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5.0 von 5 Sternen A poignant ending to the most romantic series ever written.
This book only marginally resembles the recent movie. The last of The D'Artagnan Romances, a series of six romances spanning forty years and written by Alexandre Dumas in the mid-1800s, The Man in the Iron Mask presents Athos, Porthos, Aramis, and D'Artagnan aligned against each other politically, but always joined together in spirit and friendship. The series...
Am 29. April 1999 veröffentlicht

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3.0 von 5 Sternen A plot summary with reference to recent film versions.
After watching the recent film I decided that I would read the original novel upon which it is loosely based. (when I say loosely I mean it.) Although the first page is confusing if you have not read the earlier part you can still pick up the plot easily. Initial confusion is added to since there are a great number of characters many of whom are not essential to the...
Am 10. Februar 1999 veröffentlicht


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5.0 von 5 Sternen A poignant ending to the most romantic series ever written., 29. April 1999
Von Ein Kunde
This book only marginally resembles the recent movie. The last of The D'Artagnan Romances, a series of six romances spanning forty years and written by Alexandre Dumas in the mid-1800s, The Man in the Iron Mask presents Athos, Porthos, Aramis, and D'Artagnan aligned against each other politically, but always joined together in spirit and friendship. The series vividly recreates the courts of Louis XIII and Louis XIV, as seen from the perspective of the four Musketeers. The intrigue and adventures of these four men carries the reader into their lives, loves, and tragedies. In The Man in the Iron Mask, Philippe's struggle with his identity and his attempt to rule France serves only as a backdrop to the complex relations of the characters. Dumas' flamboyant writing style enhances the intricate splendor he describes. A master wordsmith, Dumas was extremely successful in France during his life. The Man in the Iron Mask and the other D'Artagnan Romances are based on the Memoirs of Monsieur D'Artagnan, written by Courtils de Sandras. Dumas' other great success was The Count of Monte Cristo. ...The D'Artagnan Romances are: The Three Musketeers, Twenty Years After, The Vicomte de Bragelonne, Ten Years Later, Louise de la Valliere, and The Man in the Iron Mask.
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4.0 von 5 Sternen An extremely interesting book, 6. September 1999
I just finished listening to the unabridged, Books on Tape version, of this book. I also just recently finished the Three Muskateers so I thought I was getting the entire picture. It was not until I went on the internet and discovered that there are three or four books in between, depending on what language you are reading.
However, I thought the book extremely good. It seemed strange the introduction of some characters as old friends (Raoul, Athos' son for example) but now I know better. I did find it interesting how Dumas allowed the characters to mature. Nowhere in this book do you have the "all for one, one for all" story line. In fact, if I am not mistaken, I do not believe that all four of the muskateers are in the same place at the same time throughout this entire book. Aramis deceives Porthos into helping him with his plot to unseat Louis XIV, hardly something that would seem likely in the first novel.
There are some questions that are unanswered to me, most notably what happens to Philippe? Does he die? Does he live on throughout what was Louis XIV's long reign? Also, what was Aramis' motivation for unseating the first Louis anyway? Did it strike anyone else that Fouquet (forgive my spelling, I listened to the book on tape so I don't know if I am spelling the names correctly) is able to spirit the first Louis back out of the Bastille rather easily? Didn't Aramis put the fear of death in the governor of the Bastille's mind?
I don't want to be too critical, after all it's a novel, not a history. As such it was quite good. I thought it would have been better had the intrique with Philippe been more developed. The book seemed to drag a bit after he was put back in the Bastille. The last few chapters were very long obituaries for Athos and D'Artegnon. I am going to locate the other books in between and try to read them as well. I am also going to get some of the recent movie versions to see how Hollywood butchered the books.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Great Story - Read the Whole Thing, 6. Februar 1999
I was inspired to read The Man in the Iron Mask after seeing the movie (the one with DiCaprio). I hadn't realized that the Musketeers were part of the story and was very intrigued. Which plot lines were in the original and which were developed by Hollywood? Wow! Was I in for a surprise! The movie and the book tell different stories, but both are excellent, entertaining, and thought-provoking.
I appreciate books/series which show how the characters have aged and developed. Dumas does this with the musketeer series. D'Artagnan is no longer the wide-eyed "Gee, what could happen to me next?" hero of The Three Musketeers. He has to deal with questions of loyalty vs. friendship, support for the king vs. honor vs. love of his friends. There are still adventures and swordfights, but also more character conflicts. There is no simple nasty villain for the "good guys" to fight.
When I first read The Man in the Iron Mask (the movie tie-in edition), I was confused about who many of the characters were. The beginning didn't make much sense since it came in part-way through the story. The first line of the first chapter in particular confused me since it referred to events which I as the reader knew nothing about. The book makes a lot more sense when read as part of the whole series (The Three Musketeers, Twenty Years After, The Vicomte de Bragelonne, Louise de la Valliere, The Man in the Iron Mask).
I STRONGLY suggest reading the Oxford World Classics edition, which starts with earlier chapters than other published versions and includes scenes that make the story more understandable: Athos confronts the King, Aramis reveals himself as a Jesuit and scopes out the Bastille, D'Artagnan confronts the King... These are some of the best scenes in the book, and it is a shame that other publishers don't include them.
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4.0 von 5 Sternen Don't believe the hype, err, I mean, the movie., 5. August 1998
Von Ein Kunde
Unfortunately, in our society it often takes mass marketing and a popular icon (preferably from Hollywood or TV) to awaken our collective consciousness to a certain subject. Such is the case with Dumas' Man in the Iron Mask.
I deliberately steered clear of the version depicting the movie's actors (DiCaprio et al.) on the cover. When reading a book, I strongly dislike anyone other than the author creating my images for me. From what I'm told (I have yet to see the movie), the book and the movie are quite different. The movie introduces us to a masked prisoner from the onset, whereas the book makes no mention of an iron "mask" or "visor" until page 253 (Tor's unabridged paperback edition). On the contrary, "Phillipe" was the most highly regarded prisoner in the Bastille (I know that sounds like a contradiction in terms, but its not--he often dined on pheasant and truffles, and commanded a high annual maintenance fee for the governor of! the Bastille, Baisemeaux. He was not masked, or even shackled while a prisoner of the Bastille. Leather armchairs and velvet adorn his "accomodations." His "mask"-ing does not come until later, and with no small degree of drama). Therefore, those interested in the book may easily be misled. That's because The Man in the Iron Mask represents the last third of a much larger novel known as The Vicomte de Bragellone (a.k.a. Raoul, Athos' son). For all we know, Dumas had no intention of splitting up his work in the way that it has been. To simply open up to page one of The Man in the Iron Mask is analogous to opening up to page 600 in War and Peace. One cannot expect to know what happened in the previous 599 pages. The same holds for Man in the Iron Mask. It is simply impossible (in the absence of clairvoyance) to know what is going on without having read the previous installments.
For individuals who saw the movie, enjoyed it, and have similar expecta! tions for the book, I strongly suggest that you leave that ! baggage at the door, or I should say, at Dumas' introduction to the Three Musketeers (where this incomparable saga begins), and commence the literary adventure of a lifetime. The movie is simply a Hollywood contrivance based loosely around Dumas' novel.
The sequence of the novels is as follows: (1) The Three Musketeers (2) Twenty Years After (3) The Vicomte de Bragellone (which is usually divided into three volumes--Vicomte de Bragellone, Louise de la Valliere, and finally, The Man in the Iron Mask). 5 books in all.
Despite some unfortuante twists and turns, I have never enjoyed a series of books more than I have these (Lord of the Rings ranks a distant second). They get the highest possible recomendation. For those who have any appreciation for history, I strongly recommend the World Classics editions edited by David Coward. He painstakingly alerts the reader to historical accuracies and inaccuracies. He also explains certain things (i.e., historic! al characters, 17th century currency) that wouldn't, to the average reader, make sense.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Wonderful book! (But did the director read it?), 4. April 1998
Von Ein Kunde
Rezension bezieht sich auf: The Man in the Iron Mask (Taschenbuch)
What can I say. I bought this book *because* of the impending film (*g*) and rushed to finish it before the March 13 release date. I'm definately not sorry I did.
Dumas's writing just has a certain classic, captivating feel to it; I love his style and choice of words. His stories are always wonderfully descriptive, but they also manage to keep from being bogged down by needless details. His plots are complex but understandable, fast-paced but not rushed. All in all, a rather perfect balance of concepts. The Man in the Iron Mask was no exception. It told a wonderful, melodramatic story; it's more than just a lazy read, it is a book to pour your soul into.
Went to see the movie opening night and was rather disappointed. Some of the things they did to the plot were just *hideous*! (D'Artagnan?! Phillippe's... oh, nevermind.) But one thing I must give the movie credit for is the fascinating character study of Phillippe, someone who has only a brief and rather forgetable appearance in the novel.
I have come to accept that the book and the film are two completely separate creations, and once you do that, you can enjoy both. I encourage anyone to read it and enter a classic, timeless world of intrigue; and likewise, I recommend you see it, if only for DiCaprio's (*sigh!* Sorry bout that...) commendable performance and a lighter, intermittently humorous storyline. Just recognize that neither is anything much like the other.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen This is Dumas at his best!, 9. Mai 1999
Von Ein Kunde
I read Dumas' The Count of Monte Cristo when I was a freshman and fell totally in love with his writing and the story. Surprising then, that I didn't pick up more of his books till three years later, after seeing The Man in the Iron Mask the movie. Guess what, the book and the movie are nothing alike, (what a shocker) but the book is better in all ways. Only Dumas can capture the sense of history and timelessness that is in his novels. I admit that the beginning of The Man in the Iron Mask is confusing for those who haven't read the previous four books(it was for me) yet the story is a wonderful one, richly told and full of the adventure and excitement that Dumas puts into all his works. Within pages I was hooked on the book and found myself totally engrossed with characters I had never met before. It has all the qualities of a first-class adventure story: bravery, friendship, love, death, and an indefinable longing for the world to be somewhat better than it truly is. The plot has little to do with Philippe (The man in the iron mask) and deals with the last adventures of Athos, Porthos, Aramis, and d'Artagnan, and the ties of friendship which bind them together. I cried throughout the last fifty pages of the book. After finishing it, I immediately read the rest of the Musketeer series and have become a life-long fan. I recommend this book to anyone who has a sense a romance and adventure.
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3.0 von 5 Sternen A plot summary with reference to recent film versions., 10. Februar 1999
Von Ein Kunde
After watching the recent film I decided that I would read the original novel upon which it is loosely based. (when I say loosely I mean it.) Although the first page is confusing if you have not read the earlier part you can still pick up the plot easily. Initial confusion is added to since there are a great number of characters many of whom are not essential to the plot and some story lines do overlap with Louise de la Valliere. (The earlier part.)
Nevertheless Dumas captures portraits of the characters far more convincingly than in the movies which have adopted the theme. The reader is drawn into the cause adopted by Aramis and even at the end I was unable to decide if he truely wanted to save the unfortunate Phillipe or if he was using his power for his own personal gain.
I would reccomend this book since it is a tale of mystery, action and love.It does not move as quickly as any of the films but it does have a more tear-jerking climax (which unfortunately occurs just at the midpoint)especially for those who take the part of the usurper.If you've time to spare read this.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Only time could stop them, 17. Juni 1998
Von Ein Kunde
Rezension bezieht sich auf: The Man in the Iron Mask (Taschenbuch)
I won't lie. When I first read this book I felt terribly cheated. I had followed the adventures of the Four Musketeers for months. And then, Dumas reminded me that they could trick Richelieu and Mazarin, but they couldn't outsmart Louis XIV nor time.
Know something? I loved it!
This book isn't as fast-paced as the previous stories. It has lots more intrigue and romantic tension, since it's centered around Raoul de Bragelonne (Athos' son) and, as D'Artagnan says, the youngsters of Louis XIV's court aren't what they used to be. Neither the musketeers! Athos has become quieter, Aramis more mysterious, Porhos more innocent and D'Artagnan is tired of devoting his life to persons that forget him once they're powerful. Their final fight against time makes this a great book, even if during the final chapters I cried a lot. Any Musketeer lover would.
Finally, and for moviegoers, my advice: don't even try to compare the movie to this book. It's completely different, though the musketeers are nicely portrayed on it, and shouldn't be compared. Alternate realities, anyone?
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5.0 von 5 Sternen excellent, 6. Januar 1999
Von Ein Kunde
I adore this book as much as all books in this seires. It is a pity that there are many movies on the subject but niether of them convey real atmosphere of the 17th century France and its national dignity. I do not want to offend fans of Di Caprio but he is real weak for the role of Louis XIV. Besides, the story of love of the king and Louise de la Valliere deserves more attention than it is shown in the movie. I hope peole will read the book after watching different movies with the same title (I know about 4). Dumas talent to captivate a reader is amazing: I read all his musketeer books in a few days! It gave me an inspiration to read many French novels and historical books in order to find out more about that beautiful period of the French history and the birth of Versailles. I can recommend a book called "Molliere" by Jacques Bordonove, who writes with a real French spirit about the court of Louis XIV and where you may meet many familiar names : )
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5.0 von 5 Sternen The Greatest Traedy, 15. Juni 1999
This is the greatest tragedy I have ever read, in terms of strength of feeling, style of writing, and everything else that makes a story good. Two warnings: the book is hardly similar to the recent movie (which was a good movie, but the book is even better); and, if you haven't read the first four Musketeers books, "The Man in the Iron Mask" won't make much sense. The first books are "The Three Musketeers" (obviously), "Twenty Years After," "The Vicomte de Bragelonne," and "Louise de la Valliere." Without the middle books, which may be hard to find (my library had to special order them), you will hardly know the characters at all, but if you read all five, they will feel like your best friends. (Also, don't read the Introduction to the Oxford World Classics editions; it gives away the ending!) The last book had me crying the last hundred pages, at least. This is the greatest series of books ever written. --Abigail
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