Compared to the preceding volumes, this sequel is not as riveting. Much too wordy. Too little action. Too much romantic intrigue. Frankly, it all hangs together with a doomed romance. But it does develop D'Artagnan, Athos, Aramis and Porthos (who has changed very little). What characters! But Louis XIV, Raoul (the Vicomte de Bragelonne) and Louise de la Valliere - ah, those characters are not so admirable.<br/>I expect much more from the final installment, The Man in the Iron Mask.