The novel (an original title ‘El Club Dumas’) was written by a Spanish writer Arturo Pérez-Reverte and published in 1993 (Spanish) and 1996 (English). It is considered to belong to a crime/mystery novel genre. The novel served as an inspiration for Roman Polański (a Polish film director) who created a film based on it – ‘The Ninth Gate’ (1999).
Lucas Corso, a book-dealer specializing in getting rare and valuable editions for anonymous buyers, acquires a previously unknown tale from ‘The Three Musketeers’ called ‘The Anjou Wine‘ and tries to check its authenticity. The manuscript was given to Flavio La Ponte, a bibliophile and Corso’s friend, by Enrique Taillefer who commited mysterious suicide right after giving away his book. In the meantime, Corso is given another task to accomplish. Varo Bojra, a collector of occult books, employs him to find and check authenticity of two remaining copies of the book he owns – ‘The Book of the Nine Doors of the Kingdom of Shadows’ which is supposed to contain a formula for summoning the devil. Corso’s investigation leads him to diverse places in Spain, Portugal and France and makes him discover mysterious and dark facts about the book, as well as face a serious danger. His “mission” and intriguing characters he encounters bear a strong resemblance to the novel by Alexandre Dumas. Soon, the reality, the story of ‘The Three Musketeers’ and the mystery of ‘The Book of the Nine Doors of the Kingdom of Shadows’ start to intertwine and Corso does not realise that his role in the events was preplanned and is of vast importance…
Personally, I consider this novel to be one of the best I have ever read. I am very fond of books which incorporate elements of mystery, supernatural, evil forces and history. ‘The Club Dumas’ has all of them. What I like the most about it is its atmosphere, intriguing, scary, but at the same time funny in a couple of scenes.
The plot is quite complicated and consists of various events which mix with each other and make a very engrossing whole. At times, the plot is quite hard to follow and it requires paying a lot of attention. It is not a book that you can take and read without being focused. But I regard it as an advantage of ‘The Club Dumas’ because this
complexity is not overwhelming and makes the novel more interesting and sophisticated.
The only drawback of the novel that I can think of is predictability. Sometimes it was easy to guess what will happen next, so I simply missed the element of surprise. However, all in all, I find the book worth reading and I will definitely get lost in its pages again and again.
About the author