Sunday, November 27, 2011
Book Review of #5 The Man in the Iron Mask by Alexandre Dumas
Author: Alexandre Dumas
Part of a Series: D'Artagnan Romances
Type of book: France, 1660s-1670s, Louis XIV, friendship,
Year it was published: Version I have 1998 (Original version in France 1847-1850)
"You are about to hear," said Aramis, "an account which few could now give; for it refers to a secret which they buried with the dead..."
So begins the magnificent concluding story of the swashbuckling Musketeers, Aramis, Athos, Porthos and D'Artagnant. Aramis- plotting against the King of France-bribes his way into the jail cells of the Bastille where a certain prisoner has been entombed for eight long years. The prisoner knows neither his real name nor the crime he has committed. But Aramis knows the secret of the prisoner's identity...a secret so dangerous that its revelation could topple the King from his throne!
Aramis...plotting against the king?
The motto of the Musketeers has been "All for one, and one for all." Has Aramis betrayed his friends? Is this the end of the Musketeers?
Good news is that more musketeers and less Louis XIV and Louise de la Valliere. Also, at least briefly, for those who suffered from reading Louise de la Valliere and witnessing how Louis XIV treated a certain character, the king gets what's coming to him. Louise de la Valliere also gets what's coming to her. But sadly enough many characters die in this book which is depressing, but inevitably is the end. Dumas though has a tendency to stretch this beyond the natural conclusion and takes away the sense of loss that I should have felt at the characters' deaths.
I'm not sure what I should have learned from the book. That King Louis XIV is human? Dumas portrayed him as sort of a superhero though.
I think the plot was handled very awkwardly, as if the author was uncertain when to ante up the action. He probably got used to writing slowly and taking up the time. the climax is a little too easy to miss and I couldn't help but wonder that all this excitement and whatnot for just a few pages of climax. Of course the ending is much more interesting than beginning.
Alexandre Dumas is a French author born in 1802 and wrote other novels such as The Count of Monte Cristo, The Man in the Iron Mask and The Three Musketeers. He died in 1870 and also wrote The Reign of Margot.
Unfortunately I read Louise de la Valliere prior to this book thus I really rooted for the villains to win. I couldn't stand any characters any longer; and I was grateful when certain characters such as Louise de la Valliere, Louis XIV went through hard times. This book as well went a little too quickly and I could hardly believe that so much grief and tragedy resulted from one event. I felt saddened by the characters' passing. Now I'm not really sure why he wrote the way he did, that is why he portrayed Louis XIV so negatively yet at the same time tried to give him the majesty of the kings. I do wonder if the audience of back then also saw the things I saw in a bad way as bad, or did they see it as good things?
3 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)