Well, I finally finished this book.
I read the comic book adaptation of this book last year, and I knew that the comic book adaptation left a lot of things out–I suspect there are panels in the comic with scenes that are hundreds of pages apart in the book. My beautiful wife read the book not long after we saw the film in the theater, so I ordered myself a nice copy to read. And I picked it up in November not long after passing The Villages At Monte Crist. And it has taken me six months to read it.
The book is essentially three books in one, and I only liked two of them.
The first part of the book tells about how Edmond Dantès, a sailor, who returns to port happy to see his fiancée Mercédès, but a disgruntled shipmate, a ne’er-do-well, and a rival for Mercédès frame Dantès as a Bonapartist after the restoration. When the prosecutor reviews the case, he discovers his own father’s involvement, so Dantès is sentenced to the remote Chateau d’If. He passes fourteen years there, his lonely days broken when an abbe from an adjoining cell breaks through into Dantes’ cell. They spend years studying together and planning an escape, but it’s only the abbe’s death that gives Dantès the chance he needs. Once free, he finds the buried treasure left behind by the abbe, whom everyone thought was mad because he offered millions for his freedom–millions that nobody thought he had.
The second part of the book and, sadly, the biggest portion of the book deals with what has happened to everyone else during the years of Dantès’ imprisonment and his travels and studies before he returns to Paris. The people who framed Dantès have prospered. Their children have come of age. So a lot of things go on, and the independent characters who are not the title characters have their chapters, kind of like in a Stephen King novel, but they don’t get killed by flying soda machines shortly after you’ve read a couple thousand words on them. The second part also includes the return of Dantès, now styled as the Count of Monte Cristo, to Paris to exact revenge and some parts of him putting his plans in motion, but it’s a lot more intrigue than action.
The third part of the book details his plans coming to fruition, and how he has set each up to fail according to his strengths. So the third part, with its action, moves along a little faster. As his plot goes on, though, Dantès starts to wonder if the collateral damage in his revenge makes him evil.
It ends, not with a reunion of Dantès and Mercédès, but a happy ending never the less. Dantès really grows as a character, which is rare for an action book, but Dumas has a thousand pages to play around with here.
So I enjoyed the first and last parts of the trilogy, so to speak. And I’m glad to have read it even though at times I did not enjoy reading it. Overall, though, I prefer The Three Musketeers, and I have one or more sequels to it around here somewhere. Which I’ll get into in a couple of years, I reckon.