Throwback Thursdays is a chance for me to share some of my older favorites. Hopefully they’ll earn a place on someone else’s To Read list from it. 🙂
The Count of Monte Cristo
Author: Alexander Dumas
Genre(s): Classic, Historical Fiction
Thrown in prison for a crime he has not committed, Edmond Dantes is confined to the grim fortress of If. There he learns of a great hoard of treasure hidden on the Isle of Monte Cristo and becomes determined not only to escape but to unearth the treasure and use it to plot the destruction of the three men responsible for his incarceration. A huge popular success when it was first serialized in the 1840s, Dumas was inspired by a real-life case of wrongful imprisonment when writing his epic tale of suffering and retribution.
This is likely one of my all time favorite books. It might be my actual favorite of all books out there actually. When I was in my teens I saw this movie version and was consumed by my fascination with Edmond Dantes’ quest for revenge. At the time I was just discovering how much I loved political intrigue books with the War of the Spider Queen series. And while dark elves backstabbing one another in a fantasy setting is awesome, the tale of a man who could very well be a real person exacting such vengeance on those that very much wronged him was mind boggling to my younger self. After letting the story tumble around in my mind for a few months I picked up the original version at the library. I kept renewing my time with it because after my first read through I immediately flipped back to page one to start over. The differences between the film and the dog-eared paperback I held in my hands were many but, as I’ve often found, the book was leagues better. Not that the movie was bad but its ending was too sweet, too gentle after I had seen Edmond’s revenge play out on the page.
The Count of Monte Cristo has everything I treasure in a book. There’s intrigue of political and social varieties both. Do you like adventure? Dantes seems to find himself neck deep in exciting situations as do many of the other characters. Every page holds a new wonder on it; the potential for another secret to be revealed and you may find yourself as eager as I was to learn them all.
Even years later I find myself rereading it often and thinking of it with a great fondness in between those returns to its pages. Dumas weaves an amazing story that touches on many different motivations. The characters are a joy to watch interact and leave me anxious to see their reactions to the secret webs I know are being woven. I find it impossible to imagine I’ll ever lose my soft spot for the crafty and cunning man who rose from the ashes of an innocent sailor wrongly imprisoned.