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The Four Musketeers: The True Story of D'Artagnan, Porthos, Aramis & Athos [Paperback]

Kari Maund , Phil Nanson
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

Aug. 1 2005
The Three Musketeers, first published in 1844, is an abiding classic. It has been translated into many languages, repeatedly filmed, and its heroes—D’Artagnan, Porthos, Aramis, and Athos—have become literary archetypes. Yet, outside France, few people are aware that all four are based on historical figures, members of the elite Black Musketeer regiment during the 1640s. The Four Musketeers gives an account of the historical background of the real four musketeers, who came to Paris in the 1640s and thus witnessed some of the most dramatic moments of 17th-century France: the last years of Louis XIII and the struggle for control over him between the scandalous royal favorite, Cinq-Mars and the dying Cardinal Richelieu; and the rise to power of Cardinal Mazarin.

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About the Author

Kari Maund is a professional historian and writer, her other books include The Welsh Kings also published by Tempus. Phil Nanson is an amateur military historian who trained as a blacksmith and armourer. They both live in Cambridge.

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4.0 out of 5 stars Superb research. Nov. 21 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If you want to know what the musketeers were really like, this is your book. But don't expect the Dumas characters from the movies. This is for real history fans. Loved it.
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Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars All for One and One for All July 2 2006
By Gary McCollim - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book traces the life of D'Artagnan and the Three Musketeers. The first chapter relates the true story of Charles de Batz-Castelmore, sieur d'Artagnan who served as a musketeer from the 1630s until his death in June 1673. It talks about where he was raised in Gascony and how so many members of the king's musketeers came from Gascony because the leader of the musketeers was, in fact, M. de Treville, or more accurately Troisvilles, a Gascon himself, just like in the novel. Charles serves as a loyal supporter of the crown, supporting Troisvilles until he was able to transfer his loyalty to Cardinal Mazarin in the 1640s. From Mazarin, Charles learns to support the king, Louis XIV. He serves the Sun King by arresting the finance minister Nicolas Foucquet and guarding him during his two-and-a-half year trial before transporting to his imprisonment in Pignerol. Charles serves the king as a soldier, chief lieutenant of his musketeers until his death during the siege of Maastricht in 1673. The whole story is here in English rather than French as most of his biographies have been.

The next chapter relays what we know from historical evidence about Athos, Porthos, and Aramis. It turns out we know very little about Armand de Sillegue d'Athos d'Autevielle who died mysteriously in 1642 at the age of 20 or so. The authors speculate that he may have died in a duel or from a criminal assault in a highly dangerous Paris. Isaac de Porthau came from a wealthy family and returned to his family's home. Henri d'Aramitz came from a family that could trace its nobility back several centuries. He too served and returned to his family's estates.

The next chapter discusses the history of the musketeers as a miltary organization from its inception until its dissolution.

Another chapter relates the life of Gatien Courtilz de Sandras, the writer who wrote the so-called memoirs of D'Artagnan 27 years after the latter's death. He included the names Athos, Porthos, and Aramis as well as a mention of an Englishwoman he called Miledi in these phony memoirs. Perhaps, Sandras picked up these names from his conversations with two former companions of D'Artagnan's, Besmaux and Saint-Mars. The latter two were governors of the Bastille where Sandras was imprisoned during 1693-99.

Alexandre Dumas' life is also related in a subsequent chapter along with a discussion of how he used researchers and collaborators to help draw up his story. Dumas used the memoirs of D'Artagnan among other documents and memoirs to put together the tales in the novel. It turns out most of the story is true in the sense that the events happened to someone, just not D'Artagnan or his friends.

The book closes with a survey of sequels by other authors as well as plays and movies that continue the legend of the musketeers. The book also has black-and-white and color photos of places, paintings, engravings, and items relevant to the text. It is is highly readable but the authors could have taken some care proofreading the text, particularly dates in the life of D'Artagnan, i.e, 1566 instead of 1656, ninety years makes a difference.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Serving the King Oct. 2 2006
By Frank J. Konopka - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I never knew that the main characters in "The Three Musketeers" were based upon actual people. The authors have spent quite a bit of time and trouble "digging up" information on the four men from the novel. D'Artagnan appears to have been the easiest, since he held a position of some importance in the Musketeers, but the other three were merely names on paper, transformed by Dumas into living and breathing characters. The authors go through the biographies of the four men, and then we get a history of the Musketeers, a life of Dumas, and a recapitulation of the various apearances of the Musketeers in subsequent literature, comics, cartoons and movies. It's an extremely interesting book, and tells the general reader something that he or she has probably not known before reading it.
5.0 out of 5 stars My grandson April 7 2014
By Theresa King - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
My grandson is 10 and he hates to read unless it's about cars or wrestling. I had him watch The Man in the Iron Mask, he loved it. He even had me buy the book by alexander Dumas, he has read three books about them and even though he has to have me help him with names, places and such, he is actually reading and liking it!!!!!!!. His favorite Musketeer is Pathos because he has all the girls and the most fun, ah the mind of a ten year old boy lol.
2 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars long winded May 31 2007
By Alex Lototzky - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I am a history and historical fiction buff and I was dissapointed with this book. It was slow moving and I did not finish it which is rare for me.
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