The first time I read this book, it landed high on my list of favorite books. Full of action, romance, intrigue, and moral dilemmas, it’s a book that engages your mind and makes you think, and leaves you to consider what’s right or wrong.
The story opens with the return of Edmund Dantes from his latest sea voyage, excited to marry the woman he loves. But three men, who he thought were friends, betray him and cause him to be arrested. He spends 14 years in prison before finally escaping and returning to society not as himself, but as someone new, a rich, enigmatic man.
Dedicated to revenge, Dantes goes about it in unique ways, ingratiating himself with the families of the men who betrayed him. He carefully plots the downfall of each man, but during the course of his quest, Dantes realizes perhaps he isn’t the hand of God, and perhaps he could have used his life for more.
Dumas is one of my favorite authors, and this book is my favorite of his. There is so much going on in the story, but it all ties together and isn’t particularly difficult to follow.
The characters also have depth to them, good and bad is evident in most of them. Dantes’ character especially, you see him wrestle a time or two with how far he’s gone and was it too far. Dantes destroys the lives of the men who imprisoned him, but he also saves the lives of others, literally, and and saves their happiness.
The Count of Monte Cristo is a commitment. It’s not light reading by any means. But it’s worth it.