This archived article was written by: Ashley Stilson
A classic story is on the agenda for this week’s book review. I can safely assume that most readers know about “The Three Musketeers” by Alexandre Dumas.
We’ve heard about the daring d’Artagnan and his friends: Athos, Porthos and Aramis who live by the standard “all for one, and one for all.” But how much do you know about the adventures and romance that started in this first book of the D’Artagnan Romances?
It’s 1625, and King Louis XIII is on the throne. Infamous Cardinal Richelieu is trying to start a war between France and England. He has been unsuccessful so far, but his opportunity arises as the book continues.
It begins with a journey. Young d’Artagnan, a rash, gutsy and poor nobleman leaves his Gascony home and travels to Paris. His dream is to join the Musketeers, but he runs into trouble in the first leg of his travels.
While stopping at an inn, an older man named Rochefort insults d’Artagnan’s horse and, offended, d’Artagnan impulsively demands to fight a duel. Rochefort’s companions unfairly beat d’Artagnan and steal his letter of introduction to the commander of the Musketeers. Vowing revenge, d’Artagnan arrives in Paris, but is refused in his plea to join the Musketeers without the letter.
Luck is with him, though. d’Artagnan looks out a window and sees Rocheforte out in the street. He rushes to confront him, but on his way foolishly offends three Musketeers. They each challenge him to a duel later that afternoon. In the time he has wasted, Rocheforte has disappeared.
As afternoon rolls around, the three Musketeers he must duel are three friends Athos, Porthos and Aramis. Before the duel can begin, a group of Richelieu’s guards appear to stop the illegal duels. Even though they are badly outmatched, the four friends win the battle that ensues.
d’Artagnan has earned a reputation for beating one of the best swordsmen of the guards. He is appointed by the king to a lower company of the king’s guards and ordered to serve for two years before joining the Musketeers.
The adventures that follow are a series of breathtaking twists and turns for the four friends. d’Artagnan finds love, evil plots and many more duels and battles as he slowly proves himself over and over again worthy to become a Musketeer.
In one adventure, d’Artagnan, Athos, Porthos and Aramis race at peril of their lives to prevent Richelieu’s attempt at war. In another risky venture, the four friends and their servants bet that they can hold a besieged fort on their own. The wild reason for the bet: so that the friends can have some time to talk about their plans without being overheard.
Classics are called classics for a reason. This story has been a timeless masterpiece that many readers of the years have enjoyed. It’s the first book of three tales about the band of Musketeers. For those looking for another read, the second is called “Twenty Years Later,” continuing the adventure.