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D'Artagnan Romance III-B In March 1844 the French magazine_Le Sicle,_ printed the first installment of a story by Alexandre Dumas. It was based, Dumas claimed, on some manuscripts he had found a year earlier in the Bibliotheque Nationale while researching a history he planned to write on Louis XIV. The serial chronicled the adventures of D'Artagnan-a young swordsman intent on joining the king's musketeers. Young D'Artagnan becomes embroiled in court intrigues, international politics, and ill-fated affairs between royal lovers. The book at hand is the second volume of the third serial. Louis XIV is well past the age where he should rule, but the ailing Cardinal Mazarin refuses to relinquish the reins of power. Meanwhile, Charles II, a king without a country, travels Europe seeking aid from his fellow monarchs. Athos still resides at La Fre while his son, Raoul de Bragelonne, has entered into the service in the household of M. le Prince. As for Raoul, he has his eyes on an entirely different object than his father-his childhood companion, Louise de la Valliere, with whom he is hopelessly in love. Porthos, now a baron, is off on some mysterious mission along with Aramis, who is now the Bishop of Vannes.