The fourth book in the D'Artagnan Romances series. D'Artagnan, a young swordsman intent on joining the king's musketeers, becomes embroiled in court intrigues, international politics, and ill-fated affairs between royal lovers. The book at hand is the second volume of the third serial. Louis XIV is well past the age where he should rule, but the ailing Cardinal Mazarin refuses to relinquish the reins of power. Meanwhile, Charles II, a king without a country, travels Europe seeking aid from his fellow monarchs. Athos still resides at La Fère while his son, Raoul de Bragelonne, has entered into the service in the household of M. le Prince. As for Raoul, he has his eyes on an entirely different object than his father – his childhood companion, Louise de la Valliere, with whom he is hopelessly in love. Porthos, now a baron, is off on some mysterious mission along with Aramis, who is now the Bishop of Vannes.
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Alexandre Dumas (1802 – 1870) demonstrated his propensity for literature early on, despite the lack of education and wealth he received as a result of his father's early death when Dumas was four. Dumas had his first play, Henry III and His Courts, produced in 1829 and was immediately met with widespread acclaim. Following the end of press censorship in France, Dumas began first writing novels, eventually founding a production studio, allowing him to publish hundreds of stories penned by a staff of writers under his guidance. Although he was married in 1840, he was said to have had around forty affairs, including one with the highest paid American actress at the time, Adah Isaacs Menken. During the election of Napoléon Bonaparte, he had to leave France and lived in Belgium, Russia and Italy before returning to Paris thirteen years later and lived there until his death in 1870. Dumas rarely addressed his African ancestry but when insulted because of it, famously replied,
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