Perhaps the only work in popularity to rival Alexandre Dumas’ Three Musketeers is The Count of Monte Cristo. As with many of Dumas’ works, the story has huge cast of characters and several underlying plot lines dealing with political upheaval and scandals in France during that era. I found that the The Man in the Iron Mask had so many side political story lines that it made the novel confusing and hard to follow. And then I got bored. However, The Count, has just the right amount and ties together very well at the end, which does not subscribe to the generic formulaic predictable plot. In fact, I would deem it the ultimate revenge story.
There have been 11 films and 4 television series that have attempted to tell the tale of the wronged Edmund Dantes and his search for his fiance Mercedes and his pursuit of the man that wronged him. The most recent film was in 2002 starring Jim Caviezel and while casted well, paled in comparison to the novel in many ways and the liberal creative license taken with the story almost offending. The latter half of the film no longer resembled the masterpiece of the novel. Yes, most films pale to their written counterparts, but this one in particular deserved a Golden Razzie.
The novel has a huge story to go with the cast of characters, but is pretty basic in that a man is wrongly accused and seeks to right the wrongs, along the way, losing those that he cared about, mounting his need for revenge even further. Edmund calculates and plans out the most exquisite plans and is not completely heartless or merciless. In fact, his compassion and loyalty are overriding themes throughout the novel. I guess you could say the richness of the Monte Cristo sandwich rivals that of it’s namesake!
The Count of Monte Cristo is not a novel to be missed.
And if you really need the short version, The Simpsons did a 10min summary in the episode “Revenge is a Dish Best Served Three Times.”
On the Bookalicious Scale: 5- Devour. A complete feast for your soul.