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Alexandre Dumas was born in the town of Villers-Cotterêts, in France, on the 24th July, 1802, the son of a general. In 1822 he moved to Paris where his relationship with a dressmaker resulted in the birth of an illegitimate son. Dumas was working as a scribe in the Palais Royal for the duc d’Orléans and had begun to write. On the 11th February, 1829 his Henry III and His Court was a huge success. Over the next ten years Dumas wrote many plays including Antony (1831) and La Tour The Tower of Nesle (1832). During this period he had also become involved in the July Revolution of 1830 as a republican partisan. In 1832 he left France for a tour of Switzerland, producing a travelogue while away.
In 1840 Dumas had a short-lived marriage to the actress Ida Ferrier (they separated in 1846), which did not stop his liaisons with other women or his extravagant lifestyle. Two years later Dumas (in collaboration with Auguste Maquet) serialised Le Chavlier d’Harmental in Le Siècle – the first of a series of historical romances. The two men worked together for some years, publishing many books which were serialised in the Parisian papers. It was during this period that Dumas wrote the d’Artagnan trilogy. However, his greatest success was The Count of Monte Cristo which was serialised between 1844 and 1845.
After taking on the Théâtre Historique (1847), which failed, Dumas faced bankruptcy and fled temporarily to Belgium. This was followed by four years in Naples working for the cause of Italian independence. In 1864 he returned to Paris and later began a flamboyant affair with a young American actress, Ada Menken. His last play, The Whites and the Blues opened in 1869. On the 5th December, 1870 Dumas said of death: ‘I shall tell her a story and she will be kind to me’. He died shortly afterwards near Dieppe, the author of more than three hundred volumes of novels, travel books, memoirs and plays.
December 2015 Book of the Month. What a lovely Christmas treat this book is, from the beautifully designed cover, to the Foreword by the translator Sarah Ardizzone all add to the richly dark, yet magical tale within. As you read the Foreword you realise this story has existed in different forms for centuries; the telling and re-telling of ’The Story of a Nutcracker' has almost taken on a life of its own. Alexandre Dumas has re-told E.T.A Hoffman’s 1816 ‘Nutcracker and the Mouse King’ and he in turn may have taken his inspiration from folk tales born in Eastern Europe. Dumas’s story is not a sugary sweet tale, it is slightly unnerving yet exciting, and full of strange and wondrous beings. As I discovered a story, within a story, within a story, and explored the wonder of Christmas past, then joined adventures to mysterious and spellbinding places, I relived the enchantment of childhood fairytales, that delivered a moral with a wicked little bite. This is a must for giving and sharing at any time of the year. ~ Liz Robinson
The young Gascon d'Artagnan and the legendary musketeers Athos, Porthos and Aramis are ready to sacrifice everything for love, glory and the common good. The wicked machinations of Cardinal Richelieu and his accomplice, the magnetic Milady de Winter, propel the devoted friends across seas and battlefields from masked balls to a remote convent, in order to defend the honour of the Queen and the life of Constance Bonacieux, d'Artagnan's true love. Dashing, knockabout, romantic, violent, chilling and tragic, this buoyant new translation of The Three Musketeers brings Dumas' masterpiece to joyful life.