Books

The Story of a Nutcracker

Sarah Ardizzone (and others)

‘How could you imagine, silly child, that this toy, which is made of cloth and wood, could possibly be alive?’

The nutcracker doll that mysterious Godfather Drosselmeyer gives to little Marie for Christmas is no ordinary toy. On Christmas Eve, as the clocks strike midnight, Marie watches as the Nutcracker and her entire cabinet of playthings come to life and boldly do battle against the malevolent Mouse King and his armies.

But this is only the start of the tale.

Read on for enchantment and transformation; enter a world by turns fantastical and sinister, a kingdom of dolls and spun-sugar palaces, and learn the true history of the brave little Nutcracker.

Adapted from a dark fairy-tale by E.T.A. Hoffmann, Alexandre Dumas’ romance of childhood imagination inspired Tchaikovsky’s world-famous ballet. Brilliantly adapted by translator Sarah Ardizzone and illuminated by Kitty Arden, this is the perfect Christmas gift for readers of all ages.

The Three Musketeers

Alexandre Dumas

The young D’Artagnan and the legendary musketeers Athos, Porthos and Aramis are 'the inseparables' - ready to sacrifice everything in a duel or game of dice in order to defend their honour or that of the King and Queen of France. Handsome and hot-tempered, they dive into raging battles or back-street conspiracies with gusto, especially if by their daring deeds they can thwart the wicked devices of their arch-enemy, Cardinal Richelieu, and his mysterious accomplice, Milady de Winter.

All for one, and one for all!

The Three Musketeers

Alexandre Dumas (and others)

The young Gascon d'Artagnan and the legendary musketeers Athos, Porthos and Aramis are ready to sacrifice everything for love, glory and the common good. The wicked machinations of Cardinal Richelieu and his accomplice, the magnetic Milady de Winter, propel the devoted friends across seas and battlefields from masked balls to a remote convent, in order to defend the honour of the Queen and the life of Constance Bonacieux, d'Artagnan's true love.

Dashing, knockabout, romantic, violent, chilling and tragic, this buoyant new translation of The Three Musketeers brings Dumas' masterpiece to joyful life.

The Lady of the Camellias

Alexandre Dumas (and others)

The landmark novel that inspired both Verdi's opera La Traviata and the Oscar-winning musical Moulin Rouge!, in a sparkling new translation.

One of the greatest love stories of all time, The Lady of the Camellias recounts the history of Marguerite Gautier, the most beautiful, brazen, and expensive courtesan in all of Paris. Known to all as 'the Lady of the Camellias' because she is never seen without her favourite flowers, she leads a glittering life of endless parties and aristocratic balls, with the richest men in France flocking to her boudoir to lay their fortunes at her feet. But despite having many lovers, she has never really loved - until she meets Armand Duval, young, handsome and from a lower social class, and yet hopelessly in love with Marguerite.

ALEXANDRE DUMAS fils (1824-1895) was the son of the famous novelist Alexandre Dumas. In 1847 he published his first novel, Adventures of Four Women and a Parrot, followed a year later by The Lady of the Camellias and ten other novels over the next decade. After the great success of the dramatic version of The Lady of the Camellias, he was gradually drawn away from the novel to the stage. In 1874 he was elected to the French Academy and until his death continued to produce a long line of successful plays.

LIESL SCHILLINGER is a journalist and literary critic who writes regularly for The New York Times Book Review and spent many years on the editorial staff of The New Yorker.

JULIE KAVANAGH is the author of The Girl Who Loved Camellias, a biography of the courtesan who inspired The Lady of the Camellias. An award-winning biographer of Rudolf Nureyev and Frederick Ashton, she has been London editor of both Vanity Fair and The New Yorker.

'One of the greatest love stories of the world' Henry James

'Anyone who has read an outdated English translation of this novel; seen the opera it inspired - La Traviata, by Verdi; or watched the film it inspired - Camille, starring Greta Garbo, might have missed the audacity, obstinacy, sensuality, and recklessness of its characters' Liesl Schillinger

Ladybird Classics: The Three Musketeers

Alexandre Dumas (and others)

This Ladybird Classic is an abridged retelling of the classic story of The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas, making it perfect for introducing the story to younger children, or for newly confident readers to tackle alone.

Beautiful new illustrations throughout and a gorgeous larger format with ribbon marker bring the magic of this classic story to a new generation of children.

The Count of Monte Cristo

Alexandre Dumas (and others)

A beautiful new clothbound edition of Alexandre Dumas' classic novel of wrongful imprisonment, adventure and revenge. Thrown in prison for a crime he has not committed, Edmond Dantes is confined to the grim fortress of the Château d'If. There he learns of a great hoard of treasure hidden on the Isle of Monte Cristo and becomes determined not only to escape but to unearth the treasure and use it to plot the destruction of the three men responsible for his incarceration. A huge popular success when it was first serialized in the 1840s, Dumas was inspired by a real-life case of wrongful imprisonment when writing his epic tale of suffering and retribution.

Stop What You’re Doing and Read…Epic Page-turners: The Count of Monte Cristo & Les Miserables

Alexandre Dumas (and others)

To mark the publication of Stop What You're Doing and Read This!, a collection of essays celebrating reading, Vintage Classics are releasing 12 limited edition themed ebook 'bundles', to tempt readers to discover and rediscover great books.

THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO
Imprisoned for a crime he didn't commit, Edmond Dantès spends fourteen bitter years in a dungeon. When his daring escape plan works he uses all he has learnt during his incarceration to mastermind an elaborate plan of revenge that will bring punishment to those he holds responsible for his fate. No longer the naïve sailor who disappeared into the dark fortress all those years ago, he reinvents himself as the charming, mysterious and powerful Count of Monte Cristo...

LES MISERABLES
Sensational, dramatic, packed with rich excitement and filled with the sweep and violence of human passions, Les Misérables is one of the greatest adventure stories ever told. It is a novel peopled by colourful characters from the nineteenth-century Parisian underworld; the street children, the prostitutes and the criminals. In telling the story of escaped convict Jean Valjean, and his efforts to reform his ways and care for the little orphan girl he rescues from a life of cruelty, Victor Hugo drew attention to the plight of the poor and oppressed. Les Miserables is a masterful detective story, a comic and tragic story of romance and revolution and, ultimately, a tale of redemption and hope.

The Three Musketeers

Alexandre Dumas

'Pure swashbuckling pleasure' Daily Telegraph

The young D'Artagnan travels to Paris determined to join King Louis XIII's elite guards. Hot-headed and raring to prove himself, D'Artagnan challenges three strangers to a duel. These strangers are none other than the daring band of Musketeers - Porthos, Athos and Aramis. D'Artagnan's fearless spirit impresses them and the Musketeers take him under their wing. Soon, the wicked plots of Cardinal Richelieu and Milady de Winter propel the four musketeers to adventures on horseback, across seas and over rooftops to defend the honour of the Queen and protect the life of the King. This is a rousing tale of thrilling swordplay and royal intrigue, brave friends and the basest treachery.

See also: The Count of Monte Cristo

From Absinthe to Zest: An Alphabet for Food Lovers

Alexandre Dumas

As well as being the author of The Three Musketeers, Alexandre Dumas was also an enthusiastic gourmand and expert cook. His Grand Dictionnaire de Cuisine, published in 1873, is an encyclopaedic collection of ingredients, recipes and anecdotes, from Absinthe to Zest via cake, frogs' legs, oysters, Roquefort and vanilla. Included here are recipes for bamboo pickle and strawberry omelette, advice on cooking all manner of beast from bear to kangaroo brought together in a witty and gloriously eccentric culinary compendium.

The Three Musketeers

Alexandre Dumas (and others)

THE THREE MUSKETEERS has proved enduringly popular for more than a century and a half. Inspiration for many a movie and TV adaptation, this swashbuckling epic of chivalry, honour and derring-do, set in France during the 1620s, is satisfyingly peopled with romantic heroes, unattainable heroines, kings, queens, cavaliers and criminals, and contains in abundance adventure, espionage, conspiracy, murder, vengeance, love, scandal and suspense. Taking as its starting point the memoirs of the historical Comte d'Artagnan, Dumas's imagination transforms the bit-players of history into larger-than-life characters: d'Artagnan himself, the impetuous young man in pursuit of glory but ever ready to respond to an insult; the beguilingly evil seductress 'Milady' (entirely his own creation) and of course the Three Musketeers of the title, Athos, Porthos and Aramis, whose motto 'all for one, one for all' has come to epitomize devoted friendship. Interwoven amongst them are vivid fictionalized portraits of major historical figures, amongst them the powerful and devious Cardinal Richelieu, the weak and ineffectual Louis XIII and Anne of Austria, his unhappy Spanish queen. Throw in some stolen diamonds, masked balls, purloined letters, a crumbling medieval prison and a great deal of sword-fighting together with a gripping plot, tremendous narrative drive and a hint of discreet humour, and you have a book totally impossible to put down.

The Count of Monte Cristo

Alexandre Dumas

Imprisoned for a crime he didn't commit, Edmond Dantès spends fourteen bitter years in a dungeon. When his daring escape plan works he uses all he has learnt during his incarceration to mastermind an elaborate plan of revenge that will bring punishment to those he holds responsible for his fate. No longer the naïve sailor who disappeared into the dark fortress all those years ago, he reinvents himself as the charming, mysterious and powerful Count of Monte Cristo...

The Count of Monte Cristo

Alexandre Dumas (and others)

On the day of his wedding, Edmond Dantes, master mariner, is arrested in Marseille on trumped-up charges and spirited away to the cellars of the Chateau d'If, an impregnable sea fortress in which he is imprisoned indefinitely. Escaping from the chateau by a series of daring manoeuvres, he unearths a great treasure on the island of Monte Cristo, buried there by a former fellow prisoner who bequeaths to him the secret of its whereabouts. Thus armed with unimaginable wealth and embittered by his long imprisonment, he resolves to devote his life to tracking down and punishing those responsible.
This classic nineteenth-century translation has been revised and updated by Peter Washington, with an introduction by award-winning novelist Umberto Eco.

The Three Musketeers

Alexandre Dumas (and others)

Alexandre Dumas' thrilling tale of bravery, brotherhood and the triumph of good over evil, The Three Musketeers is translated with an introduction by Richard Pevear in Penguin Classics.

'All for one, one for all - that is our motto!'

Young d'Artagnan arrives in Paris to join King's Louis XIII's elite guards, but almost immediately finds he is duelling with some of the very men he has come to swear allegiance to - Porthos, Athos and Aramis, inseparable friends: the Three Musketeers. Soon part of their close band, d'Artagnan's loyalty to his new allies puts him in the deadly path of Cardinal Richlieu's machinations, and when the young hero falls in love with the beautiful but inaccessible Constance, he finds himself in a world of murder, conspiracy and lies, with only the Musketeers to depend on. A stirring nineteenth-century tale of friendship and adventure, The Three Musketeers continues to be one of the most influential and popular pieces of French literature.

In this acclaimed new translation, Richard Pevear's introduction investigates the controversy of Dumas' literary collaborators, and how important serialisation was to the book's success. This edition also includes notes on the text.

Alexandre Dumas (1802-70) was a pioneer of the Romantic theatre in France, but in 1839 he turned his attention to writing the novels for which he is best known today, pften using collaborators such as Auguste Maquet to suggest plots or historical background. His most famous works include The Three Musketeers (1844), The Count of Monte Cristo (1844-5) and The Man in the Iron Mask (1847).

If you enjoyed The Three Musketeers, you might like Dumas' The Man in the Iron Mask, also available in Penguin Classics.

The Women's War

Alexandre Dumas

The Baron des Canolles is a man torn apart by the civil war that dominates mid-seventeenth century France. For while the naïve Gascon soldier cares little for the politics behind the battles, he is torn apart by a deep passion for two powerful women on opposing sides of the war: Nanon de Lartigues, a keen supporter of the Queen Regent Anne of Austria, and the Victomtesse de Cambes, who supports the rebellious forces of the Princess de Condé. Set around Bordeaux during the first turbulent years of the reign of Louis XIV, The Women's War sees two women taking central stage in a battle for all France. Humorous, dramatic and romantic, it offers a compelling exploration of political intrigue, the power of redemption, the force of love and the futility of war.

The Black Tulip

Alexandre Dumas (and others)

Set at the height of the "tulipomania" that gripped Holland in 17th century, this is the story of Cornelius van Baerle, a humble grower whose sole desire is to grow the perfect specimen of the tulip negra.
When his godfather is murdered, Cornelius finds himself caught up in the deadly politics of the time, imprisoned and facing a death sentence. His jailor's daughter Rosa, holds both the key to his survival and his chance to produce the ultimate tulip.

The Three Musketeers

Alexandre Dumas

Dumas' most popular novel, The Three Musketeers, has long been a favourite with children, and its heroes are well-known from many a film and TV adaption. Set in France in the seventeenth century, it follows the fortunes of D'Artagnan, a poor Gascon gentleman, who arrives in Paris to join the Kings Musketeers and is befriended by three of them, Athos, Portos and Aramis, with whom he embarks upon a career of adventure and romance. Dumas is a brilliant story-teller: inexhaustively inventive, a master of dialogue and with a fine sense of drama and of historical period, he seizes the readers attention on the first page and holds it to the last. Everyman's Library Children's Classics reprints the first, and the best, English translation, by William Barrow.

Biography

Alexandre Dumas was born in 1802 at Villers-Cotterêts. His father, the illegitimate son of a marquis, was a general in the Revolutionary armies, but died when Dumas was only four. He was brought up in straitened circumstances and received very little education. He joined the household of the future king, Louis-Philippe, and began reading voraciously. Later he entered the cénacle of Charles Nodier and started writing.

In 1829 the production of his play, Henri III et sa Cour, heralded twenty years of successful playwriting. In 1839 he turned his attention to writing historical novels, often using collaborators such as Auguste Maquet to suggest plots or historical background. His most successful novels are The Count of Monte Cristo, which appeared during 1844-5, and The Three Musketeers, published in 1844. Other novels deal with the wars of religion and the Revolution. Dumas wrote many of these for the newspapers, often in daily instalments, marshalling his formidable energies to produce ever more in order to pay off his debts. In addition, he wrote travel books, children's stories and his Mémoires which describe most amusingly his early life, his entry into Parisian literary circles and the 1830 Revolution. He died in 1870.