This final installment in Alexandre Dumas’ Three Musketeers adventures is based on a true story. In 17th-century France, a man was imprisoned for 34 years, his identity concealed behind a mask. In Dumas’ 1850 re-telling of the story, The Man in the Iron Mask, the prisoner is the twin brother of King Louis XIII, who is kept hidden to prevent civil war in the country. The Three Musketeers help the prisoner, Phillipe, escape and kidnap the king through a series of brilliantly conceived schemes, with each adventure leading to the next predicament. Walter Covell adopts an authoritative but lively tone in his performance of this classic adventure story.
Louis XIII had to be a Solomon. His queen produced twin male heirs - two sons of equal age with equal pretensions. Louis feared fro France. One prince means peace and safety for the state, two are a recipe for civil war and anarchy. One son had to go. Louis could not kill him, but he could hide him in an iron mask. Such is the quality of paternal mercy.This book was originally written as part of a sequel to The Three Musketeers. But in time, it developed a life of its own, and in recent years has always been published as a separate novel that stands on its own merits.