This is the perfect story. It’s a foundation to the storytelling we know, crafting it so well that most stories of our era still don’t come close.
Our tale begins in the classic sense; the young boy comes to town (in this case, Paris) to win fame, fortune and position. He’s young, he’s brash, and he’s mounted on a remarkable yellow nag. And he’s already encountered a dark stranger on the road (that sinister Man from Meung) who buffeted him, abused him, broke his father’s sword and stole his letter of introduction. And that sinister agent was in the company of a beautiful woman, an angel of blonde, who will factor in so greatly across this tale…
Immediately in Paris, he’ll toss out three duel challenges, one to each of the famed “three musketeers”, brothers-in-arms, famous for their spirit (his schedule is tight – he’s allowing an hour or two between each duel). And just as the three realize this popinjay had boldly challenged them all, the Cardinal’s Guards show up, young d’Artagnan joins the fray, victory is theirs, and now they are “four”. It is this union that will shake the chessboard of Europe over the coming months.
The perfect story.
I’ve read it twice before; here I learned how great a role translation plays. One version was pretty good. Another was dry as dust. But this one, newly printed under the “Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition” banner, was perfect, smooth as Anjou wine (without Milady’s tampering, of course). I picked up up after a long conversation with the owner of Slightly Foxed, a bookstore we visited in London (LINK). Sure glad I did.
So this is the book. This is the one you should purchase and set aside time for. And not on a reader, mind. This big book should rest in your hands, heavy and thick, a reminder of the weight of issues being played out between its covers, of the four friends racing across France to recover the missing diamond tags, of Milady’s slow corruption of Felton, of the manipulations of the Cardinal and the famous breakfast in La Rochelle. It is a book that should be read as a book, not an app.
As a side note, this is the start of a little literary tour I’m on. You might wish to follow my path on this one…