The Vicomte de Bragelonne
D'Artagnan is disgusted with Louis, largely because Louis considers himself unable to help Charles regain the throne of England. Naturally, since Louis can't help, D'Artagnan decides that he will get back the throne for Charles all by himself. Athos, it appears, has similar plans, and the two of them acting independently of each other, and somewhat at odds, manage to accomplish the task.
D'Artagnan then gets re-enlisted into Louis service, where his is finally made the head of the Musketeers.
The Vicomte De Bragelonne
He is also given considerable license to act on his own, and is made into a spy for Louis, who needs information about certain nobles who are threats to his power base. While spying, he encounters his friends Porthos and Aramis, who are working somewhat at odds with him especially Aramis, who always seems to be a bit of a snake.
There is a race back to Paris with the news of what D'Artagnan has learned, and a certain amiable tension has been established between D'Artagnan and Aramis. This is an extraordinary amount of good stuff in what amounts to the first act of a very, very long book. I'm halfway through volume two right now, and it is considerably different that what has come before, but just as fun. These D'Artagnan books are just wonderful, about as good as this sort of light historical romance can get. Nov 30, Jerome Berglund rated it it was amazing.
This volume is something of a mixed bag. In this first part of the four volume translation of the final book of Dumas' musketeer saga, we are not only introduced to a host of new characters, but also encounter a lot of different themes and plot-threads, some of which intersted me more than others which accounts for the less than stellar, but still satisfied rating. Predictably I was the most fond of d'Artagnan and Athos' trip to England, as the respective chapters read very much like they coul This volume is something of a mixed bag.
Predictably I was the most fond of d'Artagnan and Athos' trip to England, as the respective chapters read very much like they could have been taken from the earlier novels. It also made a point of distinguishing between kings and royalty and the importance of loyalty to the principle rather than the people, a theme that carries over from Raoul's plot in the last book, and will no doubt also feature prominently in the following volumes, considering how the last volume ends.
One of the most prominent themes introduced in this volume is the change of the guard: d'Artagnan resigns his comission disappointed with how faint-hearted, how little adventurous he finds the new king, and how little he feels his particular talents are valued by this new generation.
At the same time Mazarin, the antagonist for most of the last book, passes away, his replacement even more of a grey character, and far less of an opponent than either of his predecessors. Raoul meanwhile is set to replace his father and his friends in a more direct way, yet even he appears distinctly more sober and delicate than our former heroes.
What I really found curious is how Colbert is often associated with negative images like "black wings" when it is pretty obvious throughout that from a choice of Colbert or Fouquet, Colbert is the better man. Fouguet might aspire to the ideals of honour of old, he might claim extreme loyalty towards his friends, but his gentlemanly honour and grand lifestyle certainly don't stop him from embezzling and conspiring against his king to safeguard his own fortune. Meanwhile Colbert might be extremely strict and severe in executing his duties, but at least he's not corrupt.