I finished it! It took me longer to complete this book than it did War and Peace! I should reconsider my obsessive compulsion toward unabridged literature and my inability to accept a blemish on my record of consecutive completed reads. This book just dragged on and on and on and on and…
As the third installment of the d’Artagnan Romances, this book serves as a transition from the notorious three musketeers and their Gascon friend to the lives of other French and English characters – youth usurping inevitable age and power subverting nobility. We get a mere glimpse of Porthos and Aramis, a small portion more of Athos in order to indulge his iron-clad honor and still only a bit more of d’Artagnan who reaches the age of retirement and moves his focus from reckless gallivanting and adventure for material comforts which compromise his character. Our friends simply serve to contrast the new kids on the block, to show the reader a transitioning world through politics and the integrity of a culture.
I did not find the story bad. I found the tedious nature of its telling nearly unbearable. As a serialized story bound together in, not one, but three novels, I have to scold the publishing world for trapping a novel-readers mind, habits and expectations in a story with no arc. It just keeps going! The novel form does not fully captivate this story. Would one staple all the scripts in one TV show season together and release it as a novel? It felt like sitting on a bench watching the people walk by. At first, you absorb yourself in the drama between the first passing couple. But then you try and care about the grimy homeless guy who followed while still thinking about the drama between the couple. Then the studious girl after him just frustrates you and you want to go home.
I liked the story. I found its telling nearly unbearable. I will wait a while before starting Louise de La Valliere which I will eventually read only because of my obsessive compulsion to finish the series and my general inability to leave a literary investment unsatisfied.