Review: The Three Musketeers

Cover of "The Three Musketeers," featuring a red painting of a bearded man on a horse
Image from Books Into Films

Title: The Three Musketeers

Author: Alexandre Dumas

Genre: Classic

Back Cover:

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 Milady.


This is one of those classic books that I’ve had the intention of reading for a while – ever since I read Dumas’s amazing The Count of Monte Cristo. Plus, I’d enjoyed the movie. Anyway, I finally got around to reading it.

D’Artagnan was an interesting character. He could be hotheaded, reckless, and impulsive at times, which tended to get him in a lot of trouble. But he was smart, had some common sense which he sometimes ignored, and was very loyal to his friends. I had some issues with his morality, but overall, I didn’t mind him.

Athos, Porthos, and Aramis didn’t have quite as much personality. Their main personality trait was loyalty to each other. Athos had a very secret past, and kept a tight hold of his emotion. Porthos was vain, and that’s about it. Aramis wanted to be a priest (but I’m not sure if that’s a personality trait). They were just mediocre characters.

Milady was a perfectly evil villain. She was a fantastic actress, had a scheming mind, and was brilliant at reading people and finding their weaknesses. Then she played them like a piano. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say she was capable of getting every man and most women under her control. Astonishingly cunning and utterly evil, that was Milady.

I’m not sure I can identify what the main plot was. I think it was made up of all the intertwined subplots. The kind and the cardinal had different political ideas, and the cardinal schemed against the king. The cardinal sent Milady to humiliate the king. D’Artagnan and his friends foiled the plot and ran afoul of Milady. Plus romance subplots, Athos’s secrets, political unrest between France and England…everything was brilliantly and delightfully complicated, but it all tied back together in the end.

Except for d’Artagnan’s horse. I expected a little more closure with that plot point.

My biggest problem with this book was the morals – or lack thereof. Aside from Athos, it seemed like every major character was having an affair. D’Artagnan’s romance interest was married, even. It may have been prevalent in France at that time, I don’t know. But I didn’t like the lack of morals.

The movie adaption I saw can only be called The Three Musketeers in the sense that the main characters were named Athos, Porthos, Aramis, and d’Artagnan. The plot was loosely based on the first third of the book. If you’re looking for a good idea of what the book was about, you won’t get it from the movie.

Overall, The Three Musketeers (which, in my opinion, should have been called by Dumas’s original title, The Fourth Musketeer) wasn’t as good at The Count of Monte Cristo. But it was still an enjoyable read.


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