Ensiform's Reviews > Louise de La Vallière

Louise de La Vallière by Alexandre Dumas
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Dec 06, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: french, fiction, historical
Read in January, 1998

The Oxford World's Classics Edition, edited, introduced, annotated, etc., by David Coward. The fourth installment of the Three Musketeers saga does not really feature those heroes. Athos is all but unmentioned; Porthos and Aramis play important roles but briefly, and d'Artagnan is seen sporadically. The story, or stories intertwined, center mainly around the loves and intrigues of the court of Louis XIV. For 670 pages (!) Dumas subtly outlines the devious schemes and romances that occur in the Sun King's realm.

At first I was impatient with this (comparing it with the original's swashbuckling adventures), but then grew to admire the delicate skill of his plotting, the complicated way in which the psychologies of Madame, the king, and the courtiers are demonstrated and brought into play. There is less action here than in the others, although two duels are excitingly and dramatically described. There is also the humor and wit that marks the whole series. (There are, too, the odd lapses of Dumas', possibly stemming from the book's original serialization, the most grievous of which is the appearance of a character twice said to be dead.) Perhaps the highest praise I can give this excellent, entertaining and even noble epic is that I shall not miss its final part.
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