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d'Artagnan Romances, Vol 3, Part 3: The Man in the Iron Mask (version 2)

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By: (1802-1870)

Volume 3 of The d'Artagnan Romances is divided into three parts. In this, the final part, d’Artagnan’s fortune is near its height; having become the illustrious Captain of the Musketeers, he is now the chief defender of King Louis XIV. Fortune has also smiled on his three companions: Aramis is a wealthy bishop and the powerful, secret Superior General of the Jesuit Order ; Athos is the premier nobleman of France; and Porthos becomes a Duke with the proud but garishly long-winded title of “du Vallon de Bracieux de Pierrefonds.” On the opposite side of fortune, we find the young Phillippe, a desolate iron-masked prisoner in the infamous Bastille who has been deprived of everything, even his true identity, and the formerly rich and powerful Superintendent of Finance, Nicholas Fouquet. Aramis dupes the good-natured Porthos and desperate Fouquet into aiding Phillippe… with disastrous consequences for all, including d’Artagnan and King Louis XIV! Dumas spares none in this conclusion. Indeed, the turn of events drive d’Artagnan to ask, “What is there left for man after youth, love, glory, friendship, strength, and wealth have disappeared?” His answer, a true Gascon to the end, does provides some inspiration: “Forward! still forward! When it is time, God will tell me, as he foretold the others.” - Summary by jvanstan

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