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The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas

I tried reading The Three Musketeers some years ago, and didn't get very far. I don't know if I just wasn't old enough, or didn't have the patience, or what. I told melusine that it wasn't as good the last time I tried to read it as it was this time, and she said, no, it was good that time too, I just didn't see it. That's probably true.

This time, however, I nearly couldn't put it down. Well, I could, because computers and televisions distract me from books very quickly. But I tend to read a chapter of something in the morning before I get up if I have time. When reading this, I always ended up reading two or three chapters before I finally had to rouse myself or die of starvation.

It's fast-moving, has characters you come to know and love quickly, court drama, political intrigue, good, evil, swordfighting, etc. What more could you want? Actually, I have to back down from that a tad, because I couldn't help comparing it to The Count of Monte Cristo, which I read some years ago--couldn't put that down, either. I truly enjoyed Musketeers, but I think I have to give the edge to Count, because it has many of the same qualities, but a bit more depth. Musketeers is a good read, but really has no deeper message outside of the value of loyalty to ones comrades. Count is a good read, but also focuses around questions of revenge, and whether it is valuable or not. D'Artagnan and company never wonder whether it is worth it to be loyal to each other. It's simply a given, as it perhaps should be. Edmund Dantes, on the other hand, waffles on his revenge, possibly partly out of fear and reticence (it's been a while since I read it), but more because the question comes up of whether revenge is even a proper thing to pursue.

But I don't wish to denigrate Musketeers. I am not, and hope I shall not ever be, a message-monger. I do not believe that a book necessarily has to have a definite message in order to be valuable. Therefore, Musketeers gains my highest recommendation.