The Count of Monte Cristo/Review by Linda Hughes

The Count of Monte Cristo
Alexandre Dumas

BirlinnEveryman’s Library; 
Everymans Library edition (June 2, 2009)
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Classic Reads The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
Review by Linda Hughes

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas, first published in French in 1844, presently ranks as #1,000 in Amazon’s Classic Action and Adventure category, making it one of the longest-lasting classics available to us today.

The Count of Monte Cristo transcends traditional genres with mystery, action/adventure, historical fiction, and romance all intertwined throughout the story. Its translation into a hundred languages is a testament to how themes of injustice, revenge, forgiveness, and mercy resonate with readers everywhere.

The story begins during the tumultuous Napoleonic era in the early 1800s in France when the sailor Edmund Dantès is betrayed on the day of his wedding. Thrown into the horrific Château d’If, a dungeon prison on an island, he befriends a dying prisoner who mentors him on the ways of life. Edmund’s eventual miraculous escape and astounding discovery of treasure allow him to turn himself into the Count of Monte Cristo, whose obsession is revenge on his enemies. 

However, Edmund’s plan has destructive consequences for everyone involved—his loved ones, his enemies, and himself. Forced to rethink his plot, he must open up to new possibilities.

A Bit about Alexandre Dumas
Most of us living today have seen movies based on the works of this prolific author, his timeless storytelling enticing numerous filmmakers. Dumas’s stories The Corsican Brothers (1843), The Count of Monte Cristo (1844), The Three Musketeers (1844), Twenty Years After (1845), The Queen’s Necklace (1850), The Man in the Iron Mask (late 1840s), and The Prince of Thieves (1872, posthumously) are just a few that have been made into films.

Interestingly, Dumas published some of these as serials rather than full-length novels. His stories tend to focus on events of his era and of the recent history of his era, giving readers an intimate look at life during that time. His work sometimes ventures into the highbrow, but usually his writing style is easily accessible to the average reader, which may contribute to his enduring popularity. He lived from 1802-1870.   

What The Count of Monte Cristo Means to Me
I first read this novel when I was fifteen years old, and I was hooked. Born and raised in a small town, where traveling fifteen miles away was considered a wild excursion, I couldn’t wait to grow up and have adventures like the ones in this story. The dramatic images fly off the page—a life of defeat and despair that turns into a life of opulence and intrigue! This book gave me dreams about the possibilities my future might hold. Although I have yet to find a treasure like Edmund, I have had some grand adventures. This story instilled in me a thirst for exploration that is with me to this day.

My suggestion to you is to read the book, watch one of the many movies based on this story, and then read the book again. You’ll most likely be as hooked as so many have been in more than a hundred and seventy years. Enjoy the adventure!

Linda Hughes is a #1 bestselling co-author and award-winning author of twenty books, including her latest novella, Lilac Island. Find her at