Tag Archives: alexandre dumas

The Man in the Iron Mask by Alexandre Dumas

The Man in the Iron Mask by Alexandre Dumas (unabridged audiobook read by Geoffrey Sherman; 16 hrs on 14 discs): Well, that was a real downer. People die, noble plots are thwarted, good men are sent to prison. The title is a little misleading, because surprisingly little of the book is about said man – the brother of the king, whom Aramis tries to install in his place from the very first chapter. I still love all four Musketeers, but this story seemed less about them and more about French politics. I think. To be honest, I had a lot of trouble following it. I kept confusing people, especially since most of the noblemen had two or three names each. It was nice to rejoin Athos, Aramis, Porthos, and d’Artagnan, but I would have rather spent the time with them off on adventures, and not as old men who barely see each other anymore. I suppose it’s not a bad way to round off your Musketeer collection, but definitely don’t start here.

This translation was not so great. I’m not convinced, even in Dumas’s time, that people would say “What does that signify?” instead of “What does that mean?” or “Do you comprehend?” instead of “Do you understand?” It made everything sound stilted and weird.

The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas

The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas (unabridged audiobook read by Michael Page; 24 hrs on 20 discs): My familiarity with this story was limited to the Disney film and the sort-of sequel, neither of which have much to do with anything. Our hero, the young d’Artagnan, longs to become a Musketeer. While he is proving his worth, he befriends the titular Three Musketeers: Athos, Portos, and Aramis. I had not realized that most of the characters in this book are based (however loosely) on real people, but considering I knew pretty much nothing about any of them going in, it didn’t really matter. Most of this story deals with tracking down and defeating Milady de Winter, a character of uncertain origin and indubitable evil. I was surprised by two things, mostly: first, that the Musketeers’ taking on married women as lovers and financiers was a totally ordinary thing, and second, how often I laughed. This is, quite simply, an adventure story. People tend to be either wholly good or wholly evil, anyone the good guys kill is justified and anyone the bad guys killed is an outrage. In short, it’s a lot of fun, but don’t put too much thought into it.

A note on the audio: A lot of classics are no fun to listen to on audio because most of them were recorded before people figured out that voice actors are the better way to go when reading books for people. Thus, your chance of horrendous monotone is higher the older and more famous the book. So I was quite pleasantly surprised (thrilled, actually) to discover that this reader was just great. It made listening a real pleasure.

Also posted on BookCrossing.

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