Twenty Years After

By Alexandre Dumas
Read by Frederick Davidson

27.93 Hours 05/01/1998 unabridged
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Originally published in 1845 as a sequel to The Three Musketeers, Twenty Years After is a supreme creation of suspense and heroic adventure. Two decades have passed since the three musketeers triumphed over Cardinal Richelieu and Milady. Time has weakened their resolve and dispersed their loyalties. But treasons and stratagems still cry out for justice: civil war endangers the throne of France, while in England, Cromwell threatens to send Charles I to the scaffold. Dumas brings his immortal quartet out of retirement to cross swords with time, the malevolence of men, and the forces of history. But their greatest test is a titanic struggle with the son of Milady, who wears the face of Evil.

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Summary

Summary

Originally published in 1845 as a sequel to The Three MusketeersTwenty Years After is a supreme creation of suspense and heroic adventure.

Two decades have passed since the three musketeers triumphed over Cardinal Richelieu and Milady. Time has weakened their resolve and dispersed their loyalties. But treasons and stratagems still cry out for justice: civil war endangers the throne of France, while in England, Cromwell threatens to send Charles I to the scaffold. Dumas brings his immortal quartet out of retirement to cross swords with time, the malevolence of men, and the forces of history. But their greatest test is a titanic struggle with the son of Milady, who wears the face of Evil.

Editorial Reviews

Editorial Reviews

“Good fun!” Sunday Telegraph (London)

Reviews

Reviews

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

We’re getting the band back together

Personal theory: the books that work best as audiobooks are comedies and mysteries. Why? When we listen to a story—as opposed to actually it on a page—plot is king. When you tell a story, when you’ve been told a story, it’s the twists and turns of plot that have kept you or your audience on the edge of your seat. And plot drives comedies and mysteries. At least the ones I enjoy.

Recently I’ve had to expand this theory to include adventure stories. First Treasure Island, then 39 Steps, a few Ian Flemings, then Greenmantle, The Three Musketeers and now the Musketeer’s sequel, Twenty Years After, have all proven to have enough plot to keep me firmly ensconced between the ear buds.

As the title implies, this is the same quartet of heroes, twenty years after Milady, the Duke of Buckingham, the Great Cardinal and those diamond studs. Porthos and Athos are now retired country gentlemen. Aramis is an abbe. D’Artagnan has spent the intervening two decades in a lieutenancy of Musketeers. None have received their due for services rendered in the last installment of the story. And all that is about to change.

I won’t say any more. After all, if plot is king one doesn’t want to be a regicide. I’ll only add that, as the first quarter of the book unfolded and D’Artagnan started digging his old friends out of seclusion, I couldn’t help remembering Jake and Ellwood Blues: “We’re getting the band back together!”

What I love about Dumas is that, while his plots are always jam-packed he’s more than just a great storyteller. There is plenty of finely observed detail and character analysis here. The four “inseparables”, though the stereotyped swashbucklers of our collective imagination, are also real people who change with age. Athos still holds primacy as the greatest gentleman of the quartet, with the most refined sensibility. But melancholy grips him, a sense that the world he knows is changing under his feet. Aramis, who pined for Holy Orders twenty years before, is now an adept at ladders—both rope and wooden—for making his nightly rounds among the local damsels. While it would be impossible to say that Porthos has grown wise he certainly has more wisdom, accepting his role as strongman of the troupe, admitting his mental limits and indulging not half so much in vanity over clothes and accouterments as in days gone by.

But D’Artagnan, the once-callow Gascon with a severe case of hero-worship toward his companions, is the biggest surprise here. It is now to him that the three others apply whenever they find themselves in a tight corner and are in need of some snappy ideas.

Finally, for all the romance and daring-do of his stories Dumas, very much like Ian Fleming, salts his tale with what, for lack of a better term, I’ll call “reality”. All four musketeers know they stand a fair chance of performing the services requested of them without ever seeing the rewards. It happened before. Cardinal Mazarin wears the diamond ring Queen Anne gave D’Artagnan twenty years ago. D’Artagnan has languished as a junior officer to the cusp of his 40’s. Mazarin must have his arm twisted before any act of generosity is forthcoming. The queen knows she’s been ungrateful but isn’t really bothered by that knowledge. High principle and even higher adventure ride hand in hand with a gritty sense of life’s inherent inequities. That’s what raises these stories above the level of mere romance.

Our reader Frederick Davidson is something of a disappointment here. There’s nothing wrong with his performance, but I expect more consistency in his vocal portrayals. Granted, I’m used to him serving up P. G. Wodehouse, books that are at least a quarter the length of this one with far more limited casts of characters. There were also passages where it felt like he failed to squeeze out all the ironic, comic or sarcastic juice. And I’m guessing that, guided by Aramis’ new clerical vocation, Davidson borrowed his Father Brown voice for that character, a step which sometimes lead me to envision a musketeer armed with a rolled up black umbrella. That said, his knowing, sardonic portrayal of D’Artagnan is perfect.

Fortunately, Downpour recently made the next three novels in the series, collectively entitled, “Ten Years After”, their Weekend Spotlight.

On to the Vicomte de Bragelonne.

Note of thanks: In the midst of the action I ran across a chapter that went abruptly silent after 16 seconds. Once notified, Downpour took care of the problem and had the book ready to re-download as soon as was humanly possible.

Author

Author Bio: Alexandre Dumas

Alexandre Dumas (1802–1870), French novelist and playwright, was born the son of an innkeeper’s daughter and one of Napoleon’s generals. He moved to Paris in 1823 to make his fortune in the theater, and at twenty-eight he was one of the leading literary figures of his day. His complete works were eventually to fill over three hundred volumes, and his stories made him the best-known Frenchman of his age. He is best known for his ever-popular classic novels The Count of Monte Cristo and The Three Musketeers.

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Details

Details

Available Formats : Digital Download, Digital Rental, CD, MP3 CD
Category: Fiction/Classics
Runtime: 27.93
Audience: Adult
Language: English