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The Man in the Iron Mask is the final episode in the cycle of novels featuring Dumas' celebrated foursome of D'Artagnan, Athos, Porthos and Aramis, who first appeared in The Three Musketeers. Some thirty-five years on, the bonds of comradeship are under strain as they end up on different sides in a power struggle that may undermine the young Louis XIV and change the face of the French monarchy. In the fast-paced narrative style that was his trademark, Dumas pitches us straight into the action. What is the secret shared by Aramis and Madame de Chevreuse? Why does the Queen Mother fear its revelation? Who is the mysterious prisoner in the Bastille? And what is the nature of the threat he poses? Dumas, the master storyteller, keeps us reading and guessing until the climactic scene in the grotto of Locmaria, a fitting conclusion to the epic saga of the musketeers.
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About the Author

Alexandre Dumas (pere) (1802-1870) was the son of a distinguished General in the Republican Army. Interested in writing from an early age, Dumas left for Paris where he found work in the household of the Duc D'Orleans. He soon found success writing historical plays and gained important friendships, money and the Librarianship of the Palais Royale. By 1832 his plays were celebrated throughout France, but he contracted cholera and was sent to Switzerland to convalesce. There he took to writing travel books and eventually turned to fiction, primarily adventure stories and historical novels, for which he has an enduring reputation. Other titles by this remarkable author available in Wordsworth Classics: The Count of Monte Cristo and The Three Musketeers.

Reviews

Gr 9 Up-Each volume includes the abridged story plus a generous amount of additional information, including an illustrated list of characters, an author biography, time lines, and an article about film adaptations. Students who are writing reports and readers who move on to the original novels will be well served by these extras. SAT vocabulary words are defined in footnotes, which also clarify plot details or offer historical context. Fortunately the font is small enough to be ignored easily, so these notes do not interrupt the flow of the story. The drawings are fluid and expressive, with skillful shading and dark tones that emphasize the stories' drama. The square, horizontal paneling is not especially inventive, but it makes the texts easy to follow. While these titles might not be as popular as superhero and manga comics, they are accessible introductions to the classics, and should make life easier for reluctant readers.-Lisa Goldstein, Brooklyn Public Library, NY Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

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