Sunday, 11 November 2012

The Count of Monte Cristo

Originally, we were meant to read books from the booklist at around the same time but that was never practical. It was fortunate that Jon and I both had a copy of The Count of Monte Cristo so we decided to read it together and write a review together.  The Count of Monte Cristo was written in 1844 by Alexander Dumas, who was a popular writer and playwright during in his day. He is most famous for writing The Three Musketeer trilogy which has been adapted to films for many years now.

The Count of Monte Cristo is about a sailor named Edmond Dantes, blessed with good looks, many friends and a lovely fiancé. Edmond‘s life is going great, he’s about to be promoted to captain at the age of 19 and he’s looking forward to his wedding to the beautiful Mercedes. What he fails to notice is the jealously that lurks in the hearts of some of his colleagues.

On his wedding day, Edmond is whisked away to face charges of treason. His associates have set him up for a crime he didn’t commit and Edmond is sentenced to life in prison. At first, Edmond lives in hope that evidence will be revealed that he’s innocent but as the years pass he’ll begins to doubt that he’ll ever be free. When he realises that he was framed by his colleagues, he vows for revenge.


I thought The Count of Monte Cristo was a thrilling book, I enjoyed all of it. I’m use to reading classic novels such as Jane Austen novels, which are about courtship and niceties so it was a change for me to read a classic book that had suspense, intrigue and murder.

I was worried that the novel would too wordy, complicated, boring or predictable but I found it entertaining. There are a lot of twists and turns in the novel and although I could see some of it coming, I still wanted to read about how it would be acted out.  

I really liked Edmond Dantes. The character is so clever, calm, noble and brave. The novel spans many years so you see the character grow. There are two shifts in the story where the first part of the novel focuses on Edmond and the second part focuses on Edmond as the mysterious Count of Monte Cristo and what people think of him.

When the shift from Edmond to the Count came, I did miss getting an insight into Edmond’s thoughts and feelings. The Count of Monte Cristo is more mysterious and aloof whereas Edmond is a much more open character.

I thought his revenge against the people who wronged him was moderate and not at all too mean. He was quite calculated with his plans and there wasn’t much collateral damage. I found it all quite neat, in that his revenge went to according to plan, except for a few things. The Count of Monte Cristo was more about exposing the corruption of former colleagues, who all became wealthy by illegal and immoral means rather than hunting down and stabbing them in an alleyway.

So I really liked the book and I want to see the different movies versions of it. I know there is a good one starring Guy Pearce so I will watch that one. I know it’s not quite like the book but that’s okay most movies aren’t like their book versions.

One of my favourite tv shows is Revenge. It was inspired by The Count of Monte Cristo. It’s about a girl named Amanda Clarke whose father was wrongly convicted for terrorism. The show is about, yes you guessed it, Amanda going out for revenge.


When Edmund is younger he is an ambitious but naïve young man who is entrapped by those who seek their own personal benefit at his disposal.  The young Edmund is very likeable but the character he becomes as the Count of Monte Cristo is dark, calculating and I’d even go so far as to say evil.  It seems the Count is on a Divine Mission to punish, and as such he exhibits a great deal of hubris in meeting out his revenge.   So many things fall in The Count’s favor that it makes the reader wonder if an angry God is indeed on his side.  It doesn’t hurt that he was dealing with despicable people, who are more apt to have despicable ends given their nature.  Unfortunately a number of innocent people are also harmed because of the Counts actions.  Finally late in the story there are two points which don’t go the Count’s way and he questions his own divine authority in having carried out his revenge.  At that realization it still does not seem that he is terribly wrecked with grief for the pains he has caused to innocents.   Once again though his hubris shows through when he receives a sign from God that he is essentially forgiven.  He literally sails off into the sunset to end the book.  Hardly the kind of happy-go-lucky ending you’d expect from such a dark book. 

The book itself is not full of unforeseeable twists and turns, it’s pretty straight forward, but the action moves and it truly is a good read.  I did quite enjoy the story even though I was not the biggest fan of the ending.  I DID like that some things finally didn’t go his way at the end even though he never displayed the contrition that I would have liked to see after those events.  There is one character too, named Caderousse who to me seems to be one of the main people responsible for the events leading to Dantes imprisonment, but because he has not led a life of excess and has felt some guilt he seems to get a free pass on the vengeance accord.   I have not looked into it at all but I suspect that Edmund Dantes could well have some relevance to the story of Dante’s Inferno.  I even believe that there is one small point in the story where Dante’s Inferno is referenced.  Were I more knowledgeable about Dante’s Inferno I would try to draw out the ways in which it may have influenced Dumas personal vision of hell as seen through the eyes of The Count. 

Hopefully I didn’t give away too much regarding the details of the story.  I absolutely enjoyed reading it and would recommend it to any of our readers who may not have read it.



  1. LOVE this movie adaptation - I tried reading the book, Carlyn but never did get through it. :/

    1. I'm looking forward to watching the movie adaption that features Guy Pearce in it. I saw a bit of it before, I liked the sword fighting.

    2. I sure hope you like it, Carlyn - it's a dashing piece of heroics and swordplay. ;D


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