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by Alexandre Dumas
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Alexandre Dumas, author of The Three Musketeers and so many sequels, all but invented the action adventure novel, and certainly he has few peers in all the years since. His stories are thrilling works of derring-do, foul deeds, close escapes, and glorious victories. In this final volume of Dumas's Celebrated Crimes, Dumas tells the tales of the Marquise de Brinvilliers, Vaninka, and the Marquise de Ganges. The beautiful poisoner, Marquise de Brinvilliers, must have suggested to Dumas his later portrait of Miladi, in the Three Musketeers, the most celebrated of his woman characters. Vaninka's mother claimed descent from one of the chieftains of the Tartar race, who had invaded Russia, under the leadership of D'Gengis, in the thirteenth century. Like all the women of distinction in her nation, Vaninka was a good musician, and spoke French, Italian, German, and English equally well. Her crime cost her a life of privilidge. . . . The Marquise de Ganges was young and beautiful, and a widow. She wass fated to marry again and you will die young and violently. . . . This book was not written for children. Dumas has minced no words in describing the violent scenes of a violent time. In some instances facts appear distorted out of their true perspective, and in others the author makes unwarranted charges. The careful, mature reader -- for whom the books are intended -- will recognize and allow for this fact.
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