Daniel's Reviews > The Man in the Iron Mask

The Man in the Iron Mask by Alexandre Dumas
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Aug 24, 2011

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Read from September 03 to 15, 2011

** spoiler alert ** I love Alexandre Dumas, and after reading The Three Musketeers and The Count of Monte Cristo, I thought I would read this, for no other reason except that it was by Dumas. I didn't even know that it was a sequel to The Three Musketeers, but I found out as soon as I started reading it. I was pleasantly surprised, because I thought The Three Musketeers was great, and I was looking forward to more swashbuckling adventures. I couldn't be more wrong. This book is nothing at all like The Three Musketeers. It was the saddest book I have ever read.

Fist of all, the book doesn't really have to do anything with the man in the iron mask, he is barely a character. The whole book is just about how the musketeers are getting old, all their luck has run out, and they die.

The book started out great, with Aramis running his plan flawlessly and replacing the king with his twin brother, Phillipe. I was pleased with this because justice had been done and Phillipe had been freed from his life of imprisonment. What I expected next was Phillipe helping Aramis becoming pope, and together they would rule Europe, according to Aramis' plan. I thought that would be pretty interesting. But out of nowhere, Aramis decides to tell M. Fouqet that he has kidnapped the king, Fouquet thinks it is terrible, and the whole plan backfires. This really bothers me because Aramis is a genius, and the stupidest thing to do when you kidnap a monarch is to go tell people. Aramis is a lot smarter than this. From this point on the book just gets more and more depressing. The rest of the book is just filled with disasters that are never set right:

Aramis and Porthos are ruined,
Raoul's life is ruined and he goes to Africa to kill himself,
Because Raoul goes to Africa Athos' life is ruined,
Fouquet's life is ruined,
D'Artagnan can't save his friends on Belle-Isle,
The supposedly impregnable Belle-Isle falls,
Aramis and Porthos' escape is thwarted,
Porthos has to kill Biscarrat,
Porthos dies, (one of the worst parts of the book)
Mousqueton dies from grief,
Athos gets old because he no longer has Raoul with him,
Raoul dies,
Athos dies, (probably the saddest part)
D'Artagan dies,
And after all that there is no resolution, Phillipe(the man in the iron mask) is even worse off than he was in the beginning.

Overall, it was incredibly depressing because I had to watch the musketeers, my heroes, suffer and die. And to add insult to injury, all the people that are making their lives terrible and killing them get away with it. Of course, it was far more realistic than The Three Musketeers, but that's not what I wanted. I still have to give the book three stars though, because it was still a fantastic piece of literature, and it was beautifully written. I came very close to crying when Athos died, and I have never cried when reading a book, so you know it has to be moving. In a way I wish I had never even read the book, because it was painful to see these heroes, characters that I felt connected to and admired, go through so much grief. We all knew that eventually the musketeers would get old and die, but maybe it wasn't necessary to tell us all about it. Some things are best left unspoken.
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09/08/2011 page 136
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