By Alexandre Dumas.
The Count of Monte Cristo is one of the great thrillers of all time. In 1853 William Thackeray wrote to a friend: ‘began to read Monte Cristo at six one morning and never stopped till eleven at night.’. Falsely accused of treason, the young sailor Edmund Dantes is arrested on his wedding day and imprisoned in the island fortress of the Chateau d’If. After staging a dramatic escape, he sets out to discover the fabulous treasure of Monte Cristo and catch up with his enemies. A novel of enormous tension and excitement, Monte Cristo is also a tale of obsession and revenge. Believing himself to be an ‘Angel of Providence’, Dantes pursues his vengeance to the bitter end, only then realizing that he himself is a victim of fate.
Last year I was going on holiday and I decided to start reading this huge classic (and I mean huge as in you could seriously hurt people by throwing this book at them). A combination of factors – the aforementioned size of the book, the edition in question which has a really small font size – conspired against a quick read. Therefore, it is over a year later that I stand here having finished this, after downloading a free copy of it on my trusted Kobo.
Do not be discouraged though, because let me tell you: it was well worth the read! While I was familiar with the basic outline of this story, as I imagine almost everyone is, I hadn’t seen the movie and didn’t know any specifics at all. But honestly, all you need to know going into it is that it’s a revenge story against those who have caused the wrongful imprisonment of our lead character, Edmund Dantes aka the Count of Monte Cristo.
I was surprised that the escape from prison came so soon in the book, for I couldn’t envision a revenge that would take up so many pages, but indeed it does, in a most glorious way. Every plan and machination set into motion for this purpose is wonderfully complex, and seeing them all come into fruition at last is very satisfying.
This is a difficult book to describe, because it is so many different things at different times, and it may be hard to follow on occasion due to an abundance of characters (or maybe that’s just because I read it over a long period of time), but it is truly entertaining throughout.
Towards the end of the story, Dantes himself starts questioning his path and thinking about the future instead of the past.
After all is said and done, the journey this book takes us on actually ends on a positive note, which is summed up perfectly in the last line of its 875 pages: wait and hope.
4 hearts out of 5