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Twenty Years After
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Twenty Years After

Twenty Years After (Vingt ans après) is a novel by Alexandre Dumas, père.

This sequel to The Three Musketeers and a book of the so-called D'Artagnan Romances (the third and last book being The Vicomte de Bragelonne) was serialized from January to August, 1845.

Table of contents
1 Synopsis
2 References
3 External links

Synopsis

Warning: Plot details follow.

The action begins under Queen Anne of Austria regency and Cardinal Mazarin ruling. D'Artagnan, who seemed to have a promising career ahead of him at the end of The Three Musketeers, has for twenty years remained a lieutenant in the Musketeers, and seems unlikely to progress, despite his ambition and the debt the queen owes him. By chance, however, he is summoned by Mazarin, who requires an escort, as the French people detest Mazarin, and are on the brink of rebellion. D'Artagnan is sent to the Bastille to retrieve a prisoner, who turns out to be his old friend and former adversary, Rochefort.

Rochefort is brought to his audience with Mazarin, after renewing his acquaintance with D'Artagnan and making a promise to aid his advancement, where he learns that the cause for his imprisonment was his refusal to serve Mazarin at an earlier stage. He does, however, remember his promise, and though he offers his own service to Mazarin, he soon learns that he is to be returned to the Bastille, though this does not deter him from speaking highly of the achievements of D'Artagnan and the Three Musketeers.

Having determined that D'Artagnan was the man he sought, Mazarin enters the chambers of the Queen to let her know that he has enlisted the man who had served her so well twenty years earlier. The Queen, feeling guilty for having forgotten D'Artagnan's service, gives Mazarin a diamond ring which she had previously given D'Artagnan to be returned to him, which D'Artagnan had sold in her service. The avaricious Mazarin, however, merely uses the diamond to show D'Artagnan that he is once again to enter the Queen's service. He commissions D'Artagnan to go in search of his friends.

D'Artagnan is at a loss; he has completely lost touch with his friends, who have resumed their real names. Athos, the Comte de la Fère, had returned to his estate near Blois; Porthos, Monsieur du Vallon, had married the lawyers wife; and Aramis, the Abbé d'Herblay, had returned to the church. Fortune intervenes, however, when Planchet, his old servant, enters D'Artagnan's chambers, attempting to escape arrest for aiding the escape of Rochefort. Through Planchet, he locates Bazin, Aramis' old servant, now beadle at Notre Dame. Though Bazin is unwilling to help, D'Artagnan is able to find out, through an altar boy, that Bazin makes frequent visits to Noisy. D'Artagnan and Planchet go there, where they are set upon by a group who think them Frondeurs while outside the house of Madame de Longueville. When this group is statisfied that D'Artagnan is not the man they seek, Aramis surprises Planchet by dropping onto his horse from the tree in which he had been hiding.

Though D'Artagnan finds, through the decoration of Aramis' chambre, that the former musketeer who had thought of little other than being a priest is now a priest who thinks of little other than being a soldier, Aramis is not willing to enter into Mazarin's service. When the time for departure comes, D'Artagnan waits in hiding, suspecting that Aramis is the Frondeur who had been sought earlier, and is the lover of Madame de Longueville; a suspicion which is confirmed.

The visit to Aramis was not fruitless, as it yielded the address of Porthos. When D'Artagnan arrives at Porthos' estate he finds Mousqueton, who is overjoyed to meet D'Artagnan and Planchet. He finds that Porthos, despite his wealth and life spent in pursuit of amusement, is not happy. Porthos desires a title, and with this bait D'Artagnan lures him into Mazarin's service.

D'Artagnan then continues on his search, seeking Athos, who he finds almost completely changed, to be an example to his ward, Raoul. Though Athos will not be enlisted into Mazarin's service, the two arrange to meet again in Paris; Athos wishes to bring Raoul there to help him to become a gentleman, and also to separate him from Louise de Valliere, who Raoul is obsessed with. In Paris, Porthos visits Madame de Chevreuse, the former mistress of Aramis, with whom, under the name Marie Michon, Aramis had much communication in The Three Musketeers. Athos reveals, discreetly, that Raoul is the son born of a chance encounter he had with her, and through her gets a letter of recommendation for Raoul to join the army.

The scene then changes, to focus on the Duc de Beaufort, Mazarin's prisoner at Vicennes, who finds a new jailer, Athos' servant, the silent Grimaud. Grimaud instantly makes himself disagreeable to the Duc, as part of an escape plot. Using messages passed to Rochefort using tennis balls, they arrange to have a meal on Whitsuntide, to which La Ramée, second in command of the prison, is invited. The escape is successful, but D'Artagnan and Porthos are in pursuit.

After a race against time, and having defeated several adversaries along the way, Porthos and D'Artagnan find themselves in the dark, surrounded, with swords crossed against adversaries equal to them, who are revealed to be Athos and Aramis. The four arrange to meet in Paris at the Place Royale, both parties, now finding themselves enemies, enter fearing a duel, but they reconcile and renew their vows of friendship.

As this is going on, Raoul is travelling to join the army. Along the road he sees a gentleman of around the same age, and tries to make haste to join him. The other gentleman reaches the ferry before him, but is thrown into the river. Raoul, who is used to fording rivers, saves the gentleman, the Comte de Guiche, and the two become friends. Further along the road, the debt is repaid when the Comte saves Raoul when they are attacked by Spanish soldiers. After the fight, they find a man who is close to death, who requests the last rites. They help him to a nearby inn, and find a travelling monk. This monk is unpleasant to them, and does not seem inclined to perform this service, so they force him to go to the inn. Once there, the monk hears the confession. The dying man reveals that he was the executioner of Béthune, and confesses his part in the execution of Milady. The monk reveals himself as her son, and stabs the executioner.

Grimaud, who is to join Raoul, comes upon the inn just as this is taking place, though too late to prevent it, or to detain the monk. After hearing what happened from the dying man, making his excuses to Raoul, he departs to warn Athos about the son of Milady. After his departure, Raoul and Guiche are forced to retreat when the Spanish come upon the town. After joining the army of the Prince de Condé Raoul provides assitance in interrogating the prisoner brought by Guiche and him, when the prisoner feigns to misunderstand them in several languages. Once they have learned the location of the Spanish army, they set out for battle, Raoul accompanying the Prince.

References

External links