The Club Dumas
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The Club Dumas

3.8 of 5 stars 3.80  ·  rating details  ·  19,917 ratings  ·  1,139 reviews
A provocative literary thriller that playfully pays tribute to classic tales of mystery and adventure

Lucas Corso is a book detective, a middle-aged mercenary hired to hunt down rare editions for wealthy and unscrupulous clients. When a well-known bibliophile is found dead, leaving behind part of the original manuscript of Alexandre Dumas's The Three Musketeers, Corso is br...more
Paperback, 362 pages
Published May 1st 2006 by Mariner Books (first published September 30th 1992)
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“The Club Dumas” presents a rich feast for fans of literate mysteries and of old books with yellow-dry pages, redolent of spice and nutmeg. In a style that reminds me of Umberto Eco, Pérez-Reverte leads us through a labyrinth of books, clues, and characters that can be simplified by stating that the story is a tale of two books: "The Three Musketeers;" and “The Book of the Nine Doors in Kingdom of Shadows,” which may reveal incantations that summon Satan.

The “hero,” Lucas Corso, is a book detec...more
6.0 stars. Another book on my list of "All Time Favorite" novels. This is a book that I started reading with very high expectations and, lo and behold, those expectations were actually met if not exceeded. This book had so many aspects to it that were right in my wheelhouse. First, it is set in the world of rare book collectors with endless references to rare editions to excite the book nerd in us all. Second, there are two related subplots involving (i) an original manuscript of The Three Muske...more
mark monday
the protagonist Corso is a lot of fun. a shady, efficient, highly intelligent, deeply contemptuous, globe-trotting purveyor of literature from antiquity - the gumshoe transformed into book detective. he is perhaps the most enjoyable part of the novel and it is a pleasure (although a familiar one) to be seeing events through his eyes. in a way, he saves The Club Dumas from being completely forgettable.

the narrative is shaped as a fast-paced mystery, perhaps along the lines of The DaVinci Code (a...more
After reading Jeri's review, I don't really have a lot to add.

I thought the premise was interesting, but the climax was disappointing, the characters were one-dimensional (this might have been purposeful, as he was trying to draw parallels to Dumas' book, but didn't really work for me), and the was protagonist off-putting. I wasn't bothered by the details about bookbinding and famous books as much; those, in my opinion, were more interesting than the plot itself.

I think one of the problems wit...more
This book is a confidence trick. I mean that in the most complimentary way possible however; Perez-Reverte takes a perverse delight in not just yanking the rug out from under you but practically rebuilding the house around you while you are reading, without you noticing until it is almost too late!

Put simply, this is a Quest novel. The protagonist (Corso) takes the Hero's Journey and all the archetypes are present and correct - indeed, one of them may be more of an archetype than even Corso (or...more
Oct 13, 2007 Josh rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: lowbrow readers in highbrow disguises
I normally wouldn’t pick up something like this, but it was given to me as a gift, so I cracked it. It took me until about half-way through before I realized that it was the basis for the Johnny Depp/Roman Polanski flop “The Ninth Gate.” (Which I've yet to see).

The Club Dumas was probably only the second detective novel I’ve read in the past five years, the other being Jonathan Lethem’s Motherless Brooklyn. While the novels have very little in common, I couldn’t help but notice the formulaic sim...more
Paquita Maria Sanchez
WAAAAAAAAY up its own ass.
Feb 01, 2014 Cherie rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Cherie by: Judy
Shelves: pilaster-pile
I would like to say that I liked this book more than I did, but I did not. There were parts of the story that I thought were very interesting, like the information about Alexander Dumas, his books, and how he wrote them, if it were all true. I do not know. I will do the research and find out, though. There were several book titles that were mentioned that I looked up, and added to my to-be-read-list. The book collectors and the practice of hiring guys to find, purchase or steal books for them fo...more
May 31, 2007 Kelly rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: bibliophiles, fans of the swashbuckling adventure, Dumas fans (obviously)
This book is an homage to the swashbuckling adventure story, particularly the Three Musketeers like stories of Alexandre Dumas, pere. But I recommend it to anyone with a deep love for books (... which I would assume would be anyone who has taken the time to join this site in the first place...). I think that you'll recognize yourself in some of the characters, even in their most ridiculous adventures. I found myself variously giggling aloud, gasping in shock, and turning pages faster and faster...more
Mar 07, 2012 Sue rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Complex mystery lovers
Nothing like a mystery involving books, the rare book trade, bibliophiles involved in various unscrupulous and barely legal dealings, and then, of course, murder. This book has many parts and once it gets going it becomes an addictive read. Enjoy. I call it a cerebral mystery as there is quite a plot to follow. If following the works of Dumas and tracing the back story on some 17th century occult texts sounds interesting (and believe me it is), give this a try.
This was a very odd book unlike anything I've ever read. Fortunately, it was a very intriguing odd book, but also a book that required a vast literary background to really understand. Every other word seemed to be an allusion to some famous classic. Besides the fact that you MUST have read The 3 Musketeers before this book, other recommended titles include: The Count of Monte Cristo, Twenty Years After, Paradise Lost, Dante's Inferno, Mutiny on the Bounty, Notre Dame de Paris, Cyrano de Bergerac...more
I actually read The Club Dumas because I was frustrated with the ending of The Ninth Gate. Roman Polanski made his film like a noir mystery, but never really provided the explanation at the end that you expect from this kind of movie. Grrrr
I’m glad though that it made me check out this book. I so rarely read contemporary, I would have missed this.

The Club Dumas is much different. Unlike the movie there are two books and two stories that run parallel to each other. I love how Arturo pulls you in...more
Oct 21, 2011 Emily rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: nobody
Shelves: book-club
There were some deliciously clever turns of phrase, but they did not make this book worth the read. As other reviewers have said, the characters were flat and the plot is a bit too intentionally clever (without actually being so) to hold my interest. The book did get easier to read as time went on, but when all was said and done, it was just a more high brow version of a bad Dan Brown novel. The best parts of the book happened when characters meta-talked about readers, authors, and their respons...more
A decent thriller built around a well developed Literary Detective - hard edged, cynical, gin swilling Lucas Corso. Arturo Perez Reverte joins with his debut novel a club of writers for book lovers who built their stories around rare books, dusty libraries, obscure texts or frequent references to popular novels. I'm talking about Umberto Eco, who gets a nod in the Club Dumas and may have inspired the author, and of the likes of Jasper Fforde and Carlos Ruiz Zafon. I've considered and discarded D...more
I realized as I got 1/4 into this book that I've read it before. It's sort of a confusing tale - I was pretty sure I had read this years ago when I read The Flanders Panel and The Seville Communion. The book I thought it was started with a man in the library of a home that is burning down, but the summary on the back cover wasn't ringing any bells, so I thought that maybe I was wrong about reading it before. I was right that I'd read it before, but it wasn't the book with the man in the fire.

Grace Tjan
"...when it comes to books, conventional morality doesn't exist."

The Club Dumas is ostensibly a mystery, but the real mystery here is the depth of our obsession with books, not just for what is contained therein, but also for their physical selves: the luxurious vellum or shagreen bindings, the fading gilt letters on their spines, the linen papers that would stay fresh for three hundred years, the rare first editions and complete serials that cost a small fortune. And what is written inside can...more
A mystery centred around the exploits of a rare book finder, the rabbit-toothed Lucas Corso, seeking to unearth the two missing copies of the sinister and devil-shrouded Book of the Nine Doors of the Kingdom of Shadows—a late-renaissance tome condemned by the church that is being sought by the perfectly-named villain Boris Balkan—should be a plot that appeals to any book-lover. However, Pérez-Reverte's playful tribute to the great Dumas, with an appropriate wink cast towards the under-appreciate...more
What a fun, weird book. Very smart. NO, clever. Definately will appeal to Dumas enthusiasts. Anyone who seriously loves literature and book collecting will be vastly entertained. I guess it's sort of an international mystery kind of story. The action (despite it's heavy intellectual bent it's got rather a lot of action) takes place all over Europe. There are swanky flats in Paris, cool but creepy castles and beautiful young girls who seem/are hundreds of years old but I won't tell you more abou...more
Aditya Hadi
What an amazing books !!

If you really like books, you must like this book. Arturo Perez-Reverte brought us to a story where a novel plots become real.

Corso is a book dealer who will do any job regarding books. His friends, La Porte, brought him a manuscript of a chapter of The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas. Its previous owner was hung himself to death. La Porte than ask Corso to check the manuscript's authenticity. Not a long time after that, a rich book maniac gave him an extraordinary j...more
Perché leggere Zafòn quando si può leggere Pérez-Reverte?

La vita è retta dal caso e ben poco viene a collimare, ma quando troviamo lo stesso schema in letteratura ci sentiamo presi un po’ in giro.

Lucas Corso è un mercenario bibliofilo senza scrupoli: compra e vende con metodi poco ortodossi, indaga sulla storia dei libri, giudica vecchi incunaboli, si prostituisce al migliore offerente eseguendo per lui il lavoro sporco, e non esitando ad affidare ad altri quello ancora più sporco.
Corso è privo...more
This book was as fantastic as I expected it to be. I recently read all three of Dumas's books about the musketeers: The Three Musketeers, Twenty Years After and The Vicomte de Bragelonne. While this is not necessary to fully appreciate The Club Dumas, I was glad I had the background. Knowledge of the story of The Three Musketeers would certainly enhance your reading experience. At any rate, this book is a book nerd's dream. I was ecstatic that within a couple chapters both The Vicomte de Bragel...more
Will Byrnes
Corso is an unscrupulous dealer in and acquirer of rare books. When a famous collector is found dead, he is called in to authenticate what is supposedly an original manuscript chapter of the Three Musketeers. He is subsequently engaged to find the remaining known copies of mysterious book that may have the power to summon Satan himself. The flap copy portrays this as in intellectual thriller and it is indeed that. It would help to be familiar with the work of Dumas, but still fun even in the abs...more
I saw "Ninth Gate" in the theater in Denton, TX. At the end, a redneck stood up and said, "That's bullshit." I agreed and was disappointed in the quick wrap-up.
The book, however, shows another storyline that was completely ignored by the movie. The ending was good and not bullshit.
I love charts in novels and this one has them. It also has the engravings from the book that the novel is based on.

I hope to find a novel based on Event Horizon.
Other good novels with a movie brother: Jaws, The Postman...more
I just can't get enough of books about books! I actually discovered this book via the Johnny Depp movie The Ninth Gate. The movie changes much of the book's plot, as most film adaptations of novels do. The novel is fuller, with A and B plot strands which interweave throughout; The Anjou Wine vs. The Nine Doors. I really enjoyed this book. I found it to be a nice mix of Chandler-esque hard-boiled detective fiction with a dash of comedy, an ounce of historical Da Vinci Code like intrigue, with a h...more
I adored this book--beautifully written, and a veritable buffet for book lovers--it's twisty and wonderfully strange--the constant literary references were a true delight. I loved the film "The Ninth Gate", regardless of critics reviews and Polanski's commentary on the film made me want to read this even more. Even though it is quite different than the film I loved the differences. I was crazy for the fleshed out version of "the girl" a.k.a. Irene Adler. I was fascinated by the twists and turns...more
The movie The Ninth Gate (yay johnny depp) was based on this novel. It's the second (and a half) i've read by this author. I really liked his second book, The Fencing Master, but found it a little cold; the characters and plot were interesting but you felt a little removed from them (I started another of his more recent books but couldn't get through it). This book is fun to read (and it's a really really good translation, very fluid, as though it were done by someone who actually speaks English...more
Nov 12, 2007 Andres rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Yes
Well, this one is a good one. For those who like puzzles this book is a great option. It runs through three lines: Corso, the main character is hired to do some research about an ancient book, of which every copy was burned in Italy in the 16th century, due to charges of witchcraft and satanism. On the other side, it runs along some of the hand written texts the Dumas novel The Three Musketeers and the Count of Montecristo. It also has as an intertext the topic of the Devil in love.

A book about people for whom books are a matter of life (and death). Doesn't that sound like a romantic adventure already?

Highly recommended.
I like the world this book is set it, old Europe, cut-throat antiquarian booksellers,private libraries and the ruins of Cathar France. I also like the character of Curso.
As for the writing, Perez-Reverte is competent writer but not exceptional and falls into cliches now and then.
Polanski's adaptation, The Ninth Gate, takes out the Dumas/ Three Musketeers half of the novel and focuses on the occult (Johnny Depp before Disney turned him into a painted buffoon).
Andrea Petrullo
This was a great summer read. The style reminded me of Umberto Eco, though the plot was very fast-paced. The Club Dumas is a mystery whose protagonist is a book detective of sorts, so it was right up my alley. It helped a little that I've read The Three Musketeers, though it wasn't nessesary to understand the plot. I think the best thing about it was that even though it was a fast read, it was beautifuly written and made me feel like I was learning something.
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  • Ex-Libris
  • The Last Cato
  • Booked To Die (Cliff Janeway, #1)
  • The Library of Shadows
  • The Haunted Bookshop
  • The Raphael Affair (Jonathan Argyll, #1)
  • El hereje
  • Los pazos de Ulloa
  • The Book of Air and Shadows
  • The Unburied
  • The Last Dickens
  • Los ríos profundos
  • El cuarto de atrás
  • Una comedia ligera
  • Solitude
  • Among the Gently Mad: Strategies and Perspectives for the Book-Hunter in the 21st Century
  • Memoirs of a Peasant Boy
  • The Christmas Oratorio
Spanish novelist and journalist. He worked as war reporter for twenty-one years (1973 - 1994). He started his journalistic career writing for the now-defunct newspaper Pueblo.

More about Arturo Pérez-Reverte...
The Flanders Panel Captain Alatriste (Adventures of Captain Alatriste #1) Queen of the South The Fencing Master The Seville Communion

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“One is never alone with a book nearby, don't you agree? Every page reminds us of a day that has passed and makes us relive the emotions that filled it. Happy hours underlined in red pencil, dark ones in black...” 31 likes
“Because God and the devil could be one and the same thing, and everybody understood it in his own way.” 16 likes
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