Genre: historical fiction, classic, adventure
Falsely accused of treason, the young sailor Edmond Dantes is arrested on his wedding day and imprisoned in the island fortress of the Chateau d’If. After a dramatic escape, he sets out to discover the fabulous treasure of Monte Cristo and avenge himself on his enemies.
One of my favourite classics that is the ultimate adventure and revenge book – I love it and I recommend it to all readers. Read the unabridged version and don’t despair at the intimidating number of pages. This book reads easy and never loses the pacing – Edmond is point centre at all times even if the book focuses on other characters. He’s like a spectre lying over everything, observing all and missing nothing at all. You got to give it to him – he’s the one laughing the last and therefore the merriest.
“How did I escape? With difficulty. How did I plan this moment? With pleasure. ”
You’ll love the way Edmond tricks his old enemies and the lengths he goes to in order to piece together what had happened in the years he spent in prison. He’s a great detective but despite the power money gives to him, he’s also a shrewd investor. He may live in luxury, but he’s not just throwing money away because he can – he is generous, but not stupid. Of course the sums he operates with are stupendous and that’s also part of his charm and mystique.
“Hatred is blind; rage carries you away; and he who pours out vengeance runs the risk of tasting a bitter draught.”
You’ll enjoy the maturation he achieves under the tutelage of a fellow prisoner. That old priest is brutal with his comments and verbal lashings when the young and naïve Edmond says things that clearly show he doesn’t understand the darker nature of people. But he learns and loses some of this spark that made him so unique and liked. The constant struggle between the old Edmond who loves unconditionally and the calculating and manipulative Count is a marvel. You may know he’s got every right to punish those people for their crimes, but you also despair he’s courting his own ruin.
“There is neither happiness nor unhappiness in this world; there is only the comparison of one state with another. Only a man who has felt ultimate despair is capable of feeling ultimate bliss. It is necessary to have wished for death in order to know how good it is to live…..the sum of all human wisdom will be contained in these two words: Wait and Hope.”
The villains are ordinary people blinded by greed and ambition. Most of them profit from underhanded deals, oppression, manipulation, and general narcissistic behaviour. What is surprising though is that not one of them is truly happy. The secrets and dark actions from their past are their jailors in a far harsher sense than Edmond ever was in that fortress. Edmond has always enjoyed more freedom than them – it was freedom of a clear conscience.
You’ll find your own favourite characters and side-plots, but I bet you’ll cheer on our Count in his epic journey towards a new life. There are lots of voyages, mysteries, funny tales, and grand societies to entertain everyone. What more do you need of a book?