Vicomte de Bragelonne, Le PDF

It is the third and last of The vicomte de Bragelonne, Le PDF’Artagnan Romances, following The Three Musketeers and Twenty Years After. It appeared first in serial form between 1847 and 1850. The principal heroes of the novel are the musketeers.

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The novel’s length finds it frequently broken into smaller parts. The narrative is set between 1660 and 1673 against the background of the transformation of Louis XIV from child monarch to Sun King. After 35 years of loyal service, d’Artagnan resigns as lieutenant of the Musketeers as he perceives the young king Louis XIV as weak-willed. He resolves to aid the exiled Charles II to retake the throne of England, unaware that Athos is attempting the same. In France, Cardinal Mazarin has died, leaving Louis to assume power with Jean-Baptiste Colbert as his finance minister. Colbert has an intense hatred for his superior the king’s Superintendent of Finances, Nicolas Fouquet, and tries to bring about his fall.

D’Artagnan confirms that Belle Île is being fortified and the architect ostensibly in charge is Porthos, though the blueprints show the handwriting of Aramis, who is now the bishop of Vannes. Aramis, suspicious of d’Artagnan, sends Porthos back to Paris to warn Fouquet, whilst tricking d’Artagnan into searching for Porthos around Vannes. This part mostly concerns romantic events at the court of Louis XIV. Raoul de Bragelonne finds his childhood sweetheart, Louise de La Vallière, is maid of honour to the Princess.