of daring and adventure. Last night I had to stay up late to finish it, despite the fact that I was really tired, as the book progressed towards its inevitably tragic and dramatic climax.Admittedly, the main characters are hardly sympathetic. The musketeers and D'artagnan are all hard-drinking and loose with their money, sponging off their friends and treating their servants with contempt. Their relationships with women are quite cavalier too. The most sympathetic one is Athos, whose past comes back to haunt him and who increasingly occupies a greater role in the story towards the end as he seeks his revenge.Of the baddies, I was a bit disappointed with the cardinal, as he seemed to me to be rather an insipid character, torn between his admiration for the daring feats of the musketeers and his dislike for the fact that they keep undermining his dastardly plots. The best character is definitely Milady, a cold and calculated actress who can twist people round her little finger to do what she wants. Yet even she seems scared of losing the cardinal's favour.This is a brilliantly multi-layered book which, due to the plot full of political machinations, intrigues and secrets, is, at its heart, a damn good read.… (more)
LibraryThing member mldavis2
I'm glad to have read this classic, but I ended a bit disappointed following Dumas' "The Count of Monte Cristo" which is one of my all time favorites. Typical of the time period, perhaps, this novel tended to be a bit slow in development and overly dramatic, with characters taking personal affront at the slightest indecency and taking matters into their own hands for revenge. A swashbuckling adventure, to be sure and a classic in the world of literature, it nevertheless seemed a bit over the top to me and lacked the subtlety and restraint and latent hostility of Dumas' other work. The ending is clever with an economy of characters but I didn't feel the novel worthy of the 700 pages devoted to the story.… (more)
LibraryThing member bookworm12
So based on my experience with half a dozen movie versions of this book, I assumed the Cardinal was the big baddie and the story was mainly about the three musketeers. Reading it proved it to be a very different book. The Cardinal is certainly not the hero, but his role is more ambiguous than I expected. The true villain is actually the Lady DiWinter and oh my gosh, she is fantastic! I wish this book was called Don’t Mess with DiWinter. I have never encountered a more manipulative genius in literature! She’s a deadly version of Scarlett O’Hara. Everything she does is perfectly calculated. The book didn’t really click for me until she took center stage.

Honestly, I could have done without about half of the scenes with D'Artagnan, Athos, Porthos, and Aramis. They are all great swashbuckling scenes, but their silliness is a bit exhausting. Aramis wants to be a priest, but he doesn’t really because he’s in love with a woman. Porthos is a preening fool who uses different women to fund his extravagant lifestyle. Athos, also known as emo boy, is moody and dramatic. Sure we soon learn why he is the way he is and it’s a great reason, but still the emo tendencies get a bit old.

D'Artagnan is the biggest goof of them all. When he isn’t challenging every man he meets to a duel, he’s falling in love with every woman he meets. Ironically the woman who he first falls for and who continues to love him is named Constance; her love is constant, while his certainly is not.

The book begins as D'Artagnan heads to Paris to join the king’s guard and become a musketeer. He meets three musketeers along the way, Athos, Porthos, and Aramis, and after a few misunderstandings the four become inseparable. The cocky quartet is constantly getting into trouble because of the unnecessary risks they take. At the same time they are pretty great at what they do and it’s fun to watch them duel their way out of every situation.

“I foresee plainly that if we don’t kill each other, I shall hereafter have much pleasure in your conversation.”

BOTTOM LINE: The Three Musketeers doesn’t have the same complexity and depth as The Count of Monte Cristo and so it’s not quite as satisfying. It is a really fun read and gives us some wonderful characters. Lady DiWinter is certainly one that I’ll never forget. I’m looking forward to reading some of the other books in the D'Artagnan series.

“It was one of those events which decide the life of a man; it was a choice between the king and the cardinal.”

“He gave a sigh for that unaccountable destiny which leads men to destroy each other for the interests of people who are strangers to them and who often do not even know that they exist.”
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LibraryThing member MarquesadeFlambe
One of the greatest adventure stories ever written. Is there really anything I can say that hasn't already been said?
LibraryThing member Hamburgerclan
This book I already had on my shelf. I had bought and thoroughly enjoyed it years ago. I forget why I first bought it. Maybe it was because I had recently seen and enjoyed the film version directed by Richard Lester. Or maybe I was just in the mood to buy a "classic" on the day I happened to be in the bookstore. (That happens sometimes, y'know) Either way, I came to enjoy the book on it's own considerable merits. In case you don't know, The Three Musketeers tells the tale of Monsieur D'Artagnan, a young man who comes to Paris in 1627 to seek his fortune. In short order he meets and is befriended by three of the Musketeers--the elite army regiment assigned to protect King Louis XIII. The four men have a variety of adventures, thwarting the schemes of the King's rival, Cardinal Richelieu. The four are true swashbucklers, full of testosterone, bluster and honor. (Well, their own code of honor, a bit different from what might be respected in 21st Century America.) All in all, it's an exciting tale with engaging events and characters.
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LibraryThing member Stbalbach
An endless adventure breathlessly moving from one scene to the next: sword-fighting duels, court espionage, sex scandals, poisonings, assassinations, undying love.

"Les Trois Mousquetaires" was translated into three English versions by 1846. One of these, by William Barrow, is still in print and fairly faithful to the original, available in the Oxford World's Classics 1999 edition. However all of the explicit and many of the implicit references to sexuality had been removed to conform to 19th century English standards, thus making the scenes between d'Aragnan and Milady, for example, confusing and strange. The most recent and new standard English translation is by award-winning translator Richard Pevear (2006). Pevear says in his translation notes that most of the modern translations available today are "textbook examples of bad translation practices" which "give their readers an extremely distorted notion of Dumas's writing."… (more)
LibraryThing member Misfit
What fun! This books just jumps right out and keeps moving along (except for a couple of slow spots -- but needed to develop the character's past, etc.) The cameraderie between the Musketeers is awesome and they are incredibly wonderful scamps.

D'artagnon was adorable, as were Athos, Aramis and Porthos. The evil Milady was truly EVIL and WICKED. The dialogue was awesome, it just crackled right along. I think we all know the basic story and how it ended, but reading the book was much more enjoyable than the movie, as they always are. It did bring back many memories of that wonderful version from the 70's, with Michael York and Raquel Welch. I will have to revisit that, and am looking forward to reading the sequels. Dumas is truly a brilliant author… (more)
LibraryThing member booknivorous
This book stands as a classic definition of the romantic adventure. The story, the heroes, the language, and the action are all here. Folks just don’t write like this anymore, but that’s ok, I can re-read it. It’s that good.
LibraryThing member ck2935
My favorite book of all time! D'artagnan is just bad. The pain of Athos, the conflict of Aramis, and the rowdiness of Porthos, these characters just leap off the stage. Courage, duty, romance, and honor. What more can you want from litearture?
LibraryThing member nicoletort
Exciting, thrilling book. Instantly made Dumas my favorite author.
LibraryThing member jshillingford
Like many people, I had seen movies based on the novel. A few were excellent, most mediocre, and none able to capture the magic of the novel. A book with political intrigue, duels, action, adventure and a love story is hard to match! D'Artagnan is the quintessential hero. He's young, handsome, brash, idealistic and passionately loyal. France is in disarray, thanks to a manipulation of a ruthless cardinal. Can four companions save king and country?

This is the kind of book that will get young people to see the value in reading. Though the language is a little old fashioned (it is historical fiction after all) it does not make reading difficult as in some works. Highly recommended!
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LibraryThing member ariebonn
This is one of the longest books I have read lately. At first it was a little intimidating but when I finally got the courage to start reading it I discovered that it's fast paced and couldn't stop reading. This book is full of action, the events are cleverly interwoven to make a complex plot of friendship, loyalty, romance, adventure and suspense. I found the characters to be all so fascinating, it starts with the great D'Artagnan whose hot hotheadedness accounts for most of the adventures and which leads him to meet with the famous three musketeers, Athos, Porthos and Aramis. Once they are sworn as friends the four men become inseparable and live by their motto "all for one, one for all", they demonstrate loyalty for each other until the end. I recently learned that Alexandre Dumas wrote two more books to follow this one, Twenty Years After and The Vicomte De Bragelonne, the three books are also known as the D'Artagnan Romances. This made me curious to get hold of the next books and find out what happened after The Three Musketeers. With every classic that I read I realize that these books truly deserve to be called classics and why I should really read more of them.… (more)
LibraryThing member Tendulkar01
Justly loved as one of the most enjoyable adventure novels ever written
LibraryThing member Clurb
Wonderfully compelling and thoroughly entertaining. Read it for the thrilling adventure or the romantic interest or even for the insights into the politics of the time. A book that makes me feel warm inside.


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