Can I read Twenty Years After (Vingt ans après) by Alexandre Dumas without reading The Three Musketeers (Les Trois Mousquetaires)?

I have come across a site which says that Twenty Years After is a sequel to The Three Musketeers. I was wondering if I could read Twenty Years After without reading any other Alexandre Dumas book.

  • It is a sequel, but it is also set 20 years after the first book, and has mostly completely new plot threads. So you'll miss some references back to the first book, but you won't be totally lost.
    – Peter Shor
    Jan 31, 2020 at 20:08
  • 1
    Can you? Of course you can, it's not as if the second part is encrypted using the first as the key. The question is: what do you appreciate about books that might be lost if you don't read the first part?
    – muru
    Feb 1, 2020 at 1:44

2 Answers 2


You can, as @PeterShor said, but do you really want to skip The Three Musketeers? It's been a long time since I read all four or five books in the series, but I think a lot of the pleasure of reading them was seeing how the characters aged and being excited when they returned in completely new circumstances after a long absence. But The Three Musketeers is also just so much fun.

  • Welcome to Literature! This answer would be better if you fleshed it out a bit, giving some more reasons why, or why not, to skip The Three Musketeers. This seems to boil down to "it's possible but not recommended", and it would be great to see some support for both of those claims.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Feb 7, 2020 at 21:01
  • Thank you. You're obviously right. It's been so long since I read the books, I'd probably have to reread them to give a more substantial answer. I guess I thought I could get away with offering enthusiasm instead of substance. Do you think I should retract my answer and put it in as a comment?
    – Sigfried
    Feb 7, 2020 at 21:21
  • (it's 3 books. Le Vicomte de Bragelonne is 3 volumes, but counts as 1 book)
    – njzk2
    Aug 26, 2023 at 16:15

I don't recommend you skip Les 3 Mousquetaires.

Most the new interactions between the characters are highlighting how different they are from how they were in the first book.

It doesn't really make sense to see how they have aged, matured, shifted their allegiances and priorities, if you don't know what they were in the first place, and how the friendship between the 4 characters was built.

All of that is told in the first book, so I strongly recommend you start with that.

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