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Not Exactly The Three Musketeers [Mass Market Paperback]

Joel Rosenberg
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Feb. 15 2000
Kethol--The pretty fellow, a long and lanky redhead with an easy smile and an easygoing attitude that his clever eyes deny. He is quick with a quick...and quicker with a sword.

Durine--The big man, a head taller than most and twice as wide, built like a barrel, with a loyal heart and hands too thick to use anything more delicate than an ax handle.

Pirojil--The ugly one, his face heavy-jawed, with an eye ridge that would mark him as a Neanderthal only to the most gracious. But looks deceive, and his might be the rarest gift of all.

Athos, Porthos, and Aramis they're not.

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From Publishers Weekly

Rosenberg's intrepid retainers of the Castle Cullinane return in this jaunty addition to his popular Guardians of the Flame series. Doughty men-at-arms Pirojil, Durine and Kethol are stuck with the dirty work when sneaky outworlder Walter Slovotsky avoids accepting a commission from the Dowager Empress to investigate claims that Lady Leria Vor'sen is being pressured to marry Lord Miron, the son of ambitious Elanee, baroness of nearby Keranahan. Along the way they're joined by the wizard Erenor, whose arcane powers may be rivaled by his theatrical ability, and whose background is as colorful as those of the Cullinane retainers. Though Lady Leria denies feeling any pressure under the watchful eye of Elanee, the three decide it's best to escort the young woman back to speak directly with the Dowager Empress?a plan that sets in motion a dangerous chain of events, all designed to keep Leria from reaching Cullinane safely. Fortunately Pirojil, Durine and Kethol, ably assisted by Erenor, are equal to the task of protecting Leria under almost any circumstances, given a little help from Slovotsky and Cullinane's dragon, Ellegon. Rosenberg writes his usual competent mix of earthy characters and gritty action, including a surprising climax that will irrevocably change the trio of friends and soldiers.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"Picaresque."--Kirkus Reviews

"A rollicking saga of swordmanship and intrigue, spiced up with dragons, damsels, and droll wizards."--SF site

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Definitely an enjoyable book. Dec 3 2003
By K. Weld
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I actually started the series by reading this book (thank you, Andy, for the gift. Good call) and I enjoyed it quite a bit.
Summary: Three soldiers are dragged into a political argument and ordered to investigate a minor dispute in the outreaches of the realm, which leads to more than anyone had bargained for.
Pretty good opening concept, although I never read the backs of the books (it ruins the surprise for me). What interested me more than anything else was the pure grittiness of the world that Joel, whom I'm sure doesn't mind being on a first-name basis from me, captured and dropped into my hands. In a land of magic, legends and dragons, one wouldn't expect there to be hardship in simply travelling or even danger in getting a simple drink.
If life were so simple, there wouldn't be much of a story. So the attention to detail, the dangers of everyday life in a world without constant police presence, was impressive.
The characters are hardened veterans, having fought, bled and watched those they've known fall in battle, or even in a street fight. They're honorable without being fanatical about it, exceptionally practical and utterly dedicated to their lord. Joel captures and keeps the societal differences between our world and theirs, and the consistency of it was well done indeed.
The characters are Pirojil, ugly as can be and never is he portrayed otherwise, Durine, large and dangerous and distant, and Kethol, heroic and not too bright but humble. Despite their weaknesses, they are engaging and make for some plausible interaction. It seems obvious that people who have worked together for a long time would know each other, but Joel makes it a point to note some of their conversational short-cuts, and includes some failings among friends that are understandable.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Rather sad what has happened to this series Nov. 7 1999
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
I truly loved the first three Guardians of the Flame novels, which is why it was so sad reading this book. This new book starts off slow, continues on at a plodding pace until the last 80 pages, and just when it starts to get good, it's all over. The characterization is wonderfull, as always. Joel Rosenberg is a master of that. Unfortunately, the plot has fallen by the wayside. A description of many tiny misadventures that befall the heroes seems to be a substitute for a plot: you hear all about their trip in excruciating detail. You keep waiting for the plot to advance, and it hardly budges until the very end. The first three Guardians of the Flame books were great, but this one has the feel of 'a day in the life of three soldiers loyal to Barony Cullinane' rather than offering a fast paced and interesting plot that initially made this series so enjoyable. I would give it one star, but since the characterization is of the same high quality I expect from Rosenburg, I give it two.
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By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
Once again Mr. Rosenberg has constructed a fantastic story. Ever since reading his first novel some 12 years ago, I have gone to bookstores with the hopes of a newer tale. And on those rare days when a new book lay gleaming on the shelves, I always cloistered myself into a comfortable chair until the cover was closed.
This teaser to another installment of the Guardians series is nothing less than perhaps his finest work to date. As a co-creator and writer of a fantasy gaming system myself, the plot elements, characterizations, and over-all pace is perfection on paper.
As a final credit to Mr. Rosenberg, I would like to thank him personally for carrying on the fine work and tradition of both his and my "mentor", the immortal Robert A. Heinlein. It was almost comical to see your dedication to him in your first novel. There are strong parallels between your writing styles and I'm sure that wherever he is now, he laughs at Walter too. Thanks for your stories and inspiration.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great Addition to a Superb series!!! Jan. 21 1999
Format:Hardcover
Joel Rosenberg returns to my favorite ongoing fantasy world with "Not Exactly the Three Musketeers" It is both a departure and a return for the author. The departure is that the characters that we have read about for seven previous novels are background material in this novel. Previous backround characters are now the focus.
The return is in that the authors incredible flair for heroic fantasy is back. His descriptions of battle and the warriors that fight in it are exemplary. He shows the motivations behind all these "heroes", and that is what truly makes this, and all the Guardians books, wonderfull.
I was a bit disappointed not seeing Ahira, Ricetti or Andrea at all. Walters role, while prevalent was smaller than we have come to expect. None of the lingering questions from previous books were addressed in this novel.
I for one look forward to the next addition to this series. Anyone that wants to chat, comment or speculate with me on the series, please mail to jerric@mediaone.net
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5.0 out of 5 stars WWW: Well Worth the Wait Jan. 15 1999
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
I skipped work to gobble this one upyesterday and then reread it today.
Rosenberg keeps surprising me with the Guardians of the Flame series. The first books were well-done swashbuckling [sp?] fantasy series, with well-above-average characters, the best damn fight scenes in modern fantasy, and a quirky bloodymindedness that kept me wondering if Karl Cullinane could still be alive.
Then the second series, the two Walter Slovotsky books, turned things inside out and made it all close and personal.
Now, with the (eighth?) latest book in the series, Rosenberg seems to be reinventing heroic fantasy with almost casual ease.
No, they're not exactly the three musketeers. If you want a Dumas pastiche, read Steve Brust's Parfi (sp?) books.
This one is something else, as though Rosenberg is trying to reinvent what Dumas and ERBurroughs and Sabatini were getting at in their time.
My only question for "Jayar" (I caught the cameo appearance by Rosenberg in his own book -- very sneaky, Mr. R!) is:
When's the next one?
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A fun read
This book is a fun read. I started reading the guardians of the Flame series a few years ago and have enjoyed them all. Read more
Published on July 27 2002 by Rondall Reynoso
1.0 out of 5 stars Half-hearted at best
I keep hoping the Guardians of the Flame series will improve, but after the first two, it was all down hill. The author has a habit of reusing favorite phrases and descriptions. Read more
Published on Sept. 20 2001
4.0 out of 5 stars good book...
I didn't exactly ROFLOL, but there are funny places in the book that at least made me chuckle, and all the rest of the literary requirements (plot, characterization, not... Read more
Published on Aug. 26 2000
4.0 out of 5 stars Not Exactly the Three Musketeers
Another Great book for the Gaurdian of the Flame series. I was a little disipointed it didn't continue with Jason. Read more
Published on Aug. 10 2000 by "tobiwright"
3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad, but not great
I didn't realize when I bought this book that it was part of an ongoing series. I was disappointed because the author didn't really seem to make any effort to bring the reader in... Read more
Published on March 24 2000 by Molly Knudsen
5.0 out of 5 stars A Terrific Companion to the "Guardians of the Flame" Series
I really enjoyed this book.This is more of a companion story with less about our first group of heroes than to the previous 6 books in the series . Read more
Published on March 20 2000 by Allan Bradley
2.0 out of 5 stars Decently written, but grey in nature
The writing style and content are not particularly brilliant, but were captivating enough to keep me turning pages against my better judgment. Read more
Published on March 13 2000
4.0 out of 5 stars Please stop the madness.
I have read ALL of the previous Guardian Novels and can say this one follows nicely... To Hnutt001@aol. Read more
Published on March 10 2000 by denwagh
5.0 out of 5 stars Dumas should have had it so good
I'm not sure I buy the notion that Rosenberg's three heroes are intended to reprise Dumas' -- Durine and Pirojil could maybe both lay claim to being Porthos, while Kethol is much... Read more
Published on Feb. 24 2000 by Oscar Bartles
3.0 out of 5 stars Sorry, Joel...
Not a bad read in a generic-Glen-Cookish manner.
Not the best that i've read from Joel Rosenberg, but it served to fill the time. Read more
Published on Feb. 13 2000 by Fairportfan
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