By Alexandre Dumas
Edited and Translated by Lawrence Ellsworth
Alexandre Dumas’s 1844 novel The Three Musketeers was a career-defining hit and a huge worldwide bestseller, introducing to literature the unforgettable characters of d’Artagnan and his three comrades, Athos, Porthos, and Aramis. Dumas was as taken with these characters as his delighted readers were, and he plotted out the interwoven and fascinating arcs of the rest of their lives in two immediate sequels, the long Twenty Years After (1845) and the even longer Vicomte de Bragelonne (serialized 1847-1850).
After that Dumas was done with d’Artagnan and his comrades, but late in his career he returned to their milieu with another direct sequel to The Three Musketeers that took place immediately thereafter, continuing the story of Cardinal Richelieu and the Court of Louis XIII. The 1867 novel Le Comte de Moret was uncompleted at the time of Dumas’s death, but this editor has reconstructed and republished it as The Red Sphinx.
The Musketeers Cycle is the first attempt to bring all these elements into one coherent series in modern English-language translations. Published by Pegasus Books of New York and London, these are deluxe editions including all lost and misplaced material, plus biographies of historical characters, explanatory notes on the text, and reproductions of period illustrations and engravings.
To make sense of the readers’ experience, the books are numbered, not in the order of original publication, but in the order in which the stories occur in the lives of the characters. Thus The Red Sphinx, though written last, appears in the second position, as its tale picks up just two weeks after the ending of The Three Musketeers.
As of September 2020, the first three books in the series are in print, the fourth will be published shortly, and the fifth through eighth are in preparation.
When complete, the Musketeers Cycle will consist of the following titles:
Book One, The Three Musketeers
- Book Two, The Red Sphinx
- Book Three, Twenty Years After (volume one of Vingt Ans Après)
- Book Four, Blood Royal (volume two of Vingt Ans Après)
- Book Five, Between Two Kings (volume one of Le Vicomte de Bragelonne)
- Book Six, Court of Daggers (volume two of Le Vicomte de Bragelonne)
- Book Seven, Devil’s Dance (volume three of Le Vicomte de Bragelonne)
- Book Eight, Shadow of the Bastille (volume four of Le Vicomte de Bragelonne)
- Book Nine, The Man in the Iron Mask (volume five of Le Vicomte de Bragelonne)
Longtime musketeers fans will know that early translations of the first three volumes of Bragelonne usually appeared in English under the titles Ten Years Later, The Vicomte de Bragelonne, and Louise de La Vallière, and might wonder why they’re getting different titles in this series. The answer is that we’re now in the world of 21st-century publishing, and those 19th-century titles are considered too stodgy and prosaic for the shelves of contemporary bookstores. However, I have retained the Victorian-era titles as the books’ subtitles, so, for example, Book Five appears as Between Two Kings ~or~ Ten Years Later.