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409 of 414 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Be careful which version you choose!
Dumas' "Count of Monte Cristo" is the most exciting book I have ever read. It is the epitome of the perfect adventure novel and contains all of the traits that define the genre: jealousy, suspense, action, revenge, deceit, etc. At 1100+ pages, and the label as a "classic," many readers would be turned off at the task of reading such a book. Although the story is long...
Published on 9 Nov 2006 by Scott

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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The of Cristo
I found one problem with this book. It's an abridged version, and it shows. The first section, up until the appearance of the Count himself, seemed to be complete, but thereafter I kept feeling that there were whole chunks of the story missing. I feel like I've missed out whole chapters, and since I've been to read a plot synopsis, I find there are giant holes in what...
Published on 16 Feb 2009 by Peter Ward


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409 of 414 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Be careful which version you choose!, 9 Nov 2006
Dumas' "Count of Monte Cristo" is the most exciting book I have ever read. It is the epitome of the perfect adventure novel and contains all of the traits that define the genre: jealousy, suspense, action, revenge, deceit, etc. At 1100+ pages, and the label as a "classic," many readers would be turned off at the task of reading such a book. Although the story is long and over 150 years old, it is truly "timeless." This does not read at all like the books you were forced to endure in 9th grade English, and is mostly as topical today as it was when it was penned.

That being said, reading the "wrong" version of this book can change the reader's experience for the worse. Amazon has combined all of the reviews for this book across the many different versions available, which can be very misleading. There are two things that affect the story, the translation, and the context.

I strongly encourage everyone to get the UNabridged version of this story. The abridged version cuts out more than half of Dumas' novel and while the story is still enjoyable, the reader misses out on many exciting chapters in the book. Do not let the length fool you. I found every bit of this book exciting, and never got bored.

Secondly, look for the Robin Buss Translation. Many of the versions of this book use a translation from 1846 (including the Modern Library and Oxford World's Classics editions) that, because of social restrictions at the time, altered some of the story, especially that dealing with sexuality. The Robin Buss translation is more faithful and restores this language, as well as making it an easier read for modern readers.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fabulous!, 4 Feb 2004
By A Customer
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what an enchanting book. the characters come alive and jump off the page. and you feel every emotion that each character goes through as if it were your own. With a totally complicated but awesome plot, the book is unsuprassed in my opinion. If you have seen the films and thought against reading the book, please dont take that as a sign, the book is a million times better than any of the films ever made. dont let the size of the book put you off either, you will not be able to put it down after the third chapter. an utterly compelling read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The story of implacable vengeance, 11 Mar 2009
By 
LittleMoon (loving my life in the rain) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
Dumas' unabridged novel The Count of Monte Cristo, weighs in at a hefty 900+ pages, a fact that might turn a great number of potential readers (and thus buyers) away. It is a mistake though, to pass up this novel on account of its pretensions to masonry, when what lies within is prose of a highly readable nature, and a story of timeless intrigue and vengeance. Not for nothing does Keith Wren's introduction refer to Dumas as the "John Grisham or Stephen King of his day".

I find that Wordsworth Classics are excellent editions overall, particularly for their jargon-free introductions, and the little piece of advice always noted at the front, that "we strongly advise you to enjoy this book before turning to the Introduction". In rival editions of classic novels I'm always looking for this advice, and find it wanting. It's satisfying to read the introduction on concluding the novel, to find Wren's exposition of the nature of both the writing and its context, and to more deeply engage in the circumstances of its production as a serialisation, written at high speed. My only criticism of this edition of the novel is that the speech becomes a little confused: with more than one speaker "talking" on a single line, it's really not clear at times which character the dialogue belongs to.

Of the story itself then, there seems little that needs to be related, as it forms a part of our popular consciousness. Edmond Dantes, betrayed into imprisonment for 14 years of his life, escapes to unlimited wealth with only one thing on his mind: vengeance. The first third of the book fairly races along, as Edmond is first betrayed, and then imprisoned. The middle third of the book definitely slows down, and at times may be said to plod a little, but by the time the work of Monte Cristo begins to deliver up his enemies one by one, the reader is again hooked.

Whilst readers may find fault with certain inconsistencies of plot, or occasional flatness of certain characters, Dumas can't be faulted in creating a novel that succeeds exactly where it's supposed to, in telling a riveting story of one man's path from disempowerment to biblical avenger.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sweet Revenge!, 31 July 2009
By 
Sean Gainford "Big G" (London) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
An agent of Providence, Dantes (Count of Monte Cristo, and also know as few other names) gets revenge on the bastards that ruined his life. However Dantes is not just some crazy man who goes around destroying his enemies with impunity. There is a bit more subtlety involved. The revenge is more like a slow, well thought out strategic chess game then a contemporary shoot and kill everybody game. And Dantes is a bit more of a thinker then the normal revenge seeking psycho. Is he an agent of providence? Has he gone too far?

I first read this book about 8 years ago. It actually is the book that convinced me to study literature, which is what I eventually did at university. Unfortunately most of the books in the academic literature cannon don't come close to this book. Yes, this book has some flaws: it is a bit too long and some scenes could have been cut; some characters could have been more rounded or more individualistic; dialogue could have been a bit more natural. This book was however published in the mid 19th century and in serial form, so I think some leniency should be allowed.

But whoever reads this book can't deny that this is one genius story; to me, one of the greatest stories ever written, combining all the human emotions with philosophical ideas of morality and the limits and problems of human justice. Definitely a book you must read before you die.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The of Cristo, 16 Feb 2009
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I found one problem with this book. It's an abridged version, and it shows. The first section, up until the appearance of the Count himself, seemed to be complete, but thereafter I kept feeling that there were whole chunks of the story missing. I feel like I've missed out whole chapters, and since I've been to read a plot synopsis, I find there are giant holes in what I've actually read. For instance, the details of Danglars downfall are almost completely missing.

I'll have to get another, complete, copy and read that now because it is a good book, and I'd like to read the full narrative.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars brilliant in parts, 13 April 2006
By 
Gavin T. Smith (Somerset) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
It would be a mistake to claim that this is a great masterpiece; it is not a book one would wish lasted longer - in fact it could lose 400 pages and be the better for it. The romantic subplot has all the Victorian vices of insipid passion, self-sacrifice, impossible goodness etc; not all of the principal characters are well drawn; and there are entire sections (the Rome episode especially) that require staying power from the reader. However, the first 150 pages are as good as fiction can get in terms of creating a totally involving story; the horror of Edmond's situation is strongly conveyed, while his relationship with the Abbe Faria is moving and inspirational. When the hero finally escapes it's wholly memorable and uplifting. Other highlights include much ingenious plotting, lots of ironic comment on social climbing, the Count's fantastic lifestyle and a final return to the prison cell that recaptures what's best about this book. In sum, it's well worth reading: an hour a night should see you finished in a month; and it must surely be better than what's on the telly.
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Masterpiece for All Times., 25 Oct 2004
By 
Dennis Phillips "The Book Friar" (Bulls Gap, Tennessee USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Every year amusement parks around the world spend millions of dollars trying to build the biggest and fastest roller coasters. These parks seek to give their visitors the greatest thrills possible on these rides without actually endangering the riders and thrill seekers flock to these parks by the thousands in order to take what they hope will be the ride of their lives. My advice is to skip the long trips and even longer lines and take a ride with Alexander Dumas and Edmond Dantes. No technology known to man can match the excitement and adventure you will thus find.
Make no mistake; this will be a long and sometimes bumpy ride. Dumas occasionally will drop his reader into a chapter that seems to have no relevance to any of the chapters before it. After a while though, it will all become crystal clear as this master storyteller weaves his magic. There will be twists and turns that the reader will not be able to foresee and in the end you will marvel at the scope of the story and the extent of both the vengeance and kindness of the story's hero.
As with many great works of literature, there have been many film adaptations of this book. Some were of course better than others were but none of these films come close to doing this book justice. If you have watched any or all of these films, be prepared to find that the book will often only resemble the films in that the characters have the same names. At least the characters that make it into the films will have the same names but many of the characters in the book never make it into the films. This book is simply too rich and too deep to be captured on film. To really experience Dumas' work you simply must read the book.
This is a story of love lost, of deception, jealousy and murder. Within this book the reader will find villains so vile that they seem almost inhuman but when their downfall comes it is so terrible that one almost feels for these wretched creatures. All through the book the reader sees the story building to a climax, but it builds slowly. So slowly in fact that the reader will be almost on the edge of his or her seat as they wait for the inevitable falling of the ax. When the final act does finally come, the reader will know the characters so well that they will almost be able to feel their agony. On the other hand, the reader will also see that the Count's victims would not have become victims but for their own greed and pride. The traps laid by the Count simply would not have worked had not his victims been ruled by same vices that led them to wrong Dantes in the first place. As with all great works of fiction, the moral lessons are there, but buried under the surface so that they don't interfere with a great story.
This is indeed a great story.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Even Better Than The Film Thing, 23 Mar 2003
I read "The Count of Monte Cristo" in approx. 10 days and, at the end, had sore red eyes because I did not blink while reading it. From the beginning to the very end I loved it.
It was originally written as a serialisation which is why it is lengthy and sustains interest from one chapter to the next and, therefore, to the very end.
Primarily, the story is about a man's revenge but it incorporates so many other things. It is about travel and adventure (which for a 19thC reader was intriguing, but is also for today's reader), disguise (and deception), morality (putting right an injustice and the consequences), romantic intrigue, religion (confession, forgiveness and Spada/Vatican riches), wealth and poverty, history and politics (Napoleon's escape from Elba, girondiste v jacobins), justice (courts and duelling/sword-fighting), social etiquette and graces (equipages, dress, being seen at the right soirees, etc.), disgrace (being made bankrupt), scandal (burying a live baby), and even some comedy (satire).
Overall, the prose moves along very easily, though there are occasions when some dialogue is just a bit too long. The translator of the book also explains that some of the dates can be inaccurate, which can make the reader occasionally lose the chronological thread, but it is minor in carrying the story along.
I recently visited Port Marly (France) to see Alexandre Dumas' home, which is named "Chateau de Monte Cristo" (Monte Cristo in reality being an Italian island in the Tyrrhenian Sea) and Chateau d'If, but found the locations of the novel much more interesting.
In the 800+page novel there are more twists and turns than the recent filmed version can begin to include.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A mesmerising tale of betrayal and revenge, 17 Sep 2004
By 
Ad van der Rest (Maidenhead, Berkshire, GB) - See all my reviews
'The Count of Monte Cristo' was originally published in serial form in 1844/1845. It is a sizeable book, but don't be put off.
Edond Dante has it all. He is soon to become Captain of his ship, and marry the beautiful Mercedes. With all his good fortune, Dante becomes a victim to the jealousy of his so-called friends. An accusation of treason against Dante seals his fate, sending him to rot in the Island prison, the Chateau d'If. Dante plots escape and bloody revenge.
As it was published in serial form, this novel moves at a brisk pace. Of course this mammoth novel starts extremely badly for Edmond Dante. His desperation and suffering in the Chateau d'If makes his methodical revenge all the more satisfying. Don't be put off by the length, Dante's fall and rise is mesmerising. Yes, the early/mid-section in Rome is not as interesting as the rest of the novel, but it all has its place in the story, so the best approach is to stick with it and punch through that section. The second half of the book will more than reward your persistence.
The writing style is straight-forward to read, and because the novel has a serialised style, there is usually an interesting plot development in each chapter. The downfall of Dante's accusers is all the more fascinating because their fate is cleverly brought about through the flaws in their own personalities.
This book is well worth the time. A readable classic. Clearly five stars.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Timeless Classic, 14 April 2014
By 
J. Chippindale (England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
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This is one of the great stories by Alexandre Dumas, written I believe between 1844/5. Much of the fiction written around this time is considered dated but this particular story has stood the test of time and is as fresh as the day it was written. It is a story that I have returned to many times over the years, often prompted by the release of a film or TV series, none of which come close to the drama and energy of the book. Anyone reading it for the first time cannot fail to be impressed by the storyline and the writing style of Dumas. Many of the "classics" are somewhat dry and stilted to the modern taste but this tale is anything but dry. It is vibrant and exciting from the first page to the last. It is an epic story by any standards, one thousand pages plus but holds the reader throughout, never boring or superflous in any way.

Why did I feel the need to buy another copy, having already said that I have read and reread the story in the past. Well the saying "Never judge a book by its cover" has just flown out of the window. Yes, I was seduced by the appearance and description of the book. The book is very tactile with its blue bonded leather binding, covered in graphics that relate to the story and these are a joy in themselves, not least the large sailing ship depicted in gold on the back cover. The satin ribbon bookmark is just another nice touch and finally the gilt edged pages give the book an opulent look, that amazingly is not reflected in the price. Plus, best of all I know that when I have finished handling and enjoying the appearance and feel of the outside of the book, there is an amazing piece of writing waiting for me on the inside.

My only criticism is that I cannot understand why the publisher has not given the same lavish treatment to the Three Musketeers by the same author. If and when they do I will have a space ready and waiting in the bookcase.

There are a number of classic books by these publishers (Barnes & Noble) virtually all with leather bindings and unique front covers. These are definitely worth a look by people who are searching for something special and out of the ordinary for that special place in the bookcase, or even as a gift for other discerning bibliophiles.
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