Another Book Recommendation

I have a goodly number of books classified under “favorite” for me. Timeless stories such as the Lord of the Rings, Pride and Prejudice, Dracula, or Les Miserables are books I have often plucked off the shelf and re-entered with relish. One of such stories is The Count of Monte Cristo, by Alexander Dumas.

I had first heard of this book from my mother, who had time and again encouraged me to read it. Being young, however, and of the opinion that any book my mother recommends is dry and dull, I steadfastly rejected it with scorn.

It was only till my older brother consumed the book and eulogized it to the skies and when we had a 6 hour car trip ahead of us that I reluctantly decided to get both mother and brother off my back and try to read this long book about what I thought would be a sobstory of a boy in prison. So as we pulled off our driveway and began our all-day car ride, I opened The Count of Monte Cristo and began to read.

Scene from Marseille, France, where Edmond Dantes lives in the beginning of the story. (Credit: Google Images)

For about 100 pages, I felt justified in the pre-judgement of the book being a tragedy of a boy pining in prison. But the triumph of thinking so had come too late; I was already lost in the drama. I did not resurface for the rest of the road trip.

So, what is this book all about?

Written in 1844, The Count of Monte Cristo follows the tale of a young man by the name of Edmond Dantes, a hardworking sailor whose faithfulness and honesty brings him all that is good in the world: money to support his ailing father, the love of the beautiful and sweet Mercedes, and the promised position of captain of his employer’s ship.

But his joy his short-lived, for he becomes the target of two jealous men: his fellow shipmate of his position, and Mercedes’ cousin of his betrothed. These two bring a false accusation against Dantes, and he is taken to prison on his wedding day, with a false hope that he would soon be released.

The Château d’If in Marseille, France; where Edmond Dantes was held prisoner. (Credit: Google Images)

4 years later, in prison, Dantes unexpectedly meets a fellow inmate, one Abbe Faria. He is another wrongly imprisoned man who takes Dantes under his wing, mentors him in all that he knows, and conjures an escape for both him and Dantes, who he has grown to love more than a son.

The Abbe tells him of a treasure which lies hidden on the island of Monte Cristo. When Dantes manages to escape, he directs his steps to the island and finds all as the Abbe had said.  He takes up the name of the island and seeks revenge on the men who ruined 14 years of his life by falsely accusing him.

The rest of the book he is known as “the Count of Monte Cristo,” and can hardly be recognized even by the reader as the irreproachable Edmond Dantes of the first few chapters.

Montecristo Island in the Tuscan Archipelago (Credit: Google Images)

I can hardly put into a summary the rest of the book, because I do not want to spoil any plot-twists or the ending (I even left out some key details of the beginning of the story to exclude spoilers), but know it only gets more complex and engrossing in the ensuing 500 pages, adding new characters, new dilemmas, and side-story arches–the plot twists are, by the way, the best I have ever come across.

Alexander Dumas does an impeccable job of  character development, story progression, and keeping the reader glued to the pages. Dumas’ style of writing only adds to the thorough enjoyment of this piece of literature.

Once you pick it up, you cannot put it down–in fact, while writing this I opened up the book again to refresh my memory, and I was completely lost. My free time for the foreseeable future will now be consumed by returning to the pages of The Count of Monte Cristo. Excuse me whilst I am transported back within the walls of the Château d’If; the Abbe Faria is knocking to see if the jailer has left Dantes’ cell…

5 thoughts on “Another Book Recommendation”

  1. My dad recommended some classics to me, which I did read.

    I was raised watching the George C. Scott movie of A Christmas Carol. My dad did recommend Tale of Two Cities, Great Expectations, and Don Quixote.

    Other classics (as in old classics):

    1. Les Misérables
    2. Hunchback of Notre Dame
    3. Nicholas Nickleby
    4. Oliver Twist
    5. Illiad
    6. Odyssey
    7. Bleak House, which I still am working on

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for reading! I suspect you are a Dickens fan since you’ve read so many of his works! Thank you for the recommendations, I am currently reading the Odyssey and am really enjoying it!

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    1. Yes, I am a Dickens fan. Never once disliked any of his books. It does help that I grew up on A Christmas Carol- by the George C. Scott movie. Watching that movie over the Holidays became a family tradition.

      In addition, I love the classics- from Dickens to Hugo to Cervantes to Homer- the 19th century classics and the one from earlier are what I refer to the “old’ classics.

      As for “new” classics- this is when Tolkien comes into play. Love Lord of the Rings among some other classics in the 20th century

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I really admire your taste in literature, you sound like someone right up my ally! Lotr is truly the epitome of, as you put it, newer classics, and right behind it is the Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis, have you read that series?

        I have (to my shame) hesitated when it comes to reading Dickens; of his books I have only read two– Great Expectations and a Christmas Carol– and while I am conversing with a Dickens fan I must ask: which book of his would you recommend I read next?

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      2. I read both Harry Potter and Chronicles of Narnia. Those two are what truly made me fall in love with fantasy- soon enough led to Lord of the Ring

        Charles Dickens- If you only read Great Expectations and A Christmas Carol, choose Oliver Twist or Tale of Two Cities next. Then slowly move up to the longer Dickens books. It is really difficult not to like a Dickens book.

        You will find some bookish posts on my blog

        Liked by 1 person

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