Details: (c) 1991 Steven Brust; PubTor 1992; ISBN 0-812-50689-8
Verdict: The Phoenix Guards doesn't quite live up to its premise.
Reasons for reading it: In common with many geeks, I like Brust and I like Dumas, so Brust doing Dumas sounded like a good thing.
How it came into my hands: cartesiandaemon lent it to me.
I wasn't as impressed by The Phoenix Guards as cartesiandaemon was. I mean, it's fun, and it's good to have extra stuff in set in that world, but the pastiche of bad translations of Dumas thing gets old long before you've extended it over a 500 page novel. Honestly, I think the best thing about the Vlad series is Vlad; the worldbuilding isn't bad, but it's his character that really carries it, whereas Khaavren is little more than a caricature of D'Artagnan.
That said, there are flashes of really hilariously funny writing, and the story is exciting enough to sustain interest even when the genre means that you know everything will work out out for the heroes in the end. It's perhaps obvious, but I did like making Porthos a woman. It's been something like twenty years since I read The three musketeers, and then only in translation, but as far as I can recall, tPG works well as midrash on it rather than a direct retelling.
So, I enjoyed tPG, but on a kind of mental candyfloss level, and I think I may be inspired to reread the original, perhaps in French since I read it when I was too young to read whole novels in French. (The other problem with Dumas pastiche is that it corrupts me into writing really pompously; I plunged into an internet flamewar with a comment that started
I respectfully beg to differ, and it's all Paarfi's fault!)