The Three Musketeers Book

The Three Musketeers

The Three Musketeers relates the adventures of the young musketeer aspirant d’Artagnan and his three musketeer friends Athos, Aramis and Porthos. Together they get involved in dangerous intrigues and affairs of state and court.

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Setting

The Three Musketeers is set in the early 17th century France under the rule of King Louis XIII and during the Thirty Years War. The story also covers the Anglo-French conflict and part of the plot takes place in England.

Plot

It’s early 17th century and d’Artagnan, a poor yet noble 18-year-old from Gascony, sets out for Paris to pursue his dream of becoming a musketeer. D’Artagnan starts his journey with an introduction letter for the captain of the musketeers but ends up getting into trouble with the Count de Rochefort (the man from Meung) and losing the letter in the process. The captain of the musketeers, an old friend of d’Artagnan’s father, accepts him into the Royal Academy nevertheless but the Gascon’s impulsive nature gets the best of him when he spots the Count de Rochefort through a window and rushes out in the middle of their meeting. While pursuing the man, d’Artagnan manages to offend the infamous musketeers Athos, Porthos and Aramis. Each of them, who happen to be close friends, challenge d’Artagnan to a duel but since dueling is outlawed, they’re confronted by the dreaded Cardinal guards. Despite his pending duels with the musketeers, d’Artagnan joins forces with them to drive away the guards, proving his earnest and honorable nature in the process and becoming a fellow loyal friend.

One day, d’Artagnan’s landlord comes to him seeking help in finding his missing wife, Constance. The elderly man fears she’s been kidnapped since she is the Queen’s loyal maid. Queen Anne’s animosity towards the Cardinal Richelieu, who persistently tries to discredit her, make him the most likely suspect behind Constance’s disappearance. These suspicions turn to be true when d’Artagnan frees Constance from the Cardinal’s men.

D’Artagnan falls in love with Constance at first sight and before long sees himself immersed in court intrigues because of this love: the Duke of Buckingham, an Englishman and sworn enemy of France, secretly arrives in Paris to see his beloved Queen Anne and leaves with her twelve diamond tags as a token of love. This is soon discovered by the Cardinal, who sends his trusted spy Milady to England to steal two of the diamonds, all the while urging the King to hold a ball and make the Queen wear the tags he has given her. Facing this dilemma, the Queen is persuaded to turn to Constance for help, who in turn relies on d’Artagnan’s willing hands. Thus the young guard leaves for England to retrieve the tags in a quest to prove his love to the beautiful maid and loyalty to the Queen. The three musketeers and their lackeys join d’Artagnan in this journey, each one of them being held back for a different reason in a different place, giving d’Artagnan the leverage and time needed to succeed in his quest.

After a hectic journey, d’Artagnan scarcely succeeds to reach England, have the stolen tags replaced and then arrive in Paris just in time to give the twelve diamond tags to the Queen. Seeing that the Queen managed to wear all the tags at the ball, the Cardinal’s plan is shattered and Milady’s pride insulted.

Feeling his love proven, the young guard schedules a rendezvous with Constance but finds her abducted once again. He’s urged to leave Paris for a time since the Cardinal knows all that happens within the city and will soon discover d’Artagnan’s involvement in recovering the tags. D’Artagnan takes this chance to look for his still scattered friends.

Soon after they safely come back to Paris, d’Artagnan notices Milady and is overwhelmed by her beauty. He comes across the chance of occasionally meeting her and spares no thought to all the mysteries surrounding the beautiful woman nor her murderous intent. Milady’s maid, Kitty, falls deeply in love with d’Artagnan and warns him of her lady’s deceitful nature for she does not favor him as much as she claims. All Milady wants is to avenge her wounded pride and her injured lover, Count de Wardes, who was attacked by d’Artagnan on his way to England. After learning of Milady’s lover and her true feelings about d’Artagnan, his jealousy and anger get the best of him and he decides to trick her by having a nighttime rendezvous while posing as the Count de Wardes, belittling her in his name the following day. Milady’s fury at her now former lover is such that she decides to persuade d’Artagnan into killing the Count for insulting her. D’Artagnan is so infatuated with her that he decides to reveal the truth of what really happened, believing her to be so in love with him that she’d forgive him. What he gets instead is an enraged woman fixated on killing him, more so after their struggle exposes a convict’s fleur-de-lis branded on her shoulder. With her deepest and darkest secret revealed, she swears revenge on d’Artagnan.

After relating these events to Athos, both are sure that Milady is in fact the musketeer’s wife, a wife he believed he’d killed many years ago after seeing through her deceit. D’Artagnan is advised to be very cautious of her, but has no time to act on her threats as he has to leave for the siege of La Rochelle, where he is almost killed twice by Milady’s men.

Sometime later the three musketeers overhear the Cardinal ordering Milady to depart for London in order to kill the Duke of Buckingham and, in return, she’ll be able to take revenge against d’Artagnan. The three men quickly devise a plan to warn both the Duke and d’Artagnan, leading to Milady’s imprisonment at her arrival in London. She, however, cleverly corrupts her jailer and convinces him that the Duke deserves to be put to death. After she makes sure that he is in fact killed, Milady flees back to France and devotes herself to taking revenge on d’Artagnan.

For the sake of her revenge, she targets d’Artagnan’s beloved, Constance. She finds her placed in a convent by the Queen for protection and gains her trust. By doing so she’s able to poison Constance and flee before d’Artagnan and the musketeers arrive. They finally track Milady down, judge her for her crimes and sentence her to death.

D’Artagnan, who is arrested by Rochefort to be confronted over his services to Buckingham and the Queen, gains the Cardinal’s favor instead, becoming a Musketeer soon after.

Characters

D’Artagnan

D’Artagnan
D’Artagnan is a young man from Gascony with a noble heart and a brave, ambitious and impulsive nature. Loyal both to the Cardinal and the King, he dreams of becoming a musketeer and for that end he leaves for Paris, taking with him an introduction letter for the captain of the musketeers. His letter is stolen after a confrontation with Count de Rochefort during his journey to the capital.

Once in Paris, the musketeers’ Captain Monsieur Treville accepts him into the Royal Academy so he can become a guard and eventually a musketeer. D’Artagnan rushes out in the middle of his meeting with Treville to pursue Rochefort and during his chase manages to offend three musketeers: Athos, Porthos and Aramis. He is challenged by each one of them to a duel but, since dueling is outlawed, they’re confronted by the Cardinal’s guard. D’Artagnan joins forces with the three musketeers in order to fight the guards, becoming the musketeers’ loyal friend afterwards.

One day, d’Artagnan’s landlord Bonacieux comes to him for help: His young wife Constance, the Queen’s loyal maid, is missing and he believes her to have been kidnapped. After rescuing her, d’Artagnan falls in love with the mysterious maid at first sight and seeks any chance to prove his devotion. He’s presented with an opportunity to do so by serving the Queen in a most secret and dangerous matter: to retrieve from her lover Duke of Buckingham the twelve diamond tags she gave him. After an eventful and dangerous trip to England, d’Artagnan manages to come back just in time with the Queen’s tags.

After a series of events d’Artagnan notices the beautiful Milady and takes up the chance of occasionally meeting her. His easily infatuated heart gets the best of him and he’s soon involved in her intrigues by gravely insulting her and discovering her deepest secret in the process. He becomes the focus of her wrath when she swears revenge on him, arranging two unsuccessful attempts on his life. Before long, the three musketeers overhear her receiving orders from the Cardinal to kill Buckingham and her own resolve to make d’Artagnan pay once she’s completed her task. Despite their warnings, Buckingham is killed and Milady escapes from England before being captured. Once in France she seeks out Constance and poisons her before d’Artagnan and his friends have time to stop her. They finally track her down, judge her and execute her.

D’Artagnan is eventually promoted to musketeer and starts his new and promising career alongside his friends.

Athos, a.k.a. Count de la Fère

Athos, a.k.a. Count de la Fère
Athos is one of the three musketeers that d’Artagnan befriends soon after his arrival in Paris. He holds his honor above anything else and has an aristocratic air that hints of his noble origin. Athos first meets the Gascon when he bumps into him after rushing out of Monsieur Treville’s meeting. This encounter reinjures Athos’ gravely wounded shoulder, which leads him to challenge d’Artagnan to a duel. When the time to duel comes, they’re confronted by the Cardinal’s guard and become friends after joining forces to fight them.

Athos is a heavy drinker and has a clear reticence to pursue any romantic relationships. Eventually it’s revealed to d’Artagnan that Athos was a Count (Count de la Fère) and that he has once been married to an extremely beautiful and charming woman. He was so infatuated with her that at first he was unable to see past her façade but eventually discovered that she was a convict after seeing the fleur-de-lis brand on her shoulder. Feeling hurt and betrayed he hung her and believed her to be dead ever since but, when d’Artagnan relates his encounters with Milady de Winter and shows the ring she has given him, Athos discovers that his wife never died and is now one of the Cardinal’s deadliest agents. Proof of his certainty is the ring, which he has given her long ago as a token of love, and the fleur-de-lis mark d’Artagnan saw on her shoulder. Athos, certain of how dangerous she is and of the need to make her pay for all her crimes, condemns her to death.

Aramis

Aramis
Aramis is one of the three musketeers that d’Artagnan befriends after his arrival in Paris. He first meets d’Artagnan when the young Gascon runs into him after his audience with Monsieur Treville. While trying to be polite and do Aramis a favor, d’Artagnan unintentionally draws attention to a handkerchief Aramis was trying to conceal, compromising a lady by doing so. Feeling insulted, Aramis challenges him to a duel later that day but it never takes place as they are confronted, along with Athos and Porthos, by the Cardinal’s guard. Despite his reserved nature he takes a liking to d’Artagnan and they become friends.

Having been brought up in a monastery, Aramis often reminds his friends that his occupation as a musketeer is just temporary and he will go back to priesthood once the Queen provides France with an heir. It is revealed that years ago, when he was still studying to become a priest, his attention towards a certain lady incited an officer’s disdain and mockery of the young Aramis. This insult led Aramis to leave the monastery, learn fencing and come back to challenge the officer. After Aramis wins the duel, he decides to take up arms temporarily before going back to the monastery.

Naturally modest and quiet, he is believed to have no interest in relationships due to his upbringing but in fact he is a hopeless romantic with a very powerful mistress, the exiled Madame de Chevreuse, whose identity and existence he zealously guards even from his three friends.

Porthos

Porthos
Porthos is the third musketeer d’Artagnan befriends in Paris. He’s an extremely proud and vain man, showing off his good looks and fine physique to its best advantage by dressing to impress the women of society. More times than less, however, his dressing proves to be less genuine than it looks, fact that d’Artagnan points out after running into him. Feeling insulted, Porthos challenges him to a duel later that day only to realize that his best friends, Athos and Aramis, have also challenged the young Gascon. The duel never takes place and they become close friends after fighting together against the Cardinal’s guard.

He is devoted to good food and comfortable surroundings and easily indulges in gambling. Like Aramis, Porthos has a secret mistress, an old married woman he uses as a source of funds every time he finds himself in need. Despite his lavish indulgencies, he holds his friendship to Athos, Aramis and d’Artagnan above everything else.

Constance Bonacieux

Constance Bonacieux
Constance is the young wife of d’Artagnan’s landlord Bonacieux and also the Queen’s loyal maid, acting as a messenger between the Queen and her lover Buckingham as well as her exiled friend Madame de Chevreuse. Constance is often harassed by Cardinalist agents for Queen Anne’s secrets, being kidnapped soon after d’Artagnan arrives in Paris. At first her old husband seeks d’Artagnan’s help to rescue her but after a private audience with the Cardinal, he turns on her wife and becomes a Cardinalist agent.

Though being married Constance enjoys d’Artagnan’s affection and makes good use of his devotion when she’s in need of help. After offering her help to the Queen to retrieve her diamond tags from England, she turns to her husband for assistance but soon realizes that his loyalty lies with the Queen’s enemy. Having no other option, she accepts d’Artagnan’s heartfelt help to fulfill this task. Before long she is kidnapped again, being suspected by the Cardinal of helping the Queen retrieve the tags and secretly meet with her lover Buckingham. After the attempts on d’Artagnan’s life and the Cardinal’s relentless pursuit of Constance, she is placed in a distant convent for protection, becoming a nun. The Queen’s protection however doesn’t spare her life as Milady manages to track her down and poison her as a revenge against d’Artagnan.

Milady de Winter

Milady de Winter
Milady is, along with the Count de Rochefort, one of the most important Cardinalist agents. She is known for her breathtaking beauty and charm, which she mercilessly uses to achieve that what she wants.

When the Cardinal learns of Buckingham’s secret visit to the Queen, he sends Milady to steal at least two diamond tags from the Englishman. She succeeds at her task but is soon left with a wounded pride after d’Artagnan manages to replace the stolen tags.

At some point she crosses paths with d’Artagnan, leaving him completely infatuated with her charm and beauty. Even if she despises him, she puts on the perfect façade to show the opposite in order to take advantage of the young guard. D’Artagnan, after discovering her true feelings for him and the existence of a lover, decides to trick Milady by spending the night with her pretending to be her beloved Count de Wardes. Before long, d’Artagnan reveals his deceit, believing that she has finally fallen in love with him and will forgive his deed. What he manages instead is to make her madly enraged. She attacks him and while they’re struggling, her darkest secret is exposed: a convict’s fleur-de-lis brand on her shoulder. She swears revenge and manages to arrange two unsuccessful attempts on d’Artagnan’s life.

Sometime later she is ordered by the Cardinal to travel to England once more and ensure Buckingham’s death, after which she will be free to pursue her revenge against d’Artagnan. This plan is overheard by the three musketeers, who warn the Duke and so Milady is arrested upon her arrival in England. While locked up she manages to make use of her charm by convincing her guard of the evil nature of Buckingham and the need of killing him. The guard, successfully persuaded, confronts Buckingham and kills him. Milady flees back to France and starts working on her revenge by tracking down d’Artagnan’s beloved Constance and poisoning her. She manages to escape but is eventually found by d’Artagnan, the three musketeers, her brother-in-law Lord de Winter and finally the executioner of Lille. All of them sentence her to death after naming all her known crimes: as a young nun, she seduced a priest (the brother of the executioner of Lille) and convinced him to steal from the church; then she married the Count de la Fère (Athos) without revealing her criminal past; she re-married an English lord (the brother of Lord de Winter) who died under mysterious circumstances shortly thereafter; she attempted to have D’Artagnan assassinated on two separate occasions; she convinced John Felton to assassinate the Duke of Buckingham and she successfully poisoned Constance Bonacieux. After deciding her fate, the executioner of Lille beheads her.

Queen Anne of Austria

Queen Anne of Austria
Queen Anne is the King Louis XIII’s wife. Being of Spanish origin, her influence at court is very weak because of the ongoing Franco-Spanish war. Her animosity towards the Cardinal Richelieu, her husband’s most trusted advisor, doesn’t help her weak image nor her already strained relationship with Louis XIII.

She is romantically involved with the Duke of Buckingham, a sworn English enemy of the King, the Cardinal and France. After Buckingham’s persistent pursuit of her affection and his secret visit to the palace to see her, she gives him a token of her love: twelve diamond tags that were given to her by the King. When this information is leaked to the Cardinal and his plan to defame her set in motion, she is aided by d’Artagnan and the diamond tags are retrieved from Buckingham in time. As a show of gratitude she gives him her ring.

With all her closest confidants driven away from her, the distrust of her King, the relentless prying of her secrets by Cardinalist spies and the death of Buckingham, her life at court is completely miserable.

The Lover

The Lover
The lover doesn’t represent any specific character but rather the concept of the secret wealthy lovers that provide for the musketeers throughout the story. Every time the musketeers are in need of funds, they’ll resort to their mistresses, who in turn will provide all they can in order to keep the affection of the brave men.

Just like Porthos’ mistress, a wife of a wealthy attorney, or Aramis’ beloved, an exiled confidant of the Queen, the lover has the profile of a wealthy woman who, be it because of her social ranking or married state, keeps her relationship with the musketeer secret.

Count de Rochefort, a.k.a. The man from Meung

Count de Rochefort, a.k.a. The man from Meung
The Count de Rochefort is one of the most important Cardinalist agents, acting both as a spy and a messenger. He first encounters d’Artagnan in Meung, when the young Gascon is on his way to Paris. After making a remark about the unsightly horse that d’Artagnan was riding, they confront each other and d’Artagnan is defeated. The Count steals his letter of introduction and leaves while D’Artagnan, feeling insulted and dishonoured, swears revenge on Rochefort.

He’s responsible for kidnapping and questioning Constance on two occasions, as well as arresting d’Artagnan for the Cardinal. Rochefort is eventually ordered to become d’Artagnan’s friend after the Gascon gains the Cardinal’s respect.

Cardinal Richelieu

Cardinal Richelieu
The Cardinal is the King’s most influential advisor as well as the most powerful and important man in France. His web of spies ensures his knowledge of all that happens not only in Paris, but in every corner of the country. He is a strong supporter of the King and has a strained relationship with the Queen Anne, taking any chance to discredit her and diminish her influence and power.

After discovering that the Queen gave her diamond tags to Buckingham, he sends Milady to steal two of them, all the while convincing the King to hold a ball for his Queen. He is also the one that persuades the King to make her wear the diamond tags, which were a gift from the King himself. After this plan of exposing the relationship between the Queen and the Duke fails he decides to take another course of action to get rid of Buckingham by sending Milady to England to kill him.

After Milady’s execution, the Cardinal orders d’Artagnan to be brought before him to be questioned. After meeting the young Gascon he decides that he respects d’Artagnan’s loyalty, courage, and military ability and openly tries to persuade him to be his agent but failing to do so, orders him to befriend d’Artagnan’s nemesis Count de Rochefort.

Duke of Buckingham

Duke of Buckingham
The Duke of Buckingham, next to the King, is the most powerful person in England. He is the sworn enemy of France, the Cardinal and Louis XIII but he’s deeply in love with the Queen Anne. He recklessly uses his power and money to simply see the Queen and, in one of these visits, manages to leave with twelve diamond tags as a token of love.

Once he’s in England, Milady manages to steal two of the tags at a ball, which he doesn’t realize until d’Artagnan arrives to retrieve them for the Queen. Buckingham successfully replaces the stolen tags with new ones and swiftly sends d’Artagnan back to Paris, proving once more the power he holds.

When Buckingham receives word that Milady is to arrive in England seeking his death, he arrests her and locks her up. The Cardinalist agent, however, convinces her devoted protestant guard of setting her free and then killing Buckingham, which he manages to do while Milady flees back to France.

The executioner of Lille

The executioner of Lille
The executioner of Lille is the man Athos seeks to carry out the death sentence against Milady when they track her down after she poisons Constance. It is also revealed that he holds a personal Vendetta against Milady: He is the brother of the priest she infatuated when she was a young nun. She seduced the young priest into stealing church relics. Both were caught, but Milady escaped and he was convicted as a common criminal. Because of Milady’s deeds, the executioner had to burn the fleur-de-lis brand onto the shoulder of his own brother. He vows to find and brand her just as he did with his brother. Afterward, the young priest escaped prison trying to find his beloved Milady and the executioner had to serve out his brother’s prison term. The priest hanged himself after finding out that Milady had already seduced a new man, the Count de la Fère. The executioner swore revenge against Milady and eventually sees it granted as he beheads her after she’s judged by the musketeers, her brother-in-law and himself.

The executioner of Lille is the personification of the ultimate retribution that those who have been wronged seek, the price that those who are at fault must eventually and inevitably pay.

Planchet


Planchet is d’Artagnan’s servant. He’s a sharp and reliable lackey, serving his master well on many dangerous occasions. Despite his prudent nature, Planchet exhibits moments of great courage and ingenuity. His courage is eventually rewarded as he is made a sergeant in the guards.

 

Grimaud


Grimaud is Athos’ servant. He’s extremely reserved and has been warned many times by his master not to speak unless it is an absolute emergency, using gestures instead to convey his messages. He is a very loyal lackey and serves Athos in a way that upholds the quiet nobility of his master.

 

Bazin


Bazin is Aramis’ servant. He is a sensible and religious lackey and his utmost desire is to be the servant of a high church official. Having great expectations of his master, he believes that being a musketeer is unfitting for him and clings to Aramis’ word of returning to priesthood once the Queen bears an heir.

 

Mousqueton


Mousqueton is Porthos’ servant. He is a very cunning lackey and, like his master, he loves the finer things in life and is the most knowledgeable about worldly things among the musketeers’ servants. His cunning ways and quick-wit allow him to serve and provide for his master in almost any situation.