Imagine you are placidly driving your little Smart Car down the main street, when some jerk in a Porsche is pulling up next to you at the red light and insults the fuzzy dice hanging on your rear-view mirror and the unicorn sticker on your bumper. What do you do? Do you roll your eyes and keep driving, secretly wishing for the jerk to spin out at the next intersection? Or, do you ram him in the driver’s side and kill off a couple of his buddies jammed in the back seat? Normal people would just continue driving; Musketeers, apparently, prefer to live dangerously. Now imagine that you and your friends are totally broke because last night you crashed a party and woke up “wearing nothing but a poncho and a cowboy hat” somewhere in the desert. Do you eat ramen noodles for the next week until payday? Or do you feast in fancy restaurants and act insulted when a waiter tries to present you with a bill? Under normal circumstances you’d end up washing dishes in the back of the kitchen; Musketeers, apparently, guilt the restaurant owner into a complementary case of wine… Finally, imagine you want to take revenge on someone for kidnapping your girlfriend. Do you punch them in the face? Nah, musketeers jump in bed with the kidnapper!
Basically, this is a pretty accurate summary of the anti-heroic adventures of d’Artagnan and his three friends back in the seventeenth century France. With absolute disregard for laws, morals, and patriotism, these men eat, drink, and duel their way through any situation. You might think it would be hard to like such unethical characters, but their bravado and passion for life are contagious. If you have never read this book, drop whatever it is you’re doing right now (unless you’re reading this blog, of course) and treat yourself to this amazing adventure.
To dwell a bit in my nostalgia, I’ve grown up on the 1978 d’Artagnan and Three Musketeers Russian mini-series. O, the songs and the humor, and the heart-wrenching drama! I have yet to find a film adaptation in any language that would replace this wonderful little jewel of Soviet cinematography. As a kid, though, I’ve never read the novel. I am really not sure why, because my parents had it on their shelf practically all my life. A few years ago I tried to make up for this mishap by entering a readalong, but only got about halfway before setting it aside. That might sound as if I got bored of it and quit, but that’s not true. I think I have the mini-series to blame. I remembered really liking the first two episodes, up to the point where d’Artagnan comes back to France with the Queen’s diamond studs. Since the third episode was more serious and actually quite dramatic (and involving a hunt for Milady), the childish me wasn’t really all into it. So when the adult me reached the same point in the book, she got a bit suspicious and stopped. Then life happened, and I ended up forsaking this masterpiece for over a year. What a silly, silly girl I was, because now I feel like flipping the book open on the first page and reading it all over again. Instant favorite!