Take a story's temperature by studying its tone. Is it hopeful? Cynical? Snarky? Playful?
This is a major departure from The Three Musketeers. Although there are moments of levity (read: comic relief) in The Man in the Iron Mask, most of the novel is about saying good-bye to a glorious past and accepting future responsibilities or death with good grace. In other words, the young men of The Three Musketeers have grown up into older men who struggle with their own mortality..