The Three Musketeers: An Abridgement by Lord Sudley

Overview


The famous swashbuckling adventure

When hot-blooded young d'Artagnan comes to Paris to seek his fortune, he finds himself challenged to a duel with not one, but three of the King's Musketeers. But Athos, Porthos and Aramis are to become his greatest friends, and companions in dangerous adventure when he becomes embroiled in the intrigues of the Court and the beautiful, evil Lady de Winter. This edition has been specially abridged for Puffin ...

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Overview


The famous swashbuckling adventure

When hot-blooded young d'Artagnan comes to Paris to seek his fortune, he finds himself challenged to a duel with not one, but three of the King's Musketeers. But Athos, Porthos and Aramis are to become his greatest friends, and companions in dangerous adventure when he becomes embroiled in the intrigues of the Court and the beautiful, evil Lady de Winter. This edition has been specially abridged for Puffin Classics.

@d’ArtsDaMAN It’s time to go off into the world and follow my secondary dream and become a Musketeer. Apparently Jedis don’t actually exist.

From Twitterature: The World's Greatest Books in Twenty Tweets or Less

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.

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Editorial Reviews

Toronto Globe & Mail
How thorough Mr. Raby has been in his recapitulation of Dumas' plot...This is a piece of master carpentry, with special skill in the dovetailing
Toronto Telegram
Peter Raby has adapted the Dumas text into a sprawling, multi-scened extravaganza written mostly in purple ink—the only color for this kind of tale.
Library Journal
Dumas's 1844 swashbuckling chestnut gets overhauled by master translator Pevear and includes Pevear's introduction to Dumas, describing his life and times, and scholarly notes on the text. The story probably has been done to death in numerous, mostly bad, movies, but how many books have a candy bar named after them? Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—Dumas's swashbuckling adventure introduces readers to the Musketeers' feats of derring-do with this six-volume series. In volume one, d'Artagnan first encounters the trio of elite French fighters. The scene quickly advances 30 years into the future when only d'Artagnan remains a Musketeer. All four heroes find that their paths cross in one final adventure involving a plotted coup to replace Louis XIV with his twin brother. In volume three, the plot is discovered and Louis banishes his brother, ordering his face be covered with an iron mask forever. The king then commands d'Artagnan to arrest and execute Aramis and Porthos, who were the instigators of the scheme. Beginning in volume five, first Porthos, then Athos, and finally d'Artagnan meet their deaths. The story concludes with his poignant words, "Athos, Porthos, farewell till we meet again! Aramis, adieu for ever." Readers will be caught up in this romantic tale of action and adventure based on language from the original classic and containing a story synopsis at the beginning of each volume. As each man ages, his distinctive features and visually well-defined persona remain consistent throughout the saga. Use of a limited color palette gives this adaptation a classic feel.—Barbara M. Moon, Suffolk Cooperative Library System, Bellport, NY
From Barnes & Noble
Dramatic, stirring, and romantic, the story of D'Artagnan, Athos, Porthos, and Aramis, and their famous code of "one for all and all for one," remains an unsurpassed tale of adventure and heroism.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780140367478
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 11/28/1995
  • Series: Puffin Classics Series
  • Edition description: Abridged Edition
  • Pages: 464
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.08 (w) x 7.79 (h) x 0.78 (d)

Meet the Author


Alexandre Dumas was born July 24, 1802, at Villiers-Cotterets, France, the son of Napoleon's famous mulatto general, Dumas. Alexandre Dumas began writing at an early age and saw his first success in a play he wrote entitled Henri III et sa Cour (1829). A prolific author, Dumas was also an adventurer and took part in the Revolution of 1830. Dumas is most famous for his brilliant historical novels, which he wrote with collaborators, mainly Auguste Maquet, and which were serialized in the popular press of the day. His most popular works are The Three Musketeers(1844), The Count of Monte Cristo (1844-45), and The Man in Iron Mask (1848-50). Dumas made and lost several fortunes, and died penniless on on December 5, 1870.
Robin Waterfield is a graduate of Manchester University and studied Greek philosphy at King's College, Cambridge. He is currently writing a major biography of Kahlil Gibran.
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Read an Excerpt

From Alexandre Dumas, a precise and candid description of his particular view of history:
I start by devising a story. I try to make it romantic, moving, dramatic, and when scope has been found for the emotions and the imagination, I search through the annals of the past to find a frame in which to set it; and it has never happened that history has failed to provide this frame, so exactly adjusted to the subject that it seemed it was not a case of the frame being made for the picture, but that the picture had been made to fit the frame.

This is the point of view of the historical novelist, who approaches the past as theater–the unending melodrama of saints and sinners, and who knows that history, eternally surprising, inspiring, disheartening, sometimes described as “one damn thing after another,” will never fail him. It is all there. And it is all there to be used.


Dumas was in his early forties when he wrote The Three Musketeers, an age when novelists are believed to be entering their best creative years. He is traditionally described as “a man of vast republican sympathies,” which, in contemporary terms, made him a believer in democracy, equality, and the rights of man. He had fought in the streets of Paris during the July revolution of 1830; would man the barricades in 1848; would aid Garibaldi, with guns and journalism, in the struggle for Italian independence in 1860.

Such politics came to him by inclination, and by birth. His father, Thomas-Alexandre Davy de La Pailleterie, had taken the name of his African slave mother, Marie Dumas, and spent the early years of his life on the island of Santo Domingo. When the FrenchRevolution made it possible for men without wealth or social connections to rise to power, the soldier Alexandre Dumas became General Alexandre Dumas, commanding the Army of the Alps in 1794, serving under Napoleon Bonaparte in Italy, and later in Egypt. But his relationship with Bonaparte deteriorated; his health was destroyed by two years in an Italian prison; and he died, a broken man, in 1806. His son, in time the novelist Dumas, was then four years old, but he would be told of his father’s life, and he knew what it meant.

By 1844, France was ruled by Louis-Philippe, duc d’Orleans, a constitutional monarch known as “the bourgeois king,” who presided over the golden age of the French bourgeoisie, a propertied class animated by the slogan “Enrichissez-vous!” (Enrich yourselves!) This was a period of transition, when corrupt capitalism was opposed by passionate idealism–the age of monarchy was dying, the age of democracy was just being born. The best insight into the period is to be found in the novels of Honoré de Balzac–Dumas’s fierce literary rival. Balzac was virtually the same age as Dumas, and, like Dumas, rose from social obscurity and penury by producing a huge volume of work at an extraordinary pace. But Balzac wrote about contemporary life–the vanity, corruption and sexual politics of Paris in the 1840s–and was, throughout his fiction, essentially a novelist of vice. Dumas, on the other hand, was a novelist of virtue, though he had to go back two hundred years to find it.

Setting The Three Musketeers in the year 1625–at that distance, a contemporary American novelist might use the revolution of 1776–Dumas was summoning up a remote and heroic era. Yes, it was all different back then. Better. Still, it may be worth remembering that Dumas’s musketeers are proud, courageous men, men without inherited money or the support of prominent family, who must fight their way through a world of political intrigue dominated by predatory, immoral people who scheme and connive, who will do virtually anything, to keep their wealth and position. So, if it is about anything, The Three Musketeers is about betrayal, fidelity, and, like almost all genre fiction, it is about honor. Honor lost, honor gained, honor maintained at the cost of life itself. By 1894, the sale of Dumas’s works totaled three million books and eight million serials.

The Three Musketeers, the first book of the d’Artagnan trilogy, with Twenty Years After and The Vicomte de Bragelonne to follow, appeared in installments in the journal Le Siècle from March to July in 1844. It was written with help of a collaborator, Auguste Maquet, who also participated in the writing of The Count of Monte Cristo. Maquet would later claim significant authorship, and haul Dumas into court.

Dumas was accused, as well, of plagiarism, having used The Memoirs of Monsieur d’Artagnan, by one Courtilz de Sandras, published in Cologne in 1701, as source material. There he found not only d’Artagnan but Athos, Porthos, and Aramis; Tréville and his musketeers; Milady and her maid; and the Cardinalist Guards. From the annals of French history, he took the machinations, real or reputed, involving Louis XIII, Anne of Austria, Cardinal Richelieu, and the duke of Buckingham. Then he threw out whatever reality he found inconvenient and wrote what he liked.

In the real world of Europe in 1625, the continent was being torn apart by the Thirty Years War–a rather pallid name that obscures the cruel and brutal nature of its reality. Fighting on behalf of royal houses in conflict over religious issues and rights of succession, mercenary armies were paid by the right of pillage and ravaged the countryside, a strategy described as “war supports the war.” In France, French Catholics suppressed a French Protestant minority, the Huguenots, who were supported by English Protestant money and arms. Serving as virtual regent for a weak king Louis XIII, Cardinal Richelieu was perhaps the greatest political figure of his time. Famously eloquent, determined and brilliant, Richelieu was a deeply ambitious man, but a devoted and faithful servant of king and country.

A popular novelist, however, must produce an archvillain, and Dumas gave the job to Richelieu. As the servant of Dumas’s fictional requirements, Richelieu is merely political on the surface, as he undertakes a series of intrigues in a struggle for power with the king or with his English Protestant enemy, Buckingham. In The Three Musketeers, Richelieu is discovered to have deeper motives, a lust for revenge inspired by a romantic slight–a spurned advance–and, in general, by sexual jealousy. The cardinal, according to Dumas, was in love with the queen, Anne of Austria. The reader of 1844, hurrying off to buy this week’s chapter in Le Siècle, likely suspected as much.

Serialized fiction read as a novel can, at times, be a slightly bumpy ride. The twists and turns of the story are intended not only to keep the reader reading, but to keep the reader buying. Thus the plot tends toward precipitous dives and breathtaking ascents, as peril and escape follow each other at narrow intervals, characters disappear and are brought back to life, and what seemed like the central crisis of the narrative is suddenly resolved, to be replaced by a second crisis.

The perfidious Cardinal Richelieu is a good example of this principle at work. He’s a useful éminence grise at the beginning of the novel, as Cardinalist guards fight the king’s faithful musketeers. But, when it’s time for the story to end, he’s too historical a figure to be vanquished with all the force that the conclusion of a romantic adventure demands. Thus the role of villain is shifted to Milady; the story can then take its chilling and violent turn; and justice, when it is at last achieved, can be, to say the least, severe.

Since writers of serials wrote for a weekly deadline, there was no such thing as regret or revision, and the reader may see rather more of the novel’s scaffolding than the author would like. Dumas, characteristically, solved this problem with talent, and produced the best writing in The Three Musketeers in the latter third of the novel, for example the combination of battle and picnic at the Bastion Saint Gervais, during the attack on the Protestant stronghold at La Rochelle. This is easily one of the most insouciant scenes in all of literature, as the musketeers, intent on winning a tavern bet, occupy the bastion; sip wine; discuss matters of love and strategy; push a wall over on a raiding party; use the dead as mock defenders; and, finally, after four-hundred pages of action and intrigue, actually fire muskets!

This is but one pleasure among many. There is, throughout The Three Musketeers, a vast and magnanimous intelligence at work. The critic Jules Michelet described Alexandre Dumas as “an inextinguishable volcano,” and “one of the forces of nature.” He was certainly that. Born to write, and born to write about mythic times and mythic deeds, Dumas loved his characters and the elaborate story he fashioned for them. This is a telling trait in a novelist, the reader instinctively feels it, so gives himself to the story, lives in the time and place of its setting, and escapes, as surely as d’Artagnan ever escaped, from the drone of daily existence. That’s the job of romantic fiction and it’s done in The Three Musketeers on virtually every page. “All for one, and one for all!” And all for us.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
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Table of Contents

Translator's Introduction 9
Part 1
1 The Three Gifts of Monsieur d'Artagnan the Elder 27
2 Monsieur de Treville's Ante-Room 42
3 The Audience 53
4 Athos' Shoulder, Porthos' Shoulder-Belt, and Aramis' Handkerchief 65
5 The King's Musketeers and the Cardinal's Guards 73
6 His Majesty King Louis XIII 84
7 The Musketeers at Home 105
8 A Court Intrigue 115
9 D'Artagnan takes Command 124
10 A Seventeenth-Century Mouse-Trap 133
11 The Plot Thickens 144
12 George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham 162
13 Monsieur Bonacieux 171
14 The Man of Meung 180
15 Soldiers and Magistrates 191
16 In which Seguier, the Keeper of the Seals, looks again for the Chapel Bell which in his youth he rang so furiously 201
17 The Bonacieux at Home 213
18 The Lover and the Husband 228
19 The Plan of Campaign 236
20 The Journey 245
21 My Lady de Winter 259
22 The Merlaison Ballet 269
23 The Tryst 277
24 The Summer-House 285
25 Porthos' Mistress 299
26 Aramis' Thesis 318
27 Athos' Wife 335
28 The Return 355
29 In Search of Equipment 369
30 Milady 378
31 English and French 386
32 Lunch at the Lawyer's 394
33 Mistress and Maid 403
34 How Aramis and Porthos Found Their Equipment 413
35 All Cats are Grey at Night 422
36 Plans for Revenge 430
37 Milady's Secret 437
Part 2
1 How Athos Found His Equipment Without Bestirring Himself 447
2 A Vision 456
3 The Cardinal 464
4 The Siege of La Rochelle 473
5 The Anjou Wine 484
6 The Red Dovecote Inn 492
7 The Advantage of Stove Pipes 500
8 A Conjugal Scene 508
9 The Bastion of St Gervais 514
10 A Council of War 521
11 A Family Affair 539
12 Disaster 553
13 Conversation Between Brother and Sister 561
14 Officer! 569
15 First Day of Captivity 579
16 Second Day of Captivity 586
17 Third Day of Captivity 593
18 Fourth Day of Captivity 601
19 Fifth Day of Captivity 609
20 Histrionics in the Grand Manner 623
21 Escape 629
22 What Happened at Portsmouth on 25 August 1628 638
23 In France 648
24 The Carmelite Convent at Bethune 654
25 The Female and the Male 668
26 A Drop of Water 674
27 The Man in the Red Cloak 690
28 The Trial 696
29 The Execution 704
30 A Messenger from the Cardinal 709
Epilogue 719
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Reading Group Guide

1. Discuss Dumas's use of historical events in the novel. Do you think a knowledge of history is necessary or unnecessary in order to enjoy the novel? Discuss the ways in which Dumas alters or takes liberties with real events in order to suit the story. Is his view of history sanitized in any way?

2. Dumas is thought of as the chief popularizer of French Romantic drama. In considering The Three Musketeers, do you think this reputation is an accurate one? How does Dumas use dramatic effect in the novel?

3. Contemporary critics were offended by the scenes depicting vice and violence in the novel. Do you find these scenes arbitrary or not?

4. Many critics have described the musketeers as well-developed stereotypes, but are there ways in which the musketeers transcend these stereotypes? Are there other, perhaps more complex ways of interpreting the four protagonists?

5. Discuss Dumas's female characters, in particular Milady. What is her role in the novel, and what does this reveal about Dumas's views of women, if anything? Does Dumas depict a war between the sexes?

6. How do the chapter endings contribute to Dumas's masterly maintenance of pace? How does this kind of device recall a play, and how does this speak to Dumas's strengths stylistically?

7. In what ways is The Three Musketeers a bildungsroman? Would you characterize the work as a youthful novel?

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