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The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas

Dumas tells the story of the adventurous D'Artagnan, leaving his home to join the King's musketeers in the 17th century France. Athos, Porthos and Aramis are the persons referred to by the title, and D'Artagnan soon challenges each of them to a duel, which leads to an initial friendship that grows through the novel. The story contains everything. It's exciting, hilarious, adventurous and thrilling. The only thing that might, in som way, be lacking is the profoundity that ”The Count of Monte Cristo” possess.

Unfortunately, the women were either helpless or deceiving, except from the modest but brave mercer's wife, Madame Bonacieux. The villain of the story, the ruthless, devious Milady de Winter, showed no fainting qualities, but played with what she had - her intellect and her beauty – to overcome obstacles. Never the less, even though there can be no comparison regarding the source of evil, the men weren't exactly honourable and innocent, either. Though they remained loyal to the King, they had other, less favourable qualities. The musketeers might be regarded as exploiting their position on certain occasions. Sometimes, they treated people around them badly, especially their lackeys. D'Artagnan, at times, seemed to have a difficult time deciding who would receive his love. According to the author, one of the customs of the 17th century France was for the musketeers to receive gifts from married, wealthy ladies that served as their mistresses. That's interesting. Only a century later, virtue and honour would rend it impossible. 

The contempt of death and constant duels show that some people wanted to preserve the earlier culture, and refuse to accept the prohibition of duels. Undoubtadly, there were different opinions of that. A hilarious thing the musketeers dedicated themselves to was breakfasting in the bastion in the middle of a war with England, refusing to stop before the repast was over. Then, Athos obstinately left the bastion, with the bullets flying around him, at a walking pace. The character of Athos is intriguing. It was clear from the beginning that he suffered from some great misfortune or disappointment of some kind, which turned out to be romantic. The way it was described, however, was in a unusual, funny kind of way. He seemed tired and didn't give much for words and he communicated with his lackey through signs which sometimes turned into a pantomime or a sign-language, and the latter eventually developed an impressive alertness.

The way in which the story is written is a clever mixture of admirable character development, pensive declarations, high-paced suspense and comedy. It's not, as mentioned, as thoroughly impressive as "The Count of Monte Cristo" but a comparison is unnecessary because of their differences. This one is comical, adventurous and full of intrigues, while the other one is sad, profound and much darker.

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