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The Count of Monte Cristo (Penguin Classics) [Paperback]

Alexandre Dumas , Robin Buss
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)
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Book Description

27 Mar 2003 Penguin Classics

Alexandre Dumas' epic tale of suffering and revenge inspired by a real-life case of wrongful imprisonment, the Penguin Classics edition of The Count of Monte Cristo is translated with an introduction by Robin Buss.

Thrown in prison for a crime he has not committed Edmond Dantès spends fourteen bitter years imprisoned in 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 also to unearth the treasure and use it to plot the destruction of the three men responsive for his incarceration. No longer the naïve sailor who disappeared into the dungeon all those years ago, he reinvents himself as the charming, mysterious and powerful Count of Monte Cristo. A huge popular success when it was first serialized in the 1840s, The Count of Monte Cristo has been a fixture of western literature ever since, and the subject of countless film and TV adaptations.

Robin Buss' lively translation is complete and unabridged, and remains faithful to the style of Dumas' original. This edition also includes an introduction, explanatory notes, a new chronology and updated suggestions for further reading.

Alexandre Dumas (1802-70) was a pioneer of Romantic theatre in France, but in 1839 he turned his attention to writing the novels for which he is best known today, pften using collaborators such as Auguste Maquet to suggest plots or historical background. His most famous works include The Three Musketeers (1844), The Count of Monte Cristo (1844-5) and The Man in the Iron Mask (1847).

If you enjoyed The Count of Monte Cristo you might enjoy Robert Louis Stevenson's Kidnapped, also available in Penguin Classics.

'What makes The Count Of Monte Cristo such a superior story is that revenge is not the only emotion driving the plot ... it is an almost perfect story - also in the mix are love, friendship, jealousy, faith, education, snobbery and class'

Sunday Express

'The greatest of escape stories'


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Product details

  • Paperback: 1312 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; Rev Ed edition (27 Mar 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140449264
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140449266
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 5.6 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 22,642 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Alexandre Dumas (1824-95) was a pioneer of the Romantic theatre in France, for which he wrote a series of colourful historical dramas, although it is as a novelist that he is best known today. His works include The Three Musketeers (1844-5), La Reine Margot (1845).

Robin Buss is a journalist and translator.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
On February 24, 1815, the lookout at Notre-Dame de la Garde signalled the arrival of the three-master Pharaon, coming from Smyrna, Trieste and Naples. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
46 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excelent Translation 5 Mar 2006
By A Customer
This edition has a recent translation. I found the clasic translation quite heavy going to read. I switched early to this edition and instantly found it much more enjoyable. This newer traslation also seems more subtle and mature. The notes are helpful and explain many of the refrences and avoid pointing out obvious details. In addition, the introduction is very good.
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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic novel, excellent translation 3 May 2004
By unlikely_heroine VINE VOICE
Dumas's dazzling, epic tale of a man seeking revenge following the ruination of his life is a thrilling read, despite being (in this edition) more than 1200 pages long. This edition is to be particularly recommended as it features a very fine recent translation, which reads very well and which also picks up on a few of the subtleties lost in the "classic" Victorian version of this novel.
Edmond Dantes is a man who, to use a cliche - has it all. He is young and just beginning to see success in his career, and has a beautiful fiance with whom he is madly in love. However, his world falls apart when he is thrown into prison on trumped-up treason charges and the world forgets about him - his father dies in poverty; his fiance, thinking he is lost to her forever, eventually marries another man. And Edmond himself spends years languishing in jail, coming close to insanity, before he meets another prisoner who gives him the skills and the courage to think about escaping and tracking down the men responsible for ruining his life...
"The Count of Monte Cristo" is an astounding novel in terms of its scope and its subject matter. We are led across Europe and through the lives of a wide cast of characters, seeing how their fates unfold over their lifetimes. The novel is also remarkable for dealing with some surprising subjects (if we consider the time it was written), including drug use and lesbianism, not to mention a murderer who is steadily working their way through an entire family.
The book does have a few problems - as other reviewers have mentioned, the Rome section drags.
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Count of Monte Cristo 11 Aug 2003
This is an amazing book; having just finished university I wanted to read something other than facts and theories and this was an excellent choice as the characters are skillfully crafted and the places are sumptuously described. Despite its length this book is not a chore to read as the chapters are relatively short and the chapter index helps to jog the readers' memory of previous events (so don't skim through it before reading if you want to be surprised). It also manages to maintain the readers' interest due to the number of characters and incidents; it was like reading an action movie whilst all the while being aware that each event not only added drama and realism but was also part of Dantes plot for revenge.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All-Time Favourite 5 July 2012
By M. Cron
This book is by far and away my favourite novel. (Robin Buss version)

I first read it on a ski-ing trip and I remember being so utterly engrossed that I read most of it uncomfortably hunched in the back of a jeep as we drove through the night by the glow of a pen light, I just could not put it down!

It terms of story, it is a classic tale of adventure and revenge. Some negative reviews accuse it of being too formulaic, but I would argue that this is one of the great stories on which the formula itself is based. Whilst the basic premise of wrongful imprisonment and cold revenge is straightforward, the vast and subtle maneuveres of the plot are phenomenal. When I finished the book I sat back and was simply staggered at the enormity of the detail, the interweaving of storylines and characters, and the genius to have conceived such complexity without ever once becoming dull.

Like all good things, it is never rushed, the author never misses the chance to explore a character's past or a corner of the plot, thus piece by piece, the cast is gradually assembled in a way that you appreciate each of them fully. Some of their opinions and concepts are dated, noticable in areas such as duelling over petty insults and suicide over shame, but that is inevitable for a book set in the past, and personally, I revel in the completeness with with Dumas describes his society.

As for Edmond himself, by the time I finished the book, I felt like I knew him as no other character I have ever read...
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars So much to say, so little space 20 Oct 2009
By Officer Dibble VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
At 1243 pages I will not attempt a resume as this has been done elsewhere. Instead a few thoughts for those considering an investment of money, but more importantly an investment of time, in this epic tome.

Buy this version as it is the first 'modern' translation since Adam was a lad. It really helps get you through those long dark nights. The translator deserves immense praise and also gives some valuable insights into the history of the text.

It is often portrayed as a children's novel, probably due to its image of a Sunday tea-time TV schedule filler. However, inter alia, it contains murder, torture, poisoning, hashish smoking, lesbian affairs, extra marital affairs, opium taking, suicide, insanity and decapitation. Hardly kids stuff!

Inevitably there are sections which could generously be described as 'lulls'. My own view is that the section in Rome is below standard. The trouble is a 'section' or 'lull' in a book of this size can be fifty to a hundred pages long. Nevertheless, stick at it and Dumas will raise his game further on.

The book covers decades and the characters often seem like totally different people from their first introduction. Edmond Dantes is 'a simple uneducated man' before his resurrection as the superman Count. The main players in Dantes' demise change so much (including their names) that I confess to scribbling together a family tree. This is exacerbated as Dantes' revenge extends to the immediate families of his tormentors.

A potential reader may well ask 'Why is it so long?' Firstly,remember that this was serialised and Dumas was paid by the word. Secondly, the Count seeks his revenge 'pede chaudo'; retribution will come slowly but surely.

Buy it and take your time to read it - recommended. If all else fails you will look so cool carrying a novel the size of a house brick!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The best adventure story every written
It is a shame to finish reading this book I doubt whether I will read anything like it again. I envy anyone who decides to read it as every chapter is a page turner and you will... Read more
Published 1 month ago by David Edmonds
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent. Well edited and exciting.
Published 2 months ago by Me
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 3 months ago by Hayes Books Ltd
5.0 out of 5 stars Still great on kindle
I was a bit dubious of getting a kindle so when I eventually did the first thing I wanted to read was my favourite book. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Julia Earle
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book, great edition
Really beautifully bound, and a great book. It's a bit on the pricey side, however, but then again all of the Clothbound Classics are. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Pen Name
5.0 out of 5 stars A very long tale but worth it!
I really enjoyed this tale. Written in such rich prose. I had no problem with the translation that some reviewers seem to, I was just pulled along by the classic story. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Tony Bendall
5.0 out of 5 stars great read
I started this book one evening around eight O'clock, at two O' clock I went very cold still in the living-room, I just could not put the
book down. Read more
Published 5 months ago by ocean2
5.0 out of 5 stars Puts all other translations to shame
I always loved this story but reading this new translation makes it even more amazing. The parts that were Bowdlerised from other version really add to the whole tale. Read more
Published 7 months ago by John M. Howitt
3.0 out of 5 stars ok but a little too long
Started well although thought it got a little slow. Got 55% through before giving up on it. Just too long and failed to keep me captivated. Read more
Published 8 months ago by GAVIN B.
5.0 out of 5 stars An all time favourite
This a classic story about suffering and retribution. Certainly the "wrongful imprisonment storyline" has been done too many times, but remember this is one of those novels that... Read more
Published 9 months ago by ArisM
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