Title: The Count of Monte Cristo
Author: Alexandre Dumas
Review Summary: While not as well written as many classics, this was an exciting adventure with an intriguingly complex plot.
The Count of Monte Cristo is a classic story of betrayal and revenge. Edmond Dantes has it all: a father he loves, a pending promotion, and a beautiful fiance. Unfortunately, others envy him his good fortune and conspire to have him sent to prison for a crime he didn’t commit. When a fellow prisoner informs him of a treasure located on the Isle of Monte Cristo, he determines to escape and use that treasure to enact his revenge.
From the great introduction to this book, I learned that Dumas wrote this to be published in sections in newspapers and was paid by the line. Reading The Count of Monte Cristo with it’s convoluted plot and inclusion of mundane conversations, that incentive is clear. However unnecessarily complicated the count’s revenge may be, it was still a lot of fun to read about. While some sections dragged a little, there was always some part of the plot which made me want to read quickly because I couldn’t wait to find out what happened next. The events could be cliched at times, but I enjoy cliches and to be fair to the author, he may be the originator of some of these now-cliched plot devices.
One small problem I had with this book was the dislikable nature of our protagonist. As time goes by he gets more and more arrogant, convinced that his revenge is the hand of God! Fortunately for us, a pair of young lovers shows up for us to root for instead, so I never found myself without a character to relate to. Overall, this was far from the best classic I’ve read. It gave little insight into human nature and wasn’t especially well written. Fortunately, these flaws didn’t stop if from being an amusing swashbuckling adventure which was a lot of fun to read. Given it’s success as a light adventure story, I might recommend searching for a well done abridged versions. While the idea of missing parts of a story makes me nervous, I don’t think anyone is going to want to pick up a 1000 page book for light entertainment.