Musketeer fantasy is a unique and exciting genre that does not get the attention it deserves. If you like action and adventure mixed with a bit of magic and the supernatural, you will probably like musketeer fantasy. Keep reading to find out more about this exciting genre, and get some recommendations for where to begin your next great adventure.
What is a Musketeer?
When you think “musketeer,” it is likely that you instantly imagine three men. Or perhaps a candy bar. While those are the most popular musketeers in our world and in pop culture today, the true definition of a musketeer is something slightly different.
To put it simply, a musketeer is a soldier who is armed with a musket. Since muskets are no longer the weapon of choice today, we don’t really have musketeers anymore. A musket is a light gun with a long barrel. Typically, you fire a musket from the shoulder. Soldiers most frequently used these guns in the early 16th century. But many continued to use muskets and their variants until the mid 19th century. At this point, rifles became more common, and muskets went out of fashion.
A musketeer was any soldier who used a musket, so they were very common for several centuries. The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas is certainly the most popular depiction of a musketeer that we know of, but there have been other depictions of them throughout history.
Ironically, most depictions of musketeers more prominently feature swords and skill with the sword than muskets.
While musketeers are not really in existence anymore, that does not mean they can’t exist in fiction. Musketeers are common in literature, especially historical fiction, but they also exist in fantasy, as well. Musketeer fantasy consists of any novel that includes musketeers in any way. Often, these musketeers have special powers in addition to welding muskets, but that is not always the case. As we will see in the examples below, authors present musketeers in a variety of ways.
Musketeer fantasy can be high fantasy or low fantasy, but it is usually action-packed. Battle scenes, sword fights, and daring heroes are essential to the genre. Most think of musketeer fantasy as a genre packed full of adventure. Many times the musketeers in a novel are the heroes of the story, even if they are not the main characters. They swoop in to save the day with their abilities as a musketeer, or even with magical abilities. This genre is definitely suited for the reader who loves adventure.
Examples of Musketeer Fantasy
The novels and series below each demonstrate musketeer fantasy in a different way. There are a number of ways in which an author could choose to incorporate musketeers in their fantasy novel, and you will see that diversity in the examples below. Some feature musketeers as the main characters or heroes of the story while others give musketeers magical abilities and powers.
No matter how an author chooses to incorporate musketeers into their fantasy, you can be sure that there will be action and adventure around every corner. This is a genre that will take you on epic adventures and show you daring heroes. If musketeer fantasy is something that you are interested in, the novels and series below will give you a great starting point with the genre.
The Mage Queen: Her Majesty’s Musketeers is the first novel in a series by R.A. Dodson. This series is historical fantasy and it is full of magic, adventure, and historical figures that you may recognize. Many of the characters in this novel also feature in Alexandre Dumas’ The Three Musketeers. Though these stories are very different, it is interesting to see how another author uses the same characters to tell a different story.
This novel follows Charles d’Artagnan who is a refugee who finds himself with the fate of Europe in his hands. The Mage Queen is a deposed queen who is in hiding from her enemies. She possesses magic powers and she is the only person who can save France from the Spanish. Charles and the queen’s loyal musketeers team up with the queen to save France.
The musketeers in this novel are not the main characters, but they do feature quite heavily throughout the novel. They are an important aspect of the story, and they definitely have a large influence on how the novel plays out. This novel is unique for the genre in that the musketeers do not have any special powers. They are simply musketeers who are trying to defend their queen and their country. Even if you are not generally a fan of historical fantasy, you might want to give this novel a try if you’re interested in musketeer fantasy.
The Cardinal’s Blades is a 2009 novel by Pierre Pevel. It is the first novel in a trilogy and certainly qualifies as a musketeer fantasy. This novel is often a historical fantasy, but it takes a lot more liberties in the “history” aspect than The Mage Queen: Her Majesty’s Musketeers. There are still elements of history throughout, but the fantasy elements take a much larger role in this novel.
This novel and the two that come after it follow Cardinal Richelieu who governs France. He faces many trials in trying to keep Spain from overthrowing them. The Court of Dragons is an ally to Spain and they are deadly with their spies and assassination attempts. In a last-ditch attempt to protect France, Richelieu summons a musketeer. The musketeer fights against dragons, evil spies, and many other deadly forces on his mission to protect his country.
This novel is full of action. And while the historical elements of the novel help ground it in some truth, there is much more fantasy throughout the pages of this novel than there is history. Magic, dragons, and daring swordsmen are just a few of the exciting things that await readers on the pages of The Cardinal’s Blades.
I hope this article has helped clarify what this genre is all about and given you some ideas of books to read in this subgenre.
And if you want to read more about unique fantasy subgenres on this blog, check out:
Lastly, feel free to leave a message in the comments below if you have questions about this or another fiction-literature-related topic!