Revenge is a dish that’s best served cold, they say. And when it comes to classic revenge, it does not get any better than the one served up by master storyteller Alexandre Dumas in his epic The Count of Monte Cristo. Let’s warn you right off: this is a massive book, spanning more than a thousand pages. Let us also warn you right off: you will find it difficult to put down!
That’s because this is a book that has everything in it – from romance to adventure to conspiracies to murder. But the main theme running through it is vengeance. The Count of Monte Cristo narrates the story of a young sailor Edmund Dantes in early nineteenth century France. Seemingly set for a bright future – he is favourite to be made captain of a ship, and is all set to marry his sweetheart – Dantes is abruptly arrested and put in prison. For years and years. He has no idea what he has done. Or what has happened to those he loved – his old father, his young fiancee…he literally is left to rot in prison.
And then one day, he gets out. He manages to find money. And then…he goes back to find out why this had happened to him. And to wreak vengeance on every one who deprived him of his youth and happiness. It is no ordinary revenge, though. Dantes is not out to kill his enemies. No, he wants those who harmed him to be humiliated and driven to despair. And he goes about it in a very meticulous manner, taking his time. Those who had conspired against him find themselves losing money, fame and even family as Dantes pulls strings, quietly and cleverly. He makes and breaks relationships, turns friends into enemies and basically wrecks the worlds of those who had wronged him. But does he succeed totally or more importantly, find peace at the end of it all? Read it and you will know. This classic literature at its best and well, Dumas is considered to be the greatest storyteller of them all (Lord Jeffrey Archer agrees!).
Do not get intimidated by its size or the wide canvas of characters – this is a Dumas book so the story telling is riveting. There is something for everyone here. You will laugh, you will cry and you will feel moved. And there will even be times when you wonder if you like the hero or not. Cold blooded pursuit of revenge can have that effect.
If revenge is a dish best served cold, The Count of Monte Cristo delivers it right out of deep freeze.
A small word of advice: the book is a classic and is available from many publishers. We would recommend going with a well-known publisher as they tend to use the best translators. That can make a difference. The book was after all, initially written in French.