The Man in the Iron Mask Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
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Thirty years after their first adventures in The Three Musketeers, we find Athos, Porthos, Aramis, and D'Artagnan in very different situations. Athos has settled down at his own estate. Porthos married a rich widow, and is now a Baron. Aramis joined a monastery, and is now the Bishop of Vannes. D'Artagnan alone remains a Musketeer for the king, and is now captain of the very force he so longed to join all those years ago.
In The Man in the Iron Mask, Dumas develops his Musketeers into probing, multifaceted characters. Each now has a wealth of experience behind each of his actions. This is no simple adventure tale: It is political intrigue at its finest.
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|Listening Length||27 hours and 5 minutes|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com Release Date||April 09, 2012|
|Best Sellers Rank||
#216,193 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals)
#7,185 in Classic Literature (Audible Books & Originals)
#33,083 in Classic Literature & Fiction
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Top reviews from the United States
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If you are expecting the story as told by Hollywood, forget it. While I haven't seen the latest version with Leonardo DiCaprio (forgive me if I spell it wrong), I looked at the reader reviews and was quite surprised at how different the book is from Hollywood's version. I also recall a movie done in the late 70's/80's that is nothing like the book as well. I would pick it apart point by point, but that would include spoilers. The Man in the Iron Mask is actually the last third of a huge novel by Dumas originally titled The Vicomte de Bragelonne. Because of the size of the book, English publishers have divided into three books, The Vicomte de Bragelonne (Oxford World's Classics) , Louise de la Vallière (Oxford World's Classics) , and The Man in the Iron Mask.
Suffice it to say that TMITIM is the final chapter of our heroic Musketeers, as well as Raoul, the son of Athos. While we all know the story of Louis XIV's twin and the plot to substitute him, that is a minor part of the whole story, as the action then becomes centered on the aftermath of that plot and Louis' revenge. It has been a grand, glorious ride reading this series, The Three Musketeers, Twenty Years After, The Vicomte de Bragelonne, Louise de la Valliere and The Man In the Iron Mask. And do have your box of tissue handy for the last 20-30 pages. You'll need it.
One side note, some people are purchasing this as a stand-alone book, which it is not. You could probably get away with that, but you'll spend so much time looking back at the footnotes trying to figure who is who I doubt you will enjoy the story as much. Also, this version didn't have the list of characters that the VDB and LDLV did. Go for broke and read the whole thing, it's well worth it.
1. Read all five books in order. The Man in the Iron Mask is probably enjoyable on its own but reading the four books that proceed it help place the story in its proper context. Think of the Man in the Iron Mask as the dessert in a five course meal. Dessert is great but the four proceeding course are also enjoyable. Getting to the end of the book was especially enjoyable knowing that I was finishing a 3,500 page experience.
2. Read the Oxford University editions. There are wonderful end notes that help the reader keep track of the characters and events. When you read 3,500 pages you need that type of assistance to keep things straight. The Introductions are also very well written and help the reader get back into focus before beginning the next chapter.
3. If you really like any one book in particular, go to the internet and purchase a well illustrated used hardback edition for your collection. I purchased a used Three Musketeers with illustrations by Maurice Leloir. The three hundred plus illustrations make that edition especially enjoyable.
Along with Sir Walter Scott, Alexandre Dumas created the genre of the historical adventure novel. I have been reading these types of novels my entire life. Beyond a doubt, Alexandre Dumas is the master virtuoso of this genre.
Top reviews from other countries
The whole series is a simply marathon read but I have always loved marathon reads so that a writer, so long as,has the skills, can develop a theme to the full.
I only remove one star now because in my current (only second) reread because after all these years my view of d'Artagnan has changed. I really cannot any longer see him as the dynamic hero. Even thouigh my favourite in the books was always Aramis, I did as a child think d'Artagnan pretty wonderful. Now I am totally devoted to Aramis and his fascinating scheming and how he keeps steps ahead of d'Artagnan most of the time. Aramis is an ambitious schemer, a clever, dynamic and devious free-thinker with ideas that are partly for the benefit of whoever but also for the benefit in certain ways of France. During all these books, France has opposing political forces (in the stories as well as in real life). D'Artagnan is the good and mostly noble soldier (Dumas's musketeers are never perfect human beings, they have the warts too...) but like any soldier he is required to be blindly loyal to the King. D'Artagnan isn't always "blindly" loyal, but at times his loyalty is trying when it's only too clear that Aramis's scheme is far more sensible than whatever d'Artagnan thinks the King needs to know. So I become irritated often with d'Artagnan in these later books because of his loyalty and continually enthralled by Aramis's enterprises.
It's this rivalry that underpins the later 3 books, and in the end it leads to a finale that in some ways is simply supberb but in just a few ways is - in my view - unduly biased towards d'Artagnan. But of course, the Gascon who remains a musketeer all his life does seem to be the writer's favourite and I've heard that Aramis was very often not liked at all - I suppose because he defies and often outwits "the hero" who in real life was quite famous whilst the real life Athos, Porthos and Aramis (yes they all existed, with near enough those names) were not well known.
I quickly took sides from Twenty Years After onwards and it was never d'Artagnan's side. Aramis was the leader of events in my view, d'Artagnan the Royal agent trying to keep up with Aramis, Athos was the retired incredibly decent and noble gentleman, almost a recluse but for attending to his adopted son Raoul. Athos is almost too good to be true. Porthos was a lot of fun and very lovable and helpful to his friends and Aramis says that Porthos is the man in all the world whom he most loves.
The real life Athos was not a comte but a kind of nouveau riche - often identified by their string of titles such as the real Athos and Porthos both had. Athos was one of his titles. His first name was Armand (Dumas gave him the first name Olivier, not in the books but in a play he wrote later), and he died around age 25, probably in a duel amongst those quarrelsome young men. He may have served with Henri d'Amaritz (Aramis, called Rene d'Herblay in the books), who was of true noble birth although didn't have a title. The "old nobility" didn't always have titles. Their names/families/properties proclaimed if they were genuine old nobility - knights of old, and the like - of centuries back. Nouveau-riche type "nobles" like Athos and Porthos obtained a title (Porthos as Baron) through services in administration or whatever work for the community. Aramis retired from the musketeers in due course, returned to his lands and married. He also inherited a status of "lay preacher" - he was not in the priesthood. Isaac de Porthau was from an area called Porthau and a family of administrators and the like. Treville was a comte and related to all of the "four musketeers" one way or another. D'Artagnan, I think I remember rightly, was somewhat older than the others and may have met Athos before Athos died. D'Artagnan did quite late in life become Captain of the Musketeers. All four of these men were from the same area of France as Treville - Gascony. My information is from a fascinating book you can find on Amazon: "Four Musketeers: The True Story of D'Artagnan, Porthos, Aramis and Athos"
Why have they been reissued? Nowadays comics are highly sophisticated. No child is going to respond to this!
They're more likely to put them off Literature for life!
I'm going to give this & few others to my 11 year-old nephew to see what he makes of them!
But the switch of emphasis from the adventurous derring do of The Three Musketeers, to the more plodding intrigue and plotting of this book undermines the rascally and engaging charm of the musketeers, which is what had drawn you into the series in the first place.