January 03, 2014

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

I actually don't enjoy many of the classics.  I know, it's a horrible thing to say and I must be a horrible person for thinking that way, but it is what it is.  That rule doesn't apply to this book though.  The Count of Monte Cristo is an excellent book with easy to understand characters and motives.

Edmond Dantes has a lot going for him.  He's just been told he's going to be captain of a ship, the woman he loves is going to marry him, and he's able to care for his father in his old age.  But that all changes when some rivals of his, jealous of his fortune, denounce him falsely and he is sent off to a remote prison where all he can do is despair.  But through another prisoner he finds a chance at escape, and with a treasure buried near, Dantes must remake himself into a man capable of great vengeance.

Dantes is lovable and wonderful.  Everything you could hope for in a young man.  The Count of Monte Cristo is not so wonderful.  He is polished, articulate, and cunning, but there is no joy to him.  Everything he does is carefully manipulated and prodded to where it will do him the most good and his enemies ill.  In contrast, most of the people he comes in contact with have fairly simple emotions.  They either want power, or they are young and in love, guided by their hearts.  Maybe I'm simplifying it too much but there was a noticeable difference in the wants of the characters according to their ages.

This is a story all about revenge.  And like most tales of revenge it should be gleaned that sometimes it harms the person with the thirst for revenge almost as much as it does the people who deserve it.  Sure Dantes is masterful in his manipulation of events, but it comes at a cost.  I did enjoy reading about how he was guiding people and scenes to do the best harm to his enemies.  It was like watching a puzzle slowly come together.  And despite being sometimes vicious it wasn't overly gory or descriptive when it came to violence.   The only time I ever tired of the book was when it came to reading the various letters sent by the characters.  It wasn't that they weren't well done but I preferred the conversational tone of the rest of the book to the written tone they were presented with.

A great book about revenge and human motivations.  I know its fiction but I can't help but think it's such a believable story that it could have happened in real life.  One of the classics I can highly recommend reading.

The Count of Monte Cristo
Copyright 2004
510 pages

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