d‘Artagnan puts it best-
“Ah, my friends, it is not civil wars which disunite us; it is that we are all twenty years older. The loyal outbursts of youth have gone, and given place to the din of interests, the breath of ambition, and the counsels of egotism.”
It”s been twenty years since the events of The Three Musketeers and time has not suited the famous friends. d’Artagnan is still a lieutenant in the musketeers. Porthos has gained a country estate but not the respect his neighbors. Aramis has taken the cloth and pines for his adventurous youth. And Athos, he has become a simple country man. For all their efforts to the benefit of the Queen, the diamond pendants, the deflection of Richilieu and the defeat of Milady, they have received nothing. All their efforts have been forgotten and they stand unrewarded.
Now, civil war is stirring in Paris, the Queen (older yet not wiser) is listening to her lover, the new Cardinal, and imprisoning her nobles. The streets roil. And thus the four friends find themselves divided, d’Artangnan and Porthos in service to the crown, Athos and Aramis backing the nobles. They will cross swords over this, plot and scheme and lie against each other. It is a sad tale of what happens to all of us, long after our glory days, when we’ve grown apart from our friends.
I really enjoyed this (even though it’s a long book, just shy of 800 pages). It reads well, it has battles and turn-abouts and derring do. And it has one of those literary moments that I will always remember (the “curious” events aboard the felucca Lightning). And it works out neatly, with happiness and sorrow dispensed, with the four united (before they part) and the villains tossed.
I never thought I’d feel sorry for Comte de Rochefort, but there you go.
Colorful, wonderful, and truthful, a book for anyone who witnesses the changes of time on friendship.