Sunday, January 4, 2015

Review: The Man In The Iron Mask

This is my second reading of this fascinating work on this historical mystery: this first time was in July 2010.

"The Man In The Iron Mask" by Roger MacDonald is a very fascinating and enjoyable journey into 17th & 18th Century France during the reigns of Louis XIII and his son, Louis XIV, the Sun King.

It is the time of the dominance of Cardinal Richelieu and his successor, Mazarin, and of the royal mistresses; of the intrigues and turmoils of France in the centuries preceding the Revolution; the plotting and power struggles of the French courtiers for ascendancy; of diplomats and spies; of the Musketeers.

MacDonald introduces us to three Musketeers in particular who were far from being the "bastards" of the imagination of Alexandre Dumas, writing over one century after events.

And so MacDonald has his candidate for the famous "Mask" and summarily takes the reader through events from the first appearance of the mask leading up to his final moments of freedom before his decades of incarceration.  MacDonald using original documents as he outlines his case for the Mask whilst assessing and disproving the case for other nominees, including Nicholas Fouquet and the Comte de Lauzan.

MacDonald declares that the identity of the Mask will not be revealed even if the impudent reader fast tracks to the back sections of the book outline the cast of characters, the chronology of events, and the chapter notes.  However, this reader cottoned on to the identity of the mask fairly early in the piece.

This tome has a place on the shelf of any French History enthusiast or those who love a good mystery.  For in this tome we discover a plausible candidate for the Mask and the reasons for his incarceration.

Another fascinating tome to add to my own personal library.

See Also:

January Arrivals

Just before Xmas Day, the following books were ordered for addition to my Library.

Stewart Binns' : "Conquest, Anarchy, Crusade & Lionheart".
Set in the period after the Norman Conquest till the reign of Richard I, so looking forward to this series.

Elizabeth Van Houts' "The Normans In Europe".

Another one of those books on the Normans that I had read but had not yet added to my Library.

Alexander Callander Murray's "From Roman to Merovingian Gaul".
From Roman to Merovingian Gaul documents events that are both remarkable in themselves and that demonstrate what made this era of history distinct. A nice addition to my French History shelf as I have books following this period but not dealing with this history of this area prior it.