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Why no cover? Because most of the newer editions of this series are questionable translations and a bad translation = a mediocre Dumas novel. There are libraries that have the 100 year old editions and if you want to read this series I recommend going that route.

5.0 out of 5 stars Dumas Rocks! But doesn’t he always?

Memoirs of a Physician begins where Joseph Balsamo left off as all Paris panics after a fireworks display goes awry and Andrée is almost crushed to death beneath the mob. Andrée’s brother Phillip desperately searches for her and is feared dead – until she is returned unharmed to her family by the mysterious Balsamo. Lower born Gilbert is still madly in love with Andrée and he follows her (working as a gardener) when she is taken into service by Marie Antoinette. Madame DuBarry continues her schemes, as does the mysterious Balsamo working with the Freemasons to stir unrest against the monarchy and lustful Louis XV takes one look at the beauteous Andrée and he plots with her father to make her his latest conquest.

Actually, there’s a whole lot more to the story than that but this is Dumas and it would take another novel to try to outline the story better. Suffice it to say that as in the first book in this series, the opulence and shenanigans of the French Court, the manipulations of the politicians, Balsamo’s hypnotic control over his wife Lorenza and Andrée, secret rooms and hidden staircases, a mad desire by Balsamo’s master to obtain the one horrific ingredient needed to complete his elixir of eternal life culminates in a thoroughly unputdownable tale that had me reading well into the wee hours of the morning. I especially loved Gilbert’s antics (ROFL, Hollywood would have a field day with this) as he spied on Andrée and the way Dumas used her contempt of his lower status as a way to emphasize the growing disparity between the classes. Next up in the series, The Queen’s Necklace.

Side note on the first two books in this series – as I understand it they were originally published in one volume called Memoirs of a Physician and are now published separately as Joseph Balsamo and Memoirs of a Physician.

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