the man in the iron mask

title: The Man in the Iron Mask

author: Alexandre Dumas

genre: Fiction, revenge, kings, power, retired Three Musketeers

dates read: October 28th – November 1st

review: 1 out of 5 stars

summary: The retired Three Musketeers (or really four) are seen in this last installment of Dumas’ d’Artagnan Romances.  Aramis discovers that king Louise XIV has a twin brother,  Philippe, who is locked up in the Bastile and has been there the last 8 years.  Aramis convinces Porthos to help him, though Porthos is unaware of what is really going on.  After successfully switching the brothers out, with Louise now in the Bastile, and Philippe playing the part of the king, Aramis plans on having Louise banished.  When it is discovered that it’s Philippe and not Louise, everyone involved must choose sides.

personal thoughts: I really did not like this.  Maybe it was because I didn’t read the other books in the series, but I really didn’t care for anyone except for maybe Raoul, who is barely in the book.  I felt like everyone was either extremely wishy washy, or they were way too committed to their dumb causes.  I know that Aramis was hoping that Philippe would make him cardinal, but I also think he was putting too much stock in someone he didn’t know at all.  Who’s to say that Philippe wouldn’t choose to do his own thing and be a worse ruler than Louise?  Maybe he is a terrible person who would just make everyone bend to his will and kill anyone who didn’t.  That said, Louise was pretty confusing.  He seemed to want complete control, but then would change his mind and be really merciful.  Not that I’m opposed to mercy, but why the tough act?  Also, Louise is about 23 years old and seems to be really immature (besides just being a normal 23-year-old).  I also have a difficult time with Dumas’ style of giving every character about 5 different names.  It was really difficult for me to keep everyone straight.  I also had a difficult time with the way it would jump back and forth between characters in very different places.  This style can work in some cases, but it made me feel lost a lot of the time.  And lastly, the book is called The Man in the Iron Mask but this man in the iron mask is hardly discussed at all.  He doesn’t make it beyond the first half of the book.  Not saying that it needs to be entirely about him, but at least give the readers an idea of his fate.  Or name it something else.  I know that this was translated into English, so my beef on this point is not with Dumas.  And again, maybe if I read the other books, this title would make more sense.  But as long as I’m being honest, I felt that I needed to include that point.

favorite quotes:
“‘I have the sun, a friend who comes to visit me every day without the permission of the governor or the jailer’s company.'” chapter 1: The Prisoner

“‘I shall have made one human being happy; and Heaven for that will hold me in better account than if I had made one man powerful; the former task is far more difficult.'” chapter 9: The Tempter

“‘The eyes of a woman who loves are not easily deceived.'” chapter 10: Crown and Tiara

‘”A flash of lightning without thunder awakens nobody.'” chapter 21: The King’s Friend

“‘Every one journeys towards happiness by the route he chooses.” chapter 29: Planchet’s Inventory


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