‘The Count of Monte Cristo’ Book Review

A masterpiece. Alexandre Dumas was a genius.

Published in 1846 as a serial novel, ‘The Count of Monte Cristo’ is truly an epic tale – 117 chapters and 1,200 pages long. Translated from the original French, and set primarily in post-Napoleonic France, it tells the story of Edmond Dantes.

We witness Edmond’s transformation from wide-eyed 19-year old sailor, about to become captain of his own ship and marry beautiful Mercedes, the girl of his dreams, to a prisoner, a victim of treachery forgotten in a dungeons of the infamous Chateau d’If, to one of the most enigmatic and multi-layered characters ever written – fabulously wealthy, awesomely powerful and patiently bent on the cleverest, darkest revenge.

Spanning the course of 24 years, this is a saga so rich, so intricate and so enveloping, it makes movies’ attempts to capture masterpieces in the space of a few hours laughable. The reader is mesmerized from the very first chapter. We are sickened by the plots of Edmond’s jealous friends and colleagues plotting his demise. We sense the imminent danger that our guilelessly lovable protagonist is in, but we read on, because we know things will not end well for those who have done wrong as they are steered unknowingly along the inexorable course of fate. With brilliantly rich characters and surprisingly interconnected events, the masterful plot develops seamlessly and with great eloquence and beauty.

Dumas weaves a timelessly brilliant work that captures every facet of human nature and life; it is a story of intrigue, greed and revenge, but also of generosity and determination, self-examination and forgiveness, restoration, redemption and love.

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