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The Red Sphinx is promoted as a “sequel” to The Three Musketeers. Though it might be placed in sequence to it as far as the timing of it, you will not meet any of the delightful four musketeers, nor will you be entertained as you might expect, especially if you read the full D’Artaganan set of books, culminating in The Man with the Iron Mask. We have a lot of Richelieu and Louis XIII and hear a lot about the intrigue in the court. But that’s the problem - we hear a lot: a lot of narrative, some dialog and conversation (way too much), we hear about way too many characters, but there is little action. The opening seems promising, but then the book gets bogged down and it takes a long time to revive interest, which occurs more than half way in, with the military campaign in Italy. Though the translator’s notes try to justify completing the story of the Comte de Moret with the novella The Dove, I found it totally unconvincing. Until that point, the Comte de Moret is a womanizer, being attracted to (and more) every pretty woman he meets. It was not at all convincing that he would become so besotted with Isabelle de Lautrec, be willing to take vows if they do not come together again, etc. Come on, this guy had the hots for every woman he saw. Further, The Dove was a drawn out presentation of an obvious conclusion, given the path that it started (which, as I said, did not seem characteristic of de Moret). The letters sent between the two lovers are repetitive and boring. We get it already. Move on. And that brings me to the narration. I found the narrator too machine-gun sounding in the way he read, and when it got to The Dove, the tone of Isabelle de Lautrec was grating - we know she is desperate, we know she is anxious, but it was just overdone and irritating to listen to.
I loved all the Musketeer books, I loved the Count of Monte Cristo. I will still read (or listen to) other books by Dumas. But this one was a huge disappointment, and I think the publishers and the translator try to make it sound much better than it is. Listening to the translator’s notes at the end, I felt this very much.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
A wonderful story but too many detailed and long-winded side stories and recitations of lineage and power trails for me. But if you like details, this is a good book for you.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
A gripping tale as you'd expect from Dumas and a great insight into Cardinal Richelieu. Do not expect any mention of D'artagnan however as the story does not include the musketeers. a great translation that retains the excitement as originally written.
Proper nouns frequently mispronounced or at least pronounced with a 'French' and not French accent. Couldn't listen beyond chapter 5. Ok for Pink Panther or Dogtagnan, not for Dumas even in English