The Dumas Club – Arturo Pérez-Reverte

The Dumas Club (1993) is quite an engrossing novel. At the center of the book is Lucas Corso, a book detective and a mercenary. He is charged with two tasks: to authenticate a supposed original chapter of Alexandre Dumas’s The Three Musketeers and to locate all three copies of a seventeenth-century manual for summoning the devil. As is customary with the works of Pérez-Reverte, characters die under very suspicious circumstances and the cast of supporting characters is very interesting. Each of Pérez-Reverte’s mysteries delves deeply into one or more themes or settings. In The Dumas Club, the setting is the world of antique and rare books; the theme is the life and works of Alexandre Dumas. It was as much fun following the plot as it was to learn about Alexandre Dumas and his peers.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Though at times, it seemed that the author was slow in tying up loose ends and closing down sub-plots. I also found issues with his portrayal of some of his women characters.  I think in his later books he creates better women characters. Bibliophiles will like this book. I don’t read a lot of mysteries but I do count Pérez-Reverte among my favorite authors of the genre. The novel is translated from the Spanish by Sonia Soto. A recommended read.

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8 comments

  1. I don’t usually read mysteries either, but if you say so, I’ll read this one if I get the chance. I’d love to find out more about Dumas as well. It’s a shame that the female characters weren’t to your satisfaction though.

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    • About Dumas: it turns out that he worked with collaborators. I never knew that. Found out in the book. The book also goes into the historical figures that Dumas used to inform his writing of The Three Musketeers.

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      • I’m a sucker for books that talk about the historical contexts of books! You just made it sound all that more appealing to me.

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      • Most of his book have such fascinating stuff. He researches and goes into such depths. It makes for fast reading. Grab one and let me know what you think.

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  2. Too bad that you had issues with the female characters, but other than that this book sounds really great. I definitely need to read more by Perez-Reverte if you think so highly of him!

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  3. I haven’t read anything by this author, but by coincidence I found Captain Alatriste on my book shelf yesterday and was wondering why I bought it! Have you read Captain Alatriste? Is it a good one to start with?

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    • I haven’t read any of the Captain Alatriste books. I’ve read The Fencing Master, The Flanders Panel and The Seville Communion. I enjoyed them all.

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