The Vicomte de Bragelonne by Alexandre Dumas audiobook

The Vicomte de Bragelonne

By Alexandre Dumas
Read by Simon Vance

Blackstone Publishing, Blackstone Publishing

The d'Artagnan Romances: Book 3

22.97 Hours 1
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Dumas continues his Musketeer Romances with a final trilogy. The Vicomte de Bragelonne opens an epic adventure which continues with Louise de la Vallière and reaches its climax in The Man in the Iron Mask. It is May 1660, and the fate of nations is at stake. Mazarin plots, Louis XIV is in love, and Raoul de Bragelonne, son of Athos, is intent on serving France and winning the heart of Louise de la Vallière. Meanwhile, d’Artagnan learns that his old comrades have great projects in hand. Athos seeks the restoration of Charles II, while Aramis, with Porthos in tow, has a secret plan involving a masked prisoner and the fortification of the island of Belle-Ile. D’Artagnan finds a thread leading him to the French court, the banks of the Tyne, the beaches of Holland, and the dunes of Brittany. Never short on swashbuckling action, breathtaking suspense, and romantic intrigue, Dumas’s classic works are must-haves for any collection.

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Summary

Summary

Dumas continues his Musketeer Romances with a final trilogy. The Vicomte de Bragelonne opens an epic adventure which continues with Louise de la Vallière and reaches its climax in The Man in the Iron Mask.

It is May 1660, and the fate of nations is at stake. Mazarin plots, Louis XIV is in love, and Raoul de Bragelonne, son of Athos, is intent on serving France and winning the heart of Louise de la Vallière. Meanwhile, d’Artagnan learns that his old comrades have great projects in hand. Athos seeks the restoration of Charles II, while Aramis, with Porthos in tow, has a secret plan involving a masked prisoner and the fortification of the island of Belle-Ile. D’Artagnan finds a thread leading him to the French court, the banks of the Tyne, the beaches of Holland, and the dunes of Brittany.

Never short on swashbuckling action, breathtaking suspense, and romantic intrigue, Dumas’s classic works are must-haves for any collection.

Editorial Reviews

Editorial Reviews

“Alternately melodramatic, sentimental, humorous, worldly, and almost always absorbing.” Irish Times
“I would sit down with The Vicomte de Bragelonne for a long, silent, solitary, lamplit evening by the fire.” Robert Louis Stevenson

Reviews

Reviews

by Bertie Wooster 9/13/2017
Overall Performance
Narration
Story

I don’t like historical fiction.

So why can’t I stop listening to Dumas?

Many years ago in a rented house I found a dog-eared novel of the John Jakes school, set in the run-up to the American Civil War. “If these Abolitionists don’t quiet down” opined one character, “we will have a civil war!” Thrusting the noxious volume from me, I recalled something William Faulkner wrote: that at some point in the life of every Southern boy, imagination takes them to that July afternoon in Pennsylvania, before the command to advance is given. “It hasn’t happened yet,” wrote Faulkner, and things might turn out differently.

Just so, the best serious historical writing can transport you back to that time where “it hasn’t happened yet”. Quebec might not fall. D-Day might fail. Pickett’s Charge might succeed. It’s a trick beyond the reach of most historical fiction. And I think that’s why I can’t stop listening to Dumas. Aside from the cut-and-thrust of his dialogue, the cut-and-thrust of the occasional duel and the interest of the characters he creates, I believe I’m there, before Mazarin dies, before Louis XIV becomes the Sun King, before Charles II, against all the odds, ascends the throne England vacated with an axe.

Dumas’ understanding of French history—and his assumption that his readers are just as well versed as he is—makes the story far more complex than is usual in popular historical fiction. Also, we tend to value historical figures only insofar as they reflect our modern, politically correct attitudes. Dumas most admirable character, Athos, is a committed, unrepentant royalist.

Then there is the texture of the writing and scope of the story. Listening to Dumas is like sauntering through a long gallery, viewing an almost endless series of those massive historical paintings that were all the rage in the 18th and 19th Centuries. From battlefields to boudoirs, royal weddings or beheadings, he takes historical fact and inter-weaves a story that is by turns charming, funny, sad and, more than anything else, gripping.

Much of the suspense is due to the actual historical facts—Louis XIV’s newfound royal prerogative, for example, closing in slowly on his errant finance super-intendant, Monsieur Fouquet. In this respect a passing familiarity with the period helps with an appreciation of the drama. I am fortunate in having recently read biographies of both Louis and Fouquet, so I am able to say with a modicum of authority that the fictional dialogues Dumas concocts are consistent with the historical reality of the characters participating in them.

And, much like those massive historical canvasses, one can step up close and pick out one courtier in the background of a reception or one soldier in a line of battle, examining their inmost thoughts and feelings and at the same time feel completely enveloped by the vast overall picture.

Going from Frederick Davidson’s reading of Twenty Years After to Simon Vance’s performance here, I had to adjust myself to Vance’s depiction of D’Artagnan. Davidson’s D’Artangan is supremely self-possessed, arch, knowing, refined. Vance’s D’Artagnan, based no doubt on his portrayal of the young man in Three Musketeers, retains a somewhat country-bumpkin-ish accent. It makes even his most incisive statements sound a little less than penetrating. However, I think Vance is also taking his cue from his material. Dumas paints this older D’Artangan as a little duller, a little more worn out by life than in the previous volume (how each character changes over time is one of the aspects of this series that makes it so enjoyable). In calculating for an expedition D’Artagnan forgets to include the horses. His venture in England seems more the brainchild of a young hothead than a seasoned soldier. Such inconsistencies of character--and consistency with real life as we know it--keep Dumas’ characters from becoming cardboard cutouts.

Though 23 hours long, this installment went by at a comfortable trot, due in no small part to Vance’s beautiful delivery. But the best part? It isn’t over yet.

On to Louis de la Valliere.

Author

Author Bio: Alexandre Dumas

Author Bio: Alexandre Dumas

Alexandre Dumas (1802–1870), French novelist and playwright, as one of the most famous and prolific French writers of the nineteenth century, producing some 250 books. He is best known for his historical novels The Three Musketeers and The Count of Monte Cristo, and he was among the first authors to fully exploit the possibilities of the serial novel. He is credited with revitalizing the historical novel in France. His works are riveting, fast-paced adventure tales that blend history and fiction.

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Details

Details

Available Formats : Digital Download, Digital Rental, CD, MP3 CD
Category: Fiction/Classics
Runtime: 22.97
Audience: Adult
Language: English