The Club Dumas, by Arturo Perez-Reverte, is the second of my 3M reviews. Last week, if you’ll remember, we looked at the original, The Three Musketeers. Now we look at this author’s amazing spin on it.
I remember watching The Maltese Falcon and being shocked (and delighted) at what a cad Sam Spade (a.k.a Humphrey Bogart) was (including having the sign painter scrape his partner’s name off their practice’s door before his body was even cold). But Lucas Corso goes above and beyond. He’s a ratty book-obtainer, some one you might employ if you wanted a hard-to-get copy of a book like THESE. He knows literature, knows book-making, knows all the sharks in the literary world. He practices his facial expressions so he looks like a friendly rabbit, but when he drops the act, he’s more a mangy yet dangerous wolf. He’ll appraise your most valuable book while casting an eye at your security arrangements. He’s a gin-swilling bastard.
And he’s got a job. A recently dead book-fetisher had a previously unknown original handwritten draft of the Anjou Wine chapter of The Three Musketeers. His assignment is to determine if it’s legit. But then he also gets a second assignment, to take one of the three surviving copies of The Nine Doors, a book on Satan, and determine if it’s true as well. And so he does, moving across Western Europe, visiting the other copies and comparing them. In this, he discovers some curious…. differences.
Somehow these two stories begin to blend, as one plays off the other. There is also elements of the supernatural and the fantastic (in that Milady and Rochefort, agents of the dreaded Cardinal, appear to be alive and in pursuit).
No, you don’t need to be familiar with the original story of the 3M, anymore than you need to eat a desert cake off a plate. But why wouldn’t you – the 3M is a great masterpiece and worth the read (as reported last week). And this story dovetails nicely from it. Trust me – it’s worth it alone for the surprising critique of the actual musketeers, harshly delivered off the edge of an angry women’s teeth. Like Wicked, it’s another way to reexamine your assumptions.
I loved this thing, simply loved it. And if you read the classics like I do, the literary references alone will bring a smile to your face. Get it. Read it. Savor it.
Next week, a surprise – the first of my stand-in reviews, this one from my dear old Da. Have a look at someone’s opinion other than my own. And if YOU’D like to review a book (favorite or otherwise), drop me three or four paragraphs about it and I’ll pop it up and give you credit. Go on – don’t you want to share? That’s one of the best parts of reading…