I read The Three Musketeers with my grandpa back in January, and we had a great time. Even though it was a really long book (we both prefer books in the 200-300 page range, but the abridged version was still nearly 700 pages!), we were completely hooked. There was plenty of action and just the right amount of romance to keep our attention for the month or so that it took us to read the whole thing. And when we were done, we both kept talking about just how good this book really was. We read together a lot, and this was definitely one of our favorites.
Whether you’ve read The Three Musketeers before, or are just getting around to it now, this is a great adventure story and well-worth the time investment. It’s the story of D’Artagnan, a hotblooded young nobleman who dreams of becoming a musketeer. So, he sets off on a journey to see the king and claim his new position. But, when he’s waylaid at a hotel and his letter of recommendation is stolen, D’Artagnan must prove himself as a royal guard first, before he can become a musketeer. And he’ll need all the help he can get when he finds himself caught up in a plot involving the conniving Cardinal Richelieu and the mysterious Milady. Lucky for D’Artagnan, he has the best friends a man could ask for in the form of three musketeers: Athos (who never speaks of his mysterious past), Porthos (a bumbling giant), and Aramis (a hopeless romantic training for the priesthood). The four of them go on adventures, save fair maidens, and must rescue the king and queen from a plot to invalidate their marriage and undermine their authority. This is a delightfully fun classic adventure story.
Speaking of adventure stories, if you enjoyed this book and are looking for more, I also have a blog post about swashbuckling adventure stories! And did you know there are several Musketeer sequels? You read about those and other classic sequels here.
Jason is one of my favorite cartoonists, and The Last Musketeer is one my favorite of his books. It’s been centuries since the adventures of The Three Musketeers took place. And despite it all, Athos is still alive. He wanders around like a lost soul, as the world no longer needs heroes like him, and the rest of the Musketeers are no longer interested in that line of work. So, now he’s a homeless, washed-up nobody. But, when aliens invade Earth, Athos just might have found his reason for living again. So, after driving the threat back, he hops aboard their spaceship and hitches a ride with them back to Mars. There, he must fight robots, a corrupt Emperor, and aliens with ray guns (and of course, he falls in love with a beautiful alien princess). I’m a huge fan of Jason’s work in general, but this was by far one of his best. He also wrote another story about Athos, entitled Athos in America, which features the titular musketeer recounting his days in Hollywood, when he took a job acting in a Three Musketeers film. This title is not in our collection, but can be borrowed through SearchOhio.
Milady is easily one of the most villainous women in literature–and one of the most complex, too. Beautiful, seductive, cold and shockingly ruthless…but is there more to Milady than we hear about in Dumas’ novel? In this reversal of the story we’ve all heard before, Sullivan presents a Milady who while no less flawed and vengeful, is far more sympathetic. From her sheltered upbringing and the betrayal that hardened her heart, to a doomed marriage that changed everything. A common pitfall for many “villain retellings” is to paint a picture of the villain as something completely different from the book (and undermining the original story). But, that’s not what happens here. Instead, we see a version of Milady who is richer and more complex, and we understand her a bit better than we did before. If you’re looking for a dramatic historical tale with a strong female character, than this Three Musketeers retelling might be just what you’re looking for!
Let’s wrap this up with a title for the kids. The Last Musketeer (not to be confused with the Jason book, which is decidedly NOT for kids) is the first in a trilogy of time travel tales. When Greg’s parents disappear on a trip to Paris, he realizes that they didn’t just disappear from the area–they disappeared from the century! So, he does what any kid in this situation would do–he travels back in time to save them. There, he not only discovers that his family’s history is tied to the there musketeers, but he even he meets Athos, Porthos, and Aramis– but they’re all still kids like him! And they haven’t had the chance yet to become musketeers. The only way they’ll survive long enough to become heroes is if Rich saves them as children, first. And to do that, the four must become musketeers in training–while dodging the devious plots and traps being set for them by an unknown enemy.
The Last Musketeer is the first of a series. If you enjoyed this one, the fun continues in Traitor’s Chase.