September 18th, 2012


Book Review: The Count of Monte Cristo, by Alexandre Dumas

Before Batman, before Zorro, there was... the Count of Monte Cristo.

The Count of Monte Cristo

Published 1844, approximately 461,000 words. Available for free at Project Gutenberg.

On the eve of his marriage to the beautiful Mercedes, having that very day been made captain of his ship, the young sailor Edmond Dantès is arrested on a charge of treason, trumped up by jealous rivals. Incarcerated for many lonely years in the isolated and terrifying Chateau d'If near Marseilles, he meticulously plans his brilliant escape and extraordinary revenge.

Of all the "masked avengers" and "caped crusaders" in literature, The Count of Monte Cristo is at once the most daring and the most vulnerable. Alexandre Dumas (père), master storyteller, takes us on a journey of adventure, romance, intrigue, and ultimately, redemption.

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Verdict: The Count of Monte Cristo is an epic tale, maybe not as swashbuckling as The Three Musketeers, but still awfully fun. Dumas's writing is not nuanced or elegant, but it's a great book for anyone who's ever dreamed of finding a buried Roman treasure, reinventing himself as Batman, and returning to wreak vengeance on his enemies. Maybe you want to skip the fourteen years in a dungeon, though.

The Count of Monte Cristo is one of the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die.

My complete list of book reviews.