It is one of the most strangely structured novels I've ever read. We essentially follow D'Artagnan, with occasional side-stories or sub-plots involving the Musketeers, for approximately three-fourths of the novel. Then Milady hijacks the remainder of the novel, relegating our hero(es) to the status of secondary character(s).
If you consider the novel to be separate from the romance, the epic, etc., essentially a new form invented in the 18th century, then Dumas is the earliest major writer of adventure novels in French. (Scott in England/Scotland and Cooper in America are earlier, of course. I have yet to read anything by either. I may not, since they are reputed to be dull.) Anyway, the "rules" weren't set yet. Perhaps it did not seem odd to Dumas to shift central characters in the climactic section of a somewhat lengthy novel. I'm not really enough of a literary scholar to know.
In the 1970s, I saw the Richard Lester two-film adaptation. I haven't seen it since, and I think it is likely that it does not hold up. However, I had the interesting experience of finding a novel to have less emotional impact than a movie. This hardly ever happens to me. In this film, Raquel Welch plays Constance as feisty, clumsy, and endearing. Actually, it is the only role of Raquel Welch that I actually can recall, and it is probably her best role ever. Anyway, her character is so lovable and endearing in the film that I was genuinely horrified and shocked when Milady (Faye Dunaway) murdered her. Constance is nowhere near as fully characterized by Dumas, so her death had little impact.
Anyway, I enjoyed it, probably more than The Black Tulip, the only other Dumas I've read. (Although I will certainly grant TBT the award for originality. There are still relatively few adventure novels about gardening competitions.) I guess I should try The Count of Monte Cristo some day.
: I finished the other day. Over all, I enjoyed
: the book. A hundred or two pages in the
: middle were slow going, but the rest was
: It was not as good as The Count of Monte
: Cristo but it was far better than The Man in
: the Iron Mask. I think perhaps I enjoyed The
: Black Tulip more.
: Of the six novels we read this year, I
: suppose I would rank this one fourth. I more
: or less enjoyed four of them and more or
: less didn't enjoy the other two.
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