The locals scamper into doorways as four handsome young swashbucklers stride through their midst. In the French capital during the reign of Louis XIII, law and order is more a dream than a reality. But when Athos, Aramis and Porthos - the three bravest and most distinguished members of the royal guard - and their friend D'Artagnan are around, only the most foolhardy would dare take them on.
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Alexandre Dumas senior pictured on the left was was born in 1762 in the French Caribbean colony of Saint-Domingue (modern Haiti). It was not an auspicious start. Dumas was a "batard" - the product of a relationship between his aristocratic French father, Marquis Alexandre Davy de la Pailleterie, and a freed slave, Marie-Cesette Dumas. (Her surname, meaning "of the farm", was bestowed on her because managing a sugar plantation was her occupation as a freewoman.)
This book review from The Guardian highlights the work of author Tom Reiss who unearthed the true story behind Alexandre Dumas's hidden ethnicity. The book was winner of the Pulitzer Prixe for Biography 2013. Tom Reiss' tells a long-hidden story that sheds light on racism and the damage it does. And, although this time his research was conducted chiefly in rural France, it had its share of thrills. Reiss persuaded a French small-town official to blow open a municipal library's safe when the librarian – the only person knowing the combination – suddenly died.