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Dumas based the character and attributes of D'Artagnan on captain of musketeers Charles de Batz-Castelmore d'Artagnan (c. 1611–1673) and the portrayal was particularly indebted to D'Artagnan's semi-fictionalized memoirs as written up 27 years after the hero's death by Gatien de Courtilz de Sandras (published 1700).
The three novels are:
- The Three Musketeers, set between 1625 and 1628; first published in serial form in the magazine Le Siècle between March and July 1844. Dumas claims in the foreword to have based it on manuscripts he had discovered in the Bibliothèque Nationale.
- Twenty Years After, set between 1648 and 1649; serialized from January to August, 1845.
- The Vicomte of Bragelonne: Ten Years Later, set between 1660 and 1673; serialized from October 1847 to January 1850. This vast novel has been split into three, four, or five volumes at various points.
- In the three-volume edition, the novels are titled The Vicomte de Bragelonne, Louise de la Vallière and The Man in the Iron Mask.
- In the four-volume edition, the novels are titled The Vicomte de Bragelonne, Ten Years Later, Louise de la Vallière and The Man in the Iron Mask.
- The five-volume edition generally does not give titles to the smaller portions.
Four further sequels to the D'Artagnan books – the novels The Son of Porthos (1883) and D'Artagnan Kingmaker (1900), The King’s Passport (1925), D'Artagnan, the sequel to the Three Musketeers – were written and published after Dumas's death. D'Artagnan does not appear in the first novel, which, although written by Paul Mahalin, was published under the pen name "Alexandre Dumas" and is still sold as such. The second novel was supposedly based on one of Dumas' plays. The last two were written by H. Bedford-Jones.
- Gatien de Sandras de Courtilz (1700). Memoires de Mr. D'Artagnan, capitaine lieutenant de la premiere compagie des mousquetaires du roi : contenant quantité de choses, particuleres et secrettes qui se sont passées sous le regne de Louis le Grand. A Cologne: Chez Pierre Marteau. Retrieved 15 January 2016.