Strangely enough, this was actually the first book in the series that I read. I somehow hadn’t realized that the books were actually chronological rather than just thematically-related, and so I didn’t notice that it mattered. It was only after I read this book that I went back to the beginning of the series and started from there.
Probably the highlights of this book were the intrigue between La Valliere and the King and the one involving Aramis and the Bastille. It’s really still just a setup for the final events to come, but it was still far better and more interesting than The Vicomte de Bragelonne was. At least things were happening, and not just threatening to happen!
This is probably the most boring installment of the series, and it took me forever to read it. There are several plot arcs that are set up in this volume that come up again in more detail later. I know they’re necessary, but they still weren’t very interesting to me.
Until now, I hadn’t gotten around to reading the original books – the D’Artagnon Romances – that these are based on. And now I’m so glad that I have! There’s much more detail and nuance to the stories than a movie could ever portray, even if they had been made completely faithful to the source text. I feel like there’s a bit of the history of literature that I’m now more privy to than I was before.
I have to say – for me, it started off slow. I fully understand the kind of suspense that Priest was trying to create, and it probably works for most people; for me, though, maybe it’s because I watched the movie first and had my own ideas of how the narrative would be set up, but it just didn’t excite me like I had been expecting.