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The Three Musketeers

by Alexandre Dumas
Series: The D'Artagnan Romances #1
603 pages, General Fiction
Reviewed by Lady Meriwen

Enjoyable and exciting, but with some moral issues.

Plot

It is France in the 17th century, and a young Gascon named d'Artagnan is caught up in a web of court intrigues and political maneuvering. In the midst of chaos, he must make decisions that involve not only his life but the lives and reputations of thousands. It's the classic story of love, adventure, and loyalty that only gets deeper as d'Artagnan fights for France with his three unforgettable comrades: the king's musketeers.

Morality

There's definitely a battle between good and evil here, but the lines are blurred in some important areas. Love conquers all - whether it's lawful or not - and, for the most part, God is restricted to a name invoked by a corrupt priesthood. Though the villain of the story is inherently evil, her opposers' motives in fighting her are by no means blameless. Justice is a strong theme in this story, though, as are loyalty, courage, and dauntless love.

Spiritual Content

Christianity is not generally respected in this story. It's taken for granted that the church, particularly the Cardinal, is bound up in politics and intrigue. While one of the musketeers wishes to become a clergyman, his friends tease him instead of taking him seriously (which would, in all fairness, be hard to do, since he's somewhat of a womanizer). The only scene involving priests portrays them as greedy and selfish.

That said, however, the "good" characters do show some respect for God. They acknowledge that He is all-powerful and that He will protect them, though it's not certain how much of that is genuine and how much is empty words.

Violence

It's all adventure violence - close calls with pistols and swashbuckling swordplay. Except for a dark execution which takes place near the end, there's nothing to disturb the reader.

Drug and Alcohol Content

Wine is drunk, and men are intoxicated on occasion (one of which is rather disturbingly described). A woman is fatally poisoned.

Sexual Content

Many of the characters have mistresses, some of whom are already married. The central romance would have been very sweet and enjoyable if it wasn't for the fact that the woman involved already had a husband.

Anne of Austria's historical affair with the Duke of Buckingham is important to the story. Also the villain, Lady de Winter, is an accomplished seductress, though her victories aren't graphically described.

Crude or Profane Language or Content

A fair sprinkling of oaths, mostly "My God!" and the French counterpart, "Mon Dieu!" Also the occasional "odds boddikins" and "mortdieu".

Conclusion

Timeless. Romantic. Thrilling. It's not surprising that this book is a classic. As much as I loved it, though, I was put off by the disregard of both marriage and Christianity. This is definitely a pleasure book, nothing more.

Fun Score: 4.5
Values Score: 2
Written for Age: 13+

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