Alexandre Dumas based his famous tale of d'Artagnan and the Three Musketeers upon some facts and more moonshine, but the truth seems to be that the quarrelsome quartet actually existed and with those very names. D'Artagnan, in fact, had an even more distinguished career than Dumas credits him with. A Gascon whose family gave many soldiers to the French army, his full name was Charles de Batz-Castelmore, omte d'Artagnan. Though his mother was of nobility, he was not and he went off at seventeen to Paris to shoulder a musket for the King. (And right there, with hundreds of ""must have's"", ""would have's"" and ""should have's"", the authors begin creating a parfait of adventures upon conjecture, with d'Artagnan emerging superlatively from encounters he may never have been in.) (Well, he might have.) Of Porthos, Athos and Aramis, Athos died before d'Artagnan became a musketeer, Porthos has faded into historical oblivion, and Aramis seems to have had a suspiciously undistinguished 15-years service in the army. After several adventures, d'Artagnan spent four years as jailer to a political prisoner. He became head officer of the musketeers, the King's favorite and died of a musketball in battle. A lively ""biography.