The Club Dumas by Arturo Pérez-Reverte

EVERYONE GETS THE DEVIL THEY DESERVE…

The Club Dumas is a 1993 novel by Arturo Pérez-Reverte.  The story is about a book detective, Lucas Corso, who travels to Madrid (Spain), Paris and Sintra (Portugal) to authenticate a rare manuscript ‘The Anjou Wine’ – a chapter from the book ‘The Three Musketeers’ by Alexandre Dumas as well as  “The Book of the Nine Doors of the Kingdom of Shadows”, apparently an occult book that contains a formula used to summon the devil.

theclubdumas

I started this book and then left it again to read some other books. But when I picked it up again, I started from scratch… and boy did I enjoy this book! It wasn’t an easy read, infact I would say it was an ‘intellectual read’, but very interesting.

Lucas Corso was given the Three Musketeers manuscript “The Anjou Wine” by his friend Flavio La Ponte after the previous owner of the manuscript allegedly committed suicide by hanging himself. Lucas Corso starts investigating the history of the manuscript by speaking to a lot of well-known bibliophiles, booksellers and collectors to determine whether the manuscript was real. Upon being commissioned to verify the authenticity of a book called “The Book of the Nine Doors of the Kingdom of Shadows” and having to travel to various countries to track down the other 2 books currently in existence for comparison purposes, he decides that somehow this book was also connected to Dumas.    The commissioner, Varo Borja is convinced that only one of the 3 books are authentic and the rest is forgeries.

Throughout the book, the story deals with Lucas investigating the Book of Nine doors  – and this is where the book starts becoming interesting. During his investigation on both the book and the Dumas manuscript he met with various character who either shows up to “protect” him or once who wants to harm him or kill him.  The book has lots of interesting history on Alexandre Dumas and his lifestyle, as well as accusations by certain characters that insisted Alexandre Dumas didn’t write his novels himself but made use of ‘ghost writers’. Whether this is true, I wouldn’t know.

This book is an example of the times when I read a book I become extremely pedantic about the details up until a point that I want to make notes.  I want to understand everything and I want to solve the puzzle too. I kept going back and forth through the pages to “check” every time a discovery is made.  Sounds a bit too much, but I enjoy these type of puzzle books that plays with your mind. The story line in itself was intriguing too – I must say I expected a bit more detail about the book about the Nine doors towards the end, I think the story about that was more interesting than the Dumas manuscript.    The story ends with an unhappy ending – the moral of the story being everyone gets the devil they deserve.  Goodreads excerpt calls it “A provocative literary thriller that playfully pays tribute to classic tales of mystery and adventure”.

I enjoyed this book as it was packed with the history of books, old libraries, mystery and adventure. I am probably not giving the book the review it deserves, but I’m afraid that if I write anything more about the contents of the book, I might spoil it for those who still want to read it.  Just know that I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoyed The Shadow of the Wind

Image source