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Bill Homewood is a wonderful narrator and has done thrilling versions of books by Alexandre Dumas and Victor Hugo. And his narration here is first-rate. But the text itself is a puzzle. The Man in the Iron Mask is actually part of a much larger novel by Dumas, The Vicomte de Bragelonne. Different editors divide the book up in different ways. The particular version selected for this recording begins incoherently: Aramis is visiting Philippe in the Bastille, but all indications of context have been lopped off the front. For example, the first sentence is: "Since Aramis's singular transformation into a confessor of the order, Baisemeaux was no longer the same man." What order? Who is Baisemeaux? The next sentence goes on to talk about the "the place which Aramis held in the worthy governor's estimation." Governor of what? Is he still talking about Baisemeaux or someone else? The narrator mentions "the turnkey, the same who, on Aramis's first arrival, had shown himself so inquisitive and curious." Wait - this isn't his first visit? Which turnkey? Is Baisemeaux the turnkey? What was he curious about? "In this wise they reached the basement of the Bertaudiere." Um.... OK.... what's the Bertaudiere? And why are they in the basement?
Continued listening will clarify the context, but I found myself irritated by this unnecessarily rocky start. Granted this is a widely available "editor's cut" of the novel, but there ARE other versions that begin in a less confusing way. Naxos usually takes more care in choosing editions of non-English works.
For those who are interested, all parts of the massive Vicomte de Bragelonne have been recorded in an excellent version by Simon Vance.
9 of 9 people found this review helpful
Do not think that is anything like the movie or that it has much of anything to do with the plot concerning a young man in an iron mask. Much like the scene of Me Lady and her Jailor in The Three Musketeers, the focus draws to long upon dismal ill fate. The overall feel of the book could be expressed, "Oh no! - Well, at least I can remember back when they had good fortune and comradery.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful