Sunday, December 28, 2014
THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO by ALEXANDRE DUMAS (PERE)
Reading this book from my "book bucket list" was a Christmas treat for myself. I've had it on my EReader for a long time just waiting for a little spare time. It's one of those classics people like to claim they've read when they really haven't. I was interested because it begins at the time when Napoleon escaped from the Island of Elba and marched into France to regain control of the country, temporarily as it turned out.
You must accustom yourself to the flowery, yet formal prose and stilted dialogue which fits the time of the story and of fiction when it was written. Personally I didn't find those things any detriment because this is quite a good story with excellent characters. Of course there are coincidences that are a bit of a stretch, and plot devices that wouldn't fly in modern times, but I found them easy to overlook in my delight in the story.
The count himself is of course the best depicted character of all. He is initially a 19 year old sailor who has applied himself well to learning his trade and who is deeply in love with the girl he is about to marry. Edmond Dantes is on the brink of wonderful things, not least of which is his pending wedding to Mercedes. Such a promising young man generates jealousy though and he has innocently made two enemies. These two men forge a letter implicating him in the conspiracy to help Napoleon and he is sent to prison. Soon he is in a dungeon and all but forgotten except for Mercedes, his elderly father, and his former employer, Mr. Morrel.
His years of imprisonment and the intricate plot he follows to get revenge on the people who were responsible make up the bulk of the book, but the point of it all is the emotions that sustain him until he escapes and then how the years of obtaining revenge that he believes he is due affect him. His plans are fascinating, even cringe-worthy at times but always understandable because we know exactly what he endured in that dungeon.
I'm so happy that I finally can cross this book off that bucket list and have the memory of it for my life. I find myself thinking about it again and again as the days pass. It's one of those books that stay with you; there's just so much to think about.
Source: Free download