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The Count of Monte Cristo

The Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas,  Robin Buss

This classic story of wrongful imprisonment, hidden treasure, and revenge is truly a masterpiece.  Alexandre Dumas’ famous novel The Count of Monte Cristo has seen life not only in print but in film and television, but one cannot appreciate the novel unless you read it in its entire unabridged length.

 

Edmond Dantes is wrongfully accused of a crime and thrown in prison without trial to be forgotten, after overcoming both mental and physical anguish and befriending a fellow prisoner, and finally he is able to escape.  Thanks to his friendship Dantes knows where a potential hidden treasure is located and finds it to be real, and using it begins finding out why he was thrown into prison and chart is path to revenge through fortune and hidden identities.  Yet what this quick synopsis omits is the numerous and fascinating major and secondary characters that Dantes interacts throughout the narrative.

 

Originally published in serial form, Dumas was paid for how much he wrote and one would think that The Count of Monte Cristo might be riddled with meandering subplots that never go anywhere and/or have nothing to do with the central plot.  But Dumas instead wove a tapestry of beauty with every word he wrote; instead of making meandering plots he described scenes and events in rich detail that it brings the story even more alive in the reader’s imagination.

 

If pressed to find anything negative to say about this book, the easiest answer would be cultural references that are almost 170 years old.  The only other negative was the completely different societal norms that were in Parisian society in the 1840s compared today’s.  However both of these ‘negatives’ can easily be put down to a piece of fiction that was contemporary when it was written but now can be seen as historical fiction with the passage to time.

 

The Count of Monte Cristo needs to be read in all its unabridged glory to fully appreciate why it is a masterpiece and classic.  Dumas’ literary tapestry is a delight to behold once finished with the last page and makes the reader think about when they’ll have time to reread it in the future.