Twenty Years After by Alexandre Dumas is the sequel to The Three Musketeers. This is an even more political novel than its prequel, but continues to retain its enthrallment and thrilling plot. Personally, I think this is one of the best sequels ever penned. The plot takes place in both France and England, this book contains executions, battles, riots, prison escapes, and explosions. Dumas’s writing style has yet to disappoint me.
The story takes place twenty years after The Three Musketeers. Cardinal Richelieu and King Louis XIII are dead, succeeded by Cardinal Mazarin and King Louis XIV, respectively. France is on the verge of a civil war with incessant rebellion against the Cardinal, who supposedly holds all the power, as the King, being only ten years old, cannot rule. The Quartet have gone their own separate ways, with only d’Artagnan remaining with the Musketeers. Porthos has retired to the countryside with his inherited fortune, Athos has adopted a child and retired to his estate, and Aramis has retired to a convent as an abbé.
One day, Cardinal Mazarin asks d’Artagnan to retrieve the Comte de Rochefort out of the Bastille. When the comte is brought to the Cardinal, he lauds the service which d’Artagnan and his friends did to Queen Anne of Austria twenty years ago, which arises curiosity. Hence, the Cardinal goes the Queen’s quarters and interrogates her about d’Artagnan and his friends. The Queen recalls the valor of the famous quartet. Mazarin is astonished and wants d’Artagnan to find his friends. After reuniting, the quartet learn that Milady’s son, Mordaunt, has returned to wreak havoc on the face of the earth. The quartet swear to bring justice to him.
This story, aforementioned, has more politics than its prequel, for Dumas now focuses on the court affairs of England and France. There will be many references to historical events, such as the Fronde (the setting of this story), Oliver Cromwell, the social sentiments on a corrupt French government, and even wars besides the Fronde. There are a handful of times where Dumas goes into such detail of French and English politics that the story will feel dull. However, Dumas, quite contrary to The Three Musketeers, has deviated more towards politics, and thus such punctiliousness is not unexpected.
I would recommend this book to people who have read The Three Musketeers and liked it; or for those who love adventure. If you have not read The Three Musketeers and want to read Twenty Years After, I highly suggest that you read the prequel because everything will make more sense. This book is a terrific sequel to one of the greatest adventure novels ever penned. The only edition still in print is the Oxford World’s Classics edition. The translation is anonymous, but it is very much readable. Nevertheless, I would recommend that you buy this book and get transported back into seventeenth-century France and experience the perilous and enthralling adventure through the perspective of Alexandre Dumas, one of the greatest French authors of all time.