The Mysterious Bookshop

Gibbs, Stuart, The Last Musketeer

School Library Journal
Gr 5–8—Gibbs reimagines Alexandre Dumas's Three Musketeers with a liberal dose of fantasy. Fourteen-year-old Greg is in present-day Paris with his parents to sell family heirlooms to the Louvre. When his mother refuses to part with a cherished stone pendant, the manager grabs it and uses it to transport himself and Greg's unwilling family back to 1615 through a painting. The past proves dangerous as Greg's parents are quickly arrested and he becomes a fugitive. His plan to rescue his mom and dad requires the help of three new friends (yes, Athos, Porthos, and Aramis), who dub Greg "D'Artagnan." The four must defeat the evil Richelieu, who has a mysterious connection to the modern-day Louvre manager. Gibbs deftly packs an abundance of historical detail into a lively narrative that captures the swashbuckling spirit of Dumas's original. Full of jovial humor, narrow escapes, sorcery, and intrigue, the novel will likely generate interest in the classic. Greg is a well-defined hero: each challenge he faces helps him recognize his own abilities and find acceptance among the friends whom he admires. Although the characters' speech is often too contemporary, their accessible language and vocabulary make this novel a good choice for older reluctant readers. The cliff-hanger ending leaves all characters in the past, with the new Musketeers off on their next adventure, "sheathing their swords and running for their horses." Readers will want to join them.—M. Kozikowski, Sachem Public Library, Holbrook, NY