The King’s Passport is the second Musketeer novel written by pulp-fiction author H. Bedford-Jones. The other is D’Artagnan: A Sequel to the Three Musketeers, which I reviewed on the blog a little while back.
Much like D’Artagnan, The King’s Passport is more or less a Musketeer fan fiction novel, but unlike most fan fiction there’s no weird shipping, you must pay for it, and it’s not on Tumblr. Sooo… yay? In seriousness, it’s a fun novel that includes d’Artagnan and the infamous swashbuckling-poet Cyrano de Bergerac, after both men meet a strange fellow — going by the name of M. Nicholas Vaugon — who just escaped from the Bastille. There’s a reason why Cyrano and d’Artagnan don’t turn Vaugon in, but I’ll leave that to your reading.
Shortly thereafter, Vaugon and Cyrano join forces on a special mission from the queen and head off to the French countryside to stop a wedding. Meanwhile, Cardinal Richelieu calls for d’Artagnan. Richelieu believes this Vaugon is actually none other but Madame de Chevreuse — one of the cardinal’s nemesis — and orders d’Artagnan to track Vaugon and arrest him/her.
D’Artagnan tracks Cyrano and Vaugon down but being as how things go, he doesn’t arrest Vaugon right away. Neither Cyrno nor d’Artagnan trusts each other or even like the other, but they’re being followed by riders, so they work together. Still the alliance between d’Artagnan and Cyrano is uneasy at best and comes to a climax toward the end.
All this is happening as Cardinal Richelieu vies to stay in power.
As for the writing, the beginning was a bit difficult to get through. The language was clumsily put together and the style is very much unlike the rest of the novel. Not sure what H. Bedford-Jones was going for, but the style/tone changed after a few pages (thankfully) and the rest of the book is fairly well written. It’s a quick read and a lot of fun, though I did enjoy D’Artagnan: A Sequel to the Three Musketeers a bit better.