List Of Contents | Contents of The Man in the Iron Mask, by Dumas, Pere
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the writings of both the Alexandre Dumases for some time now,
and since we get a few questions about the order in which the
books should be read, and in which they were published, these
following comments should hopefully help most of our readers.


The Vicomte de Bragelonne is the final volume of D'Artagnan Romances:
it is usually split into three or four parts, and the final portion
is entitled The Man in the Iron Mask.  The Man in the Iron Mask we're
familiar with today is the last volume of the four-volume edition.
[Not all the editions split them in the same manner, hence some of
the confusion. . .but wait. . .there's yet more reason for confusion.]

We intend to do ALL of The Vicomte de Bragelonne, split into four etexts
entitled The Vicomte de Bragelonne, Ten Years Later, Louise de la Valliere, and
The Man in the Iron Mask.

One thing that may be causing confusion is that the etext we have now,
entitled Ten Years Later, says it's the sequel to The Three Musketeers.
While this is technically true, there's another book, Twenty Years After, that
comes between.  The confusion is generated by the two facts that we published
Ten Years Later BEFORE we published Twenty Years After, and that many people see
those titles as meaning Ten and Twenty Years "After" the original story. .
.however, this is why the different words "After" and "Later". . .the Ten
Years "After" is ten years after the Twenty Years later. . .as per history.
Also, the third book of the D'Artagnan Romances, while entitled The Vicomte de
Bragelonne, has the subtitle Ten Years Later.  These two titles are also given
to different volumes: The Vicomte de Bragelonne can refer to the whole book,
or the first volume of the three or four-volume editions.  Ten Years Later
can, similarly, refer to the whole book, or the second volume of the four-
volume edition.  To add to the confusion, in the case of our etexts, it refers
to the first 104 chapters of the whole book, covering material in the first
and second etexts in the new series.  Here is a guide to the series which may
prove helpful:

The Three Musketeers: Etext 1257 - First book of the D'Artagnan Romances.
Covers the years 1625-1628.

Twenty Years After: Etext 1259 - Second book of the D'Artagnan Romances.
Covers the years 1648-1649.
[Third in the order that we published, but second in time sequence!!!]

Ten Years Later: Etext 1258 - First 104 chapters of the third book of the
D'Artagnan Romances.
Covers the years 1660-1661.

The Vicomte de Bragelonne: Etext 2609 (first in the new series) - First 75
chapters of the third book of the D'Artagnan Romances.
Covers the year 1660.

Ten Years Later: Etext 2681 (second in the new series) - Chapters 76-140 of
that third book of the D'Artagnan Romances.
Covers the years 1660-1661.
[In this particular editing of it]

Louise de la Valliere: Etext 2710 (third in the new series) - Chapters 141-208
of the third book of the D'Artagnan Romances.
Covers the year 1661.

The Man in the Iron Mask: Etext 2759 (our next text) - Chapters 209-269 of the
third book of the D'Artagnan Romances.
Covers the years 1661-1673.

Here is a list of the other Dumas Etexts we have published so far:

Sep 1999 La Tulipe Noire, by Alexandre Dumas[Pere#6/French][]1910
This is an abridged edition in French, also see our full length English Etext
Jul 1997 The Black Tulip, by Alexandre Dumas[Pere][Dumas#1][] 965
Jan 1998 The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas[Pere][]1184

Many thanks to Dr. David Coward, whose editions of the D'Artagnan Romances
have proved an invaluable source of information.

In the months of March-July in 1844, in the magazine Le Siecle, the first
portion of a story appeared, penned by the celebrated playwright
Alexandre Dumas.  It was based, he claimed, on some manuscripts he had
found a year earlier in the Bibliotheque Nationale while researching a
history he planned to write on Louis XIV.  They chronicled the adventures of a
young man named D'Artagnan who, upon entering Paris, became almost immediately
embroiled in court intrigues, international politics, and ill-fated affairs
between royal lovers.  Over the next six years, readers would enjoy the
adventures of this youth and his three famous friends, Porthos, Athos, and
Aramis, as their exploits unraveled behind the scenes of some of the most
momentous events in French and even English history.

Eventually these serialized adventures were published in novel form, and
became the three D'Artagnan Romances known today.  Here is a brief summary of
the first two novels:

The Three Musketeers (serialized March - July, 1844): The year is 1625.
The young D'Artagnan arrives in Paris at the tender age of 18, and almost
immediately offends three musketeers, Porthos, Aramis, and Athos.  Instead of
dueling, the four are attacked by five of the Cardinal's guards, and the
courage of the youth is made apparent during the battle.  The four become fast
friends, and, when asked by D'Artagnan's landlord to find his missing wife,
embark upon an adventure that takes them across both France and England in
order to thwart the plans of the Cardinal Richelieu.  Along the way, they
encounter a beautiful young spy, named simply Milady, who will stop at nothing
to disgrace Queen Anne of Austria before her husband, Louis XIII, and take her
revenge upon the four friends.

Twenty Years After (serialized January - August, 1845): The year is now
1648, twenty years since the close of the last story.  Louis XIII has
died, as has Cardinal Richelieu, and while the crown of France may sit
upon the head of Anne of Austria as Regent for the young Louis XIV, the
real power resides with the Cardinal Mazarin, her secret husband.
D'Artagnan is now a lieutenant of musketeers, and his three friends have
retired to private life.  Athos turned out to be a nobleman, the Comte de la
Fere, and has retired to his home with his son, Raoul de Bragelonne.  Aramis,
whose real name is D'Herblay, has followed his intention of shedding the
musketeer's cassock for the priest's robes, and Porthos has married a wealthy
woman, who left him her fortune upon her death.  But trouble is stirring in
both France and England.  Cromwell menaces the institution of royalty itself
while marching against Charles I, and at home the Fronde is threatening to
tear France apart.  D'Artagnan brings his friends out of retirement to save
the threatened English monarch, but Mordaunt, the son of Milady, who seeks to
avenge his mother's death at the musketeers' hands, thwarts their valiant
efforts.  Undaunted, our heroes return to France just in time to help save the
young Louis XIV, quiet the Fronde, and tweak the nose of Cardinal Mazarin.

The third novel, The Vicomte de Bragelonne (serialized October, 1847 
January, 1850), has enjoyed a strange history in its English
translation.  It has been split into three, four, or five volumes at
various points in its history.  The five-volume edition generally does
not give titles to the smaller portions, but the others do.  In the three-
volume edition, the novels are entitled The Vicomte de Bragelonne, Louise de
la Valliere, and The Man in the Iron Mask.  For the purposes of this etext, I
have chosen to split the novel as the four-volume edition does, with these
titles: The Vicomte de Bragelonne, Ten Years Later, Louise de la Valliere, and
The Man in the Iron Mask.  In the first two etexts:

The Vicomte de Bragelonne (Etext 2609): It is the year 1660, and
D'Artagnan, after thirty-five years of loyal service, has become
disgusted with serving King Louis XIV while the real power resides with
the Cardinal Mazarin, and has tendered his resignation.  He embarks on
his own project, that of restoring Charles II to the throne of England,
and, with the help of Athos, succeeds, earning himself quite a fortune in the
process.  D'Artagnan returns to Paris to live the life of a rich citizen, and
Athos, after negotiating the marriage of Philip, the king's brother, to
Princess Henrietta of England, likewise retires to his own estate, La Fere.
Meanwhile, Mazarin has finally died, and left Louis to assume the reigns of
power, with the assistance of M. Colbert, formerly Mazarin's trusted clerk.
Colbert has an intense hatred for M. Fouquet, the king's superintendent of
finances, and has resolved to use any means necessary to bring about his
fall.  With the new rank of intendant bestowed on him by Louis, Colbert
succeeds in having two of Fouquet's loyal friends tried and executed.  He then
brings to the king's attention that Fouquet is fortifying the island of Belle-
Ile-en-Mer, and could possibly be planning to use it as a base for some
military operation against the king.  Louis calls D'Artagnan out of retirement
and sends him to investigate the island, promising him a tremendous salary and
his long-promised promotion to captain of the musketeers upon his return.  At
Belle-Isle, D'Artagnan discovers that the engineer of the fortifications is,
in fact, Porthos, now the Baron du Vallon, and that's not all.  The blueprints
for the island, although in Porthos's handwriting, show evidence of another
script that has been erased, that of Aramis.  D'Artagnan later discovers that
Aramis has become the bishop of Vannes, which is, coincidentally, a parish
belonging to M. Fouquet.  Suspecting that D'Artagnan has arrived on the king's
behalf to investigate, Aramis tricks D'Artagnan into wandering around Vannes
in search of Porthos, and sends Porthos on an heroic ride back to Paris to
warn Fouquet of the danger.  Fouquet rushes to the king, and gives him Belle-
Isle as a present, thus allaying any suspicion, and at the same time
humiliating Colbert, just minutes before the usher announces someone else
seeking an audience with the king.

Ten Years Later (Etext 2681): As 1661 approaches, Princess Henrietta of
England arrives for her marriage, and throws the court of France into
complete disorder.  The jealousy of the Duke of Buckingham, who is in
love with her, nearly occasions a war on the streets of Le Havre,

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