But fate also crosses D’Artagnan’s path with some dangerous people who become his opponents: a mysterious “man from Meung” and a woman who styles herself Milady, who has formidable seduction skills and a heart that is mean and violent. Fate also inserts D’Artagnan and his Musketeer friends squarely in the middle of a love triangle of heroic proportions – between Anne of Austria (the Queen of France), George Villiers (the Duke of Buckingham, France’s enemy), and the great spymaster, his Eminence the Cardinal Richelieu. Both of these gentlemen can command the armed forces of their respective countries to battle simply for the pleasure of beating the other. And the Musketeers must serve and risk life and limb at the siege of La Rochelle, a place where the Duke and the Cardinal have chosen to match wills.
In this age it was common for young cavaliers to live off the gifts of rich mistresses, and the four friends are certainly, it seems, bereft otherwise, although all are respectably employed as guardsmen to the King himself. Their love connections weave a further web about them which often seems to sidetrack their duty to King and country.
It takes all the efforts of the four to fend off the lethal consequences of mixing in the affairs of their betters and the slings and arrows (not to mention the musket and cannon balls!) of their outrageous fortunes. (Mark F. Smith)
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