The Dumas Club

dumas club
The Dumas Club is a literary thriller in the style of Mttahew Pearl or A. S. Byatt’s Possession (although I think Possession is an infinitely better book). There seems to be a bit of a craze for the genre at the moment – a kind of Dan Brown for people who likeliterature. Certainly The Dumas Club is a well-plotted thriller, even if its premise and its conclusion are quite preposterous. There is at least a certain romantic attraction to the world of rare and antiquarian books in which the novel is set. It is a novel full of intrigue and dusty, half-lit (or candle-lit), oak-pannelled private libraries and concerns itself with the discovery of what might be a lost chapter from Dumas’s The Three Musketeers and a secret code contained within aheretical sixteenth century text.
At the end of the day this is a perfectly readable romp. My main criticism is with the exposition of the inner workings of the world of rare books. Frankly I got rather tired of reading private conversations between antiquarian book experts, telling each other basic information that they woruld clearly know, simply for the benefit of the reader. It is a rather clumsy way of giving us the background information we need (and plenty that we do not). I’m not sure that he always gets the balance right between keeping the plot moving and giving us adequate detail about this obscure world. It was a little bit at times like reading through the author’s unedited research notes.
Also, I have no idea why this post is all in italics. I’ve tried, in vain, to get rid of them. Apologies.

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