Monday, 3 January 2011

Now Reading - The Man in the Iron mask by Roger Macdonald

Firstly I'd like to say Happy New Year to all my followers and readers, I hope you all had a great Christmas and a Happy new year. I'd also like to thank you all for visiting my blog in 2010 and I hope I can keep you all visiting my blog in 2011.
I read this book last year and have just started to re-read it again as I enjoyed it so much the first time. It’s fascinating finding out that Alexandre Dumas’s fictional tales of the Man in the Iron mask and the Three Musketeers are all based on fact, to which I was totally unaware. I found the book a little hard to follow in places, only because of all the French names, but the author has kindly written an index of all the famous names at the front of the book as a reminder.
I won't tell you too much about the book as it would spoil the surprise, but its all about the build up, as he (the author), prepares you to be aghast as to who he believes was the man in the iron mask. My favourite fact is that d’Artagnan, the future Duke of Marlborough and the soon to lose his head the Duke of Monmouth all fought side by side at the same siege.

“Alexandre Dumas said that his famous Three Musketeers never existed, but Athos, Aramis and Porthos were actually real flesh and blood. Their supposedly fictional duel with Cardinal Richelieu's guards actually took place in 1640 and Charles d'Artagnan, a teenager on his first day in Paris, fought alongside the Musketeers.
According to Oxford historian Macdonald, several other elements of the tale are also based in fact — the Cardinal's agent, Milady de Winter, really was an English aristocrat, and against all odds, the country boy without influence, d'Artagnan, did succeed in becoming Captain of the King's Musketeers, the only man whom Louis XIV could trust to arrest his over-mighty minister, Fouquet. It was d'Artagnan who escorted Fouquet to the feared Alpine fortress of Pignerol, wherein lived the most mysterious of all prisoners, the Man in the Iron Mask.
Macdonald has spent five years unraveling fact from fiction to reveal the true story of the Musketeers and their link with the Man in the Iron Mask. It is a reality more extraordinary than anything Dumas could devise. Honor and heroism, betrayal and intrigue, are set amidst the lust, jealousy, and deadly poisons that made the Sun King's court a world of glittering paranoia.”


  1. Very interesting. I'm going to have to check that out.

  2. I don't know enough about the Blenheim era. Will get to it when I've finished with the early Victorians (next up, Palmerston.)

    Captcha : witype. Why indeed?

  3. sounds good, might get around to reading that one day