Alexandre Dumas (1802-1870) was born Dumas Davy de la Pailleterie in Villers-Cotterêts, Aisne, First French Republic to the aristocracy. Despite his position of birth, Dumas faced discrimination throughout his life due to his mixed ancestry.
Dumas is remembered for his adventure romances, but he was a prolific author, touching on many topics and themes. Apart from his literary work, Dumas was a major supporter of the arts, especially the theatre and active in the politics of his time. His life reads somewhat like on of his adventure novels (not really, but close).
His novels are full of action, adventure, sword-fights, romance, duels (sword fights), political intrigue, and did I mention sword fights? In all seriousness, Dumas created a unique combination of romance, intrigue, adventure, and patriotism that the public just ate up. If just one of the aspects of Dumas multi-faceted plots were missing, his books would still have been popular, but they probably would not have been the phenomena they were and still are. Many of his books hold up today which may be why so many of them have never been out of print and filmed so many times (how many Musketeers movies are there?).
The Fencing Master (1840: An early work to show how far his writing would advance)