Christine brought an amazing attention to detail and a great amount of enthusiasm to their work on The Three Musketeers. They were able to dig into a wide range of narrative and character issues, focusing not just on the text but on the larger context of the story, and on what the book was ultimately trying to accomplish. I can quite honestly say that The Three Musketeers wouldn’t have been the book it is without Christine’s work and input, and I look forward to working with them again.— Scott Fitzgerald Gray
Scott Fitzgerald Grey has poured his heart and soul into this delightful retelling/edit of Dumas and Maquet’s The Three Musketeers. It features a diverse, queer cast within prose and storytelling conceits that are simultaneously refreshing in their takes on gender representation while also remaining true to the original tone and feel of the source material. Grey has hit the sweet spot: he’s created inclusive modes of address, neutral ways of viewing the world, and gracefully snipped away the problematic aspects of the original manuscript. This is a retelling that can be enjoyed without baggage. It’s perfect for new and old fans alike.
I was flattered when I was invited to join the project as a sensitivity reader. It was a joy and a pleasure working with Scott, and I can say in my opinion he’s done a stellar job at balancing the different representations of gender and sexuality within the text. d’Artagnan has become a hotheaded young woman while Aramis identifies as nonbinary. Athos is a wise, older woman, and Porthos remains a distinctly flamboyant monsieur. The diversity of the new cast is astounding, and brings so much more interest to a story that otherwise might not have quite as much to offer a modern audience.
This is a book whose mix of queer, straight, cisgender, nonbinary, POC, and white protagonists are meant to reflect and connect with the widest possible range of the many readers who have fallen in love with this story over the years — and to invite a new generation of readers to fall in love with Dumas and Maquet’s timeless tale in a new way. This is a book very intentionally meant to draw the ire of those who like to scream about how historical accuracy in fiction means that all characters should be straight white men, and to encourage those people to open their eyes to the wider world that the rest of us have been enjoying for some time now.
Most impressive, in my opinion, is how Grey handles pronouns and gender representation. In The Three Musketeers, gender and pronouns are never assumed; until specified by an individual, they are referred to neutrally, using language like they/them, leige, or maitre. It’s part of a polite greeting to introduce oneself as a madame, monsieur, or maitre so that the other party knows how they ought to refer to you. In fact, bypassing this greeting and assuming gender is used (infrequently) to characterize a few cast members as being particularly vulgar and rude. These interactions all flow naturally and never interrupt or distract. I for one (and one for all?) will be using this novel in the future as a great example of a book that gets it right when it comes to handling gender assumptions and pronouns in a natural, graceful manner within a narrative.
This all serves to make an already enjoyable book even moreso. At heart, The Three Musketeers is truly a book about four idiots with swords who get by on sheer audacity, which is something I’m very much here for as a reader. d’Artagnan will duel anyone at the drop of a hat. You insulted my horse? Cool, fight me. I picked up your handkerchief and you’re grump about it? Excellent, we meet at Noon to fight. Truly, what’s not to love about this type or historical drama? It’s pure popcorn adventure in the best way. Come for the queer cast and stay for the ridiculous hijinks they get up to in the service of the Queens of France.
More information about Scott Fitzgerald Gray’s retelling can be found on the Kickstarter Page. I’ll be sure to post once it is available for purchase, as well!
2 thoughts on “The Three Musketeers – retold with a diverse range of queer characters in a seventeenth-century France where colonialism just somehow never existed.”
I this in my twitter feed a lot a few weeks ago (perhaps it was from you?) and thought it looked excellent. First time I’ve read a proper review though and now I’m even more into it. I planned on reading the original at some point in 2021 so think I’ll add this alongside it. Thanks for putting it on my radar, it looks fab!
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It probably was me! It’s genuinely done very well; I think you’ll really enjoy it 🙂
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