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Clif's Book World

Adventures from reading books captured within short reviews.

The Count of Monte Cristo

The Count of Monte Cristo - David Case, Alexandre Dumas The first third of this book is a thriller, the second third a soap opera, and the final third is a murder mystery, and the whole thing is a behemoth. There's also a touch of romance near the end. The principle message through almost all of its 1200 pages (1400 in some editions) is that "revenge is good." There are a few instances near the end of the book where the Count of Monte Cristo wonders if perhaps the revenge should have been left to God. Those brief comments provide a small Band-Aid to a huge gratuitous expression of the human wish for revenge (some would prefer to call it justice). I will grant the author credit for devising clever and drawn out ways of bringing about revenge. And it's revenge with minimal physical violence imposed from others, but there is self-imposed violence brought about by manipulation of affairs by the Count.

There are plenty of things in this fictional story that are not realistic, but it doesn't rise to the level of fantasy. However, I must point out that this is not a good source of information about the ways in which poisons effect the body. The ending of the book involves a couple of manipulated resurrections that come pretty close to the experience of death, visit to hell, passing through purgatory, going to heaven, and living to tell about it. Actually, now that I think about it, the overall plot could be summarized that way.

Continuing with examples of unrealistic scenes, the Count of Monte Cristo is possibly a forerunner of the modern superhero. He uses his enormous gifts, vast resources and hidden identities to fight crime and help the innocent. He is able to go incognito instantly and effortlessly, merely by donning a simple disguise. The satisfaction of retribution experienced in this book is similar to that found in today's stories such as Superman.

By the end of the book, the Count of Monte Cristo begins to wax philosophical with a tilt toward the religious:
“Tom Clancy book.

From the PageADay's Booklover's Calendar for 9/10/12:
Published in 1844? Pity the contemporary reader who’d assume the prose would be old-fashioned and stilted, the story bloated with extraneous details. The heroic story of Edmond Dantès barrels forward through scenes of love, betrayal, fighting, escapes, revenge, and all manner of derring-do. Expect surprise twists. And expect to gobble up the whole thing with pleasure.
THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO, by Alexandre Dumas; translated by Robin Buss (1844; Penguin Classics, 2003)