Twenty Years After by Alexandre Dumas

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First serialized from January to August, 1845, Twenty Years After is the second book in The D’Artagnan Romances, and follows the gallant adventures of the musketeers, as they are once again summoned to alleviate the various threats that lurk in the political scene of France, as the country is threatened by a possible uprising. Enriched with exciting and well-developed characters, the novel adds more detail to its familiar characters, as the musketeers have matured and are portrayed in a more introspective light. Set twenty years after the conclusion of its predecessor, Twenty Years After commences with the appearance of d’Artagnan, who despite his propitious circumstances to progress in his area of interest, remains a lieutenant in the Musketeers for twenty years. Conversely, much has changed in the political scene of France during the twenty-year period, as the country is ruled by chief-minister, Cardinal Mazarin, who is loathed by much of the French population. Consequently, France is on the brink of civil war, as it is divided into those who support Mazarin’s governance, and those who oppose his rule, regarding him as inadequate. Fearing for his safety, Mazarin appoints d’Artagnan as his escort, after hearing of his daring feats in the past and additionally requests assistance from his musketeer companions, Athos, Porthos, and Aramis. Subsequently, d’Artagnan is reunited with his old friends, who have all drifted apart due to following individual paths, and informs them of his task. However, the group is also divided, as Porthos is willing to be in the Cardinal’s service, whereas Athos and Aramis take the side of the opposition. As a result, the group must overcome their contrasting views and loyalties, and test the durability of their friendship, as they are brought out of retirement and once again hurled into a gripping adventure, while beset by various enemies. Nevertheless, Dumas presents an effective complementary sequel to his well-loved tale that successfully enthralls with its complex plot, vibrant characters, steady action, historical references, and a vivid description of the political scene prevailing at the time. Needless to say, the novel will undoubtedly motivate readers to continue the series that has been enjoyed by generations.

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