The Three Musketeers ( ) is a novel by Alexandre Dumas, père, first serialized in March–July 1844. Set in the 17th century, it recounts the adventures of a young man named d'Artagnan after he leaves home to become a guard of the musketeer. D'Artagnan is not one of the musketeers of the title; those are his friends Athos, Porthos, and Aramis, inseparable friends who live by the motto "all for one, one for all" ("tous pour un, un pour tous").
The story of d'Artagnan is continued in Twenty Years After and The Vicomte of Bragelonne: Ten Years Later. Those three novels by Dumas are together known as the d'Artagnan Romances.
The Three Musketeers was first published in serial form in the magazine Le Siècle between March and July 1844.
In the very first sentences of his preface Alexandre Dumas indicated as his source Mémoires de Monsieur d'Artagnan, printed by Pierre Rouge in Amsterdam. It was in this book, he said, that d'Artagnan relates his first visit to M. de Tréville, captain of the Musketeers, where in the antechamber he met three young men with the names Athos, Porthos and Aramis. This information struck the imagination of Dumas so much—he tells us—that he continued his investigation and finally encountered once more the names of the three musketeers in a manuscript with the title Mémoire de M. le comte de la Fère, etc.. Elated—so continues his yarn—he asked permission to reprint the manuscript. Permission granted:
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