THREE MUSKETEERS AGAIN, BOOK II: D’ARTAGNAN IN THE BASTILLE: a high-stakes sequel to a good old-fashioned Musketeer yarn

Posted: May 12, 2019 in Uncategorized

In my previous review, I was talking about the excitement I felt when I found out that one of the classics of my late childhood/early adolescence, THE THREE MUSKETEERS, had a sequel from a probably unlikely source: an American writer with a Russian resonance to his name, Mr. Nikolay Kharin.
This review is a follow-up to the review for the first book, in which, of course, I will address the sequel.
Given the title, I would say it is rather obvious where his daring deeds have landed our favorite Gascon when the first epic novel was concluded. D’Artagnan is now in the most infamous of French prisons, due to the machinations of the ever-scheming Cardinal Richelieu. And it is up to his ever-faithful brothers-in-arms Athos, Porthos, and Aramis, to rescue him at all costs.

This is a big, brash, beautiful brick of a book. It is probably the fastest-moving sprawling epic novel I have ever had the chance to read, and there is so much happening in it that an adventure-hungry reader will find themselves in the closest place to Paradise they have ever been to. Conspiracies, spies, courtroom intrigues, mysterious religious orders, it is all there. I have to say, these two books are probably the most faithful to the style of any classic novel that I know of. I could swear that Mr. Kharin has some sort of a time-travel device and has had quite a few talks with Monsieur Dumas-pere. I think that these novels would really show that there is actually little need for fancy modernizations such as the 2011 CGI-heavy Paul W.S. Anderson affair that made the heroes look like something out of Assassin’s Creed. One just needs to simply understand the story and what made it tick in such a timeless manner that it excites anew while maintaining its sense of familiarity. I like comparing reading a good book to savoring the richest hot chocolate possible, letting the fullness of its sweet, smooth flavor delight your palate. This was the feeling this book gave me. I was always on the edge of my proverbial seat(or bed, given that I read this over two weekends, upon waking up), wanting to know how the Inseparable Four would continue their daring deeds. and most of all, how they would pull off the seemingly impossible task of freeing their faithful comrade. Since I like comparisons, if I could compare this book to a person, I would call it the literary equivalent of a super-heavyweight full-contact sport champion in his prime: it is deceptively nimble for its size, and it pulls absolutely no punches.
If you are looking for an adventure novel that will take you back to the good ol’days of dreaming about being a hero, and especially for proof that people still appreciate GOOD stories, regardless of their age, these two books are for you. Like its predecessor, THREE MUSKETEERS AGAIN, BOOK II, gets 10 out of 5.
Though Mr. Kharin was gracious enough to provide me with a copy of his work for review purposes, the views herein are my own, and I am proud to state so, and incredibly grateful too. Thank you, Mr. Kharin. Great, great job.

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