The Count of Monte Cristoby Alexandre Dumas, Clare West
Set against the turbulent years of the Napoleonic era, Alexandre Dumas's thrilling adventure story is one of the most widely read romantic novels of all time. In it the dashing young hero, Edmond Dantès, is betrayed by his enemies and thrown into a secret dungeon in the Chateau d'If -- doomed to spend his life in a dank prison cell. The story of his long, intolerable years in captivity, his miraculous escape, and his carefully wrought revenge creates a dramatic tale of mystery and intrigue and paints a vision of France -- a dazzling, dueling, exuberant France -- that has become immortal.
"Dumas was... a summit of art. Nobody ever could, or did, or will improve upon Dumas's romances and plays." -- George Bernard Shaw
Read an Excerpt
ON FEBRUARY 24, 1815, the watchtower at Marseilles signaled the arrival of the three-master Pharaon, coming from Smyrna, Trieste and Naples.
The quay was soon covered with the usual crowd of curious onlookers, for the arrival of a ship is always a great event in Marseilles, especially when, like the Pharaon, it has been built, rigged and laden in the city and belongs to a local shipowner.
Meanwhile the vessel was approaching the harbor under topsails, jib and foresail, but so slowly and with such an air of melancholy that the onlookers, instinctively sensing misfortune, began to wonder what accident could have happened on board. However, the experienced seamen among them saw that if there had been an accident, it could not have happened to the ship herself, for she had every appearance of being under perfect control. Standing beside the pilot, who was preparing to steer the Pharaon through the narrow entrance of the harbor, was a young man who, with vigilant eyes and rapid gestures, watched every movement of the ship and repeated each of the pilot's orders.
The vague anxiety hovering over the crowd affected one man so much that he could not wait until the ship entered the harbor: he leaped into a small boat and ordered the boatman to row him out to meet the Pharaon.
When he saw this man coming toward him, the young sailor left his post beside the pilot and walked over to the side of the ship, holding his hat in his hand. He was a tall, slender young man, no more than twenty years old, with dark eyes and hair as black as ebony. His whole manner gave evidence of that calmness and resolution peculiar to those who have been accustomed to facingdanger ever since their childhood.
"Ah, it's you, Dantès!" cried the man in the boat. "What's happened? Why does everything look so gloomy on board?"
"A great misfortune, Monsieur Morrel!" replied the young man. "We lost our brave Captain Leclère off Civitavecchia."
"What about the cargo?" asked the shipowner eagerly.
"It arrived safely, Monsieur Morrel, and I think you'll be satisfied on that score, but poor Captain Leclère--"
"What happened to him?" asked the shipowner, visibly relieved.
"He died of brain fever, in horrible agony. He's now at rest off the Isle of II Giglio, sewed up in his hammock with one cannon ball at his head and another at his feet." The young man smiled sadly and added, "How ironic-he waged war against the English for ten long years and then died in his bed like anyone else."
"Well, we're all mortal," said the shipowner, "and the old must make way for the young, otherwise there would be no promotion."
As they were passing the Round Tower, the young sailor called out, "Make ready to lower topsails, foresail and jib!" The order was executed as smartly as on board a man-of-war. "Lower away and brail all!" At this last order all the sails were lowered and the ship's speed became almost imperceptible.
"And now, if you'd like to come aboard, Monsieur Morrel," said Dantès, seeing the shipowner's impatience, "you can talk to your purser, Monsieur Danglars, who's just coming out of his cabin. He can give you all the information you want. As for myself, I must look after the anchoring and dress the ship in mourning."
The shipowner did not wait to be invited twice. He grasped the line which Dantès threw to him and, with an agility that would have done credit to a sailor, climbed up the ladder attached to the ship's side. Dantès returned to his duties, while Danglars came out to meet Monsieur Morrel. The purser was a man of twenty-five or twenty-six with a rather melancholy face, obsequious to his superiors and arrogant to his subordinates. He was as much disliked by the crew as Edmond Dantès was liked by them.
"Well, Monsieur Morrel," said Danglars, "I suppose you've heard about our misfortune."
"Yes, I have. Poor Captain Leclère! He was a brave and honorable man."
"And an excellent seaman, too, grown old between the sky and the water, as a man should be when he's entrusted with the interests of such an important firm as Morrel and Son."
"But," said the shipowner, watching Dantès preparing to drop anchor, "it seems to me a man doesn't have to be old to do his work well, Danglars. Our friend Edmond there doesn't look as though he needs advice from anyone."
"Yes," said Danglars, casting Dantès a glance full of hatred, "he's young and he has no doubts about anything. As soon as the captain was dead he took command without consulting anyone, and he made us lose a day and a half at the Isle of Elba instead of coming straight back to Marseilles."
"As for taking command," said the shipowner, "it was his duty as first mate, but he was wrong to waste a day and a half at the Isle of Elba, unless the ship needed some sort of repairs."
"The ship was as sound as I am and as I hope you are, Monsieur Morrel. Wasting that day and a half was nothing but a whim of his; he just wanted to go ashore for a while, that's all."
"Dantès," said Morrel, turning toward the young man, "come here, please."
"Excuse me, sir, I'll be with you in a moment," said Dantès. Then, turning to the crew, he called out, "Let go!" The anchor dropped immediately and the chain rattled noisily. Dantès walked over to Morrel.
"I wanted to ask you why you stopped at the Isle of Elba."
"It was to carry out an order from Captain Leclère. As he was dying he gave me a package to deliver to Marshal Bertrand there."
"Did you see him, Edmond?"
Morrel looked around and drew Dantès off to one side. "How is the emperor?" he asked eagerly.
"He's well, as far as I could tell. He came into the marshal's room while I was there."
"Did you talk to him?"
"No, he talked to me," said Dantès, smiling.
"What did he say?"
"He asked me about the ship, when it had left for Marseilles, what route it had taken and what cargo it was carrying. I think that if the ship had been empty and I had been its owner he would have tried to buy it from me, but I told him I was only the first mate and that it belonged to the firm of Morrel and Son. 'I know that firm,' he said. 'The Morrels have been shipowners for generations and there was a Morrel in my regiment when I was garrisoned at Valence.' "
"That's true!" exclaimed Morrel, delighted. "It was Policar Morrel, my uncle. He later became a captain." Then, giving Dantès a friendly tap on the shoulder, he said, "You were quite right to follow Captain Leclère's instructions and stop at the Isle of Elba, although you might get into trouble if it became known that you gave the marshal a package and spoke to the emperor."
"How could it get me into trouble?" asked Dantès. "I don't even know what was in the package, and the emperor only asked me the same questions he would have asked any other newcomer. But excuse me for a moment, sir; I see the health and customs officers coming on board."
Danglars stepped up as the young man walked away. "Well," he said, "he seems to have given you some good reasons for his stopover."
"He gave me excellent reasons, Monsieur Danglars."
"That's good; it's always painful to see a friend fail to do his duty."
"Dantès did his duty well," replied the shipowner. "It was Captain Leclère, who ordered the stopover."
"Speaking of Captain Leclère, didn't Dantès give you a letter from him?"
"No. Was there one?"
"I thought Captain Leclère gave him a letter along with the package."
"What package, Danglars?"
"Why, the one Dantès delivered to the Isle of Elba."
"How do you know he delivered a package there?"
Danglars flushed. "The captain's door was ajar when I was passing by," he said, "and I saw him give Dantès a package and a letter."
"He didn't say anything to me about it, but if he has the letter I'm sure he'll give it to me."
Danglars was silent for a moment, then he said, "Monsieur Morrel, please don't mention it to Dantès; I must have been mistaken."
Just then Dantès returned and Danglars walked away.
"Well, Dantès, have you finished now?"
"Then will you come to dinner with us?"
"Please excuse me, Monsieur Morrel, but I think I owe my first visit to my father. Just the same, I'm grateful for the honor of your invitation."
"You're right, Dantès. You're a good son. But we'll be expecting you after you've visited your father."
"Excuse me again, Monsieur Morrel, but after that first visit there's another one that's equally important to me."
"Oh, yes; I was forgetting that there's someone who must be waiting for you as impatiently as your father-the beautiful Mercédès. You're a lucky man, Edmond, and you have a very pretty mistress."
"She's not my mistress, sir," said the young sailor gravely. "She's my fiancée."
"That's sometimes the same thing," said Morrel, laughing.
"Not with us, sir," replied Dantès.
"Well, I won't keep you any longer; you've taken care of my affairs so well that I want to give you as much time as possible to take care of your own. Do you have anything else to tell me?"
"Didn't Captain Leclère give you a letter for me before he died?"
"He was unable to write, sir. But that reminds me that I must ask you for two weeks' leave."
"To get married?"
"First of all; and then to go to Paris."
"Very well, take as long as you like, Dantès. It will take at least six weeks to unload the cargo, and we won't be ready to put to sea again before another three months or so. But in three months you'll have to be here. The Pharaon," continued the shipowner, patting the young sailor on the shoulder, "can't leave without her captain."
"Without her captain!" cried Dantès, his eyes flashing with joy. "Do you really intend to make me captain of the Pharaon?"
"If I were alone, my dear Dantès, I'd shake your hand and say, 'It's done.' But I have a partner, and you know the Italian proverb, 'He who has a partner has a master.' The thing is at least half done, though, since you already have one vote out of two. Leave it to me to get you the other one; I'll do my best."
"Oh, Monsieur Morrel!" cried Dantès, grasping the ship-owner's hand with tears in his eyes. "I thank you in the name of my father and of Mercédès."
"That's all right, Edmond. Go see your father, go see Mercedes, then come back to see me."
"Don't you want me to take you ashore?"
"No, thanks; I'll stay on board and look over the accounts with Danglars. Were you satisfied with him during the trip?"
"That depends on how you mean the question, sir. If you're asking me if I was satisfied with him as a comrade, the answer is no; I think he's disliked me ever since the day we had a little quarrel and I was foolish enough to suggest that we stop for ten minutes at the Isle of Monte Cristo to settle it, a suggestion which I was wrong to make and which he was right to refuse. But if you're speaking of him as a purser, I think there's nothing to be said against him and that you'll be quite satisfied with the way he's done his work."
"If you were captain of the Pharaon, would you be glad to keep him?"
"Whether I'm captain or first mate, Monsieur Morrel," replied Dantès. "I'll always have great respect for those who have the confidence of my shipowners."
"Good, good, Dantès! I see you're a fine young man in every way. But don't let me hold you back any longer-I can see how anxious you are to leave."
"May I take your skiff?"
"Good-bye, Monsieur Morrel, and thank you from the bottom of my heart."
The young sailor leaped into the skiff and sat down in the stern, giving orders to be rowed to the Canebière. Smiling, the shipowner watched him until he saw him jump ashore, after which he was immediately swallowed up in the crowd. When he turned around, Morrel saw Danglars standing behind him, also following the young sailor's movements. But there was a great difference in the expression of the two men as they both watched Edmond Dantès.
From the Paperback edition.
Meet the Author
Alexandre Dumas was born in 1802 at Villers-Cotterets in France. He received very little education but when he entered the household of the future king, Louis-Philippe, he began to read voraciously and then to write. He is best remembered for his historical novels, The Count of Monte Cristo and The Three Musketeers. Dumas died in 1870. Robin Buss was a writer and translator who worked for the Independent on Sunday and as television critic for The Times Educational Supplement. He published critical studies of works by Vigny and Cocteau, and three books on European cinema, The French Through Their Films (1988), Italian Films (1989) and French Film Noir (1994). He also translated a number of volumes for Penguin Classics. He died in 2006.
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I have noticed that most of the reviews for this edition speak about Dumas' work in general, but I have to make a point that Robin Buss makes in the beginning of the book: almost every other version of The Count of Monte Cristo in English is either an abridgment or the product of Victorian editing. This book has to be praised for the mere fact that Buss went back to the original French and translated it wonderfully, not abridging or altering the essential storyline. As of now, this is the only edition of such caliber that I know of, and for now, it is all I recommend that people buy. Avoid all other editions and publishers, or at least make sure whether the one you want is an abridgment or not.
I had purchased a copy of this book because I love the story of the Count of Monte Cristo and wanted a version in hard back. It was only after I was reading through it when I noticed stuff different from my penguin soft back version did I flip to the front to discover the book was abridged. Who ever edited this book had to have been stupid because they did a horrible job of editing. I could understand cutting material which isn't critical to the story. Examples from the unabridged version included 'How to rescue a gardener from dormice who are eating his peaches' and 'the road for Belgium.' However to deliberately omit major portions which are critical to the whole of the story is wrong and causes the whole story to be misrepresented. Major portions which were omitted included the the final judgment of Danglars at the hands of Vampa, and also the story of Andrea Cavalcanti and how he ties to both Villefort and Danglars. Even the comic book version of the story I read as a kid managed to included all of these. This abridged version of this book isnt worth the paper it is written on. I am extremely disappointed at Barnes and Noble for putting their name on crap like this. Don't waste your money, go get yourself a penguin classics version instead and read the whole story.
This is an abridged version -- an incomplete story -- and a terrible abridged version. There are several key parts of the story missing, which significantly change the story. It is an offense to Dumas and readers.
On a Nook, the search did not describe this book as one of several volumes. It starts on chapter XLVII. The scan of the book is horrible, rendering the story illegible. For example, it starts with this sentence, reproduced exactly as it appears on a Nook; "~F the Count of Moiito-Oristo harl lived for a very long time ill Parisian society, lie would liavo fully appreciated the value of the stej* wluflh M. do ViUefort had taken." I'm not going to waste any time on this book. I'm not going to waste any more time on reviewing this junk.
I must say that this is one of the best books - if not the best book - I've ever read in my entire life. I do not say this lightly. From the very beginning, I fell in love with the character, Edmound Dantes, and cheered him on throughout his struggles. But my admiration turned to awe when I saw what he was capable of, and upon seeing the carefully plotted, fatal revenges he planned for his enemies had me stunned. Even so, it was the fact that he was a complex character, composed with both good and evil, that really fascinated me and makes me say, without a doubt, that Edmound Dantes is the best character I've ever seen, and the Count of Monte Cristo the most thrilling book I've ever read. I highly recommmend it, and will be reading it again in the near future.
Although this timeless classic may seem to be printed in its entirety, be warned. I recently purchesed this novel hoping to delve into a 19th century classic but found myself faced with an abridged novel. How can one fully appreciate an author's talent when part of his work has been removed? Furthermore, who is to say what should be taken out or not. The cover says nothing about being abridged, therefore decieving the general public. If you want the Sparknotes version of a classic, or don't have enough time to enjoy Dumas' amazing literature, then this is a book for you.
I loved this book. I am beginning to read 'The Classics', a daunting task, nontheless. But this book could be appreciated without a backround of classical literature. The plot was thrilling and unique, the writing style original and captivating, and nothing will be written like it again. It had everything a book should have: romance, revenge, action, adventure, heartbreak. I think that is what has made it one of the best books I have ever read.
I loved this book! I loved all 600+ pages. I read a review somewhere that said "It's harder to stop reading this book than it is to start." I agree with that. It was difficult for me to initially pick it up because it is so HUGE, but once I did it was was even harder to put down. The characters are well developed and it moves easily from one adventure to another. I would (and have) highly recommend this to anyone who wants to read a good adventure.
I got stuck on the first page on my nook. But after i closed the book, opened another, and then returned to this one, i was able to turn the pages with ease. I dont know if it will always work, but its just a suggestion since youve already spent your time and money on this. Happy reading!
To the kid in honors english, can honestly say this is one of the greatest novels ever written. I am a guy though and dumas tended to favor a more male point of view when he wrote. But i personally think this book is for all ages and genders, i have read it more than 20 times that should put a better perspective on how much i enjoy reading this novel.
The Count of Monte Cristo is a fantasic book full of a thrilling plot of revenge and reward. Great book for anyone to read, even if you don't read books. This book will definately keep your attention.
Dumas weaves a beautiful tale of revenge and compassion that makes The Count of Monte Cristo one of the finest works of fiction of the past two hundred years. Classics Illustrated certainly opened this story to me as a pre-adolescent but nothing beats reading the book. The characters develop slowly and the reader has no doubt about the honesty and integrity of the few 'good' people and knows the dark side of the 'baddies'. This book is all meat and potatoes and the dessert comes in the final 150 pages. Do yourself a favor and pick this classic up for a wonderful reading experience. Now, on to The Three Musketeers.
the story of Edmund Dantes is amazing.First betrayed then rises out of the ashes and gets revenge. Alexandre Dumas is a great author and very imaginative
Jesus christ,enough with you morons just writing nonsense.just about every review section i read ,has a bunch of idiots spouting nonsense. You would think barnes and noble would remove them , but nooooo!
This is one of those books that has me slapping myself for waiting 30 years to read it. It is simply one of the most astonishing and masterful books I've ever read. This 1200+ page epic revenge story is never boring. It hurtles the reader full speed ahead into it's plot and never lets up. By the time Dantes' revenge has run it's course, the reader still has several chapters to go, but Dumas hold his final revelation until the end (though the reader can't help but guess what it is). There were a few places where I was confused as to charcter and motivation, but upon charging ahead, I realized it was my own fault in not paying attention to what I was reading. For example: one of the men the Count is going after has since made his fortune and acquired a title (le Comte de Moncerf), but the reader encounters his son first--who has the same title. No big deal. Kinda embarrassing really. Dumas' works have been criticized by modern readers as bloated because he was paid by the line. My response is: so what? People then didn't have the ways we do to mindlessly waste their time; they craved such "bloat". But it doesn't detract from the story at all. According to the translator Robin Buss, Dumas contradicts himself with some details of in story, but it doesn't disrupt his story at all. Most English editions of this book are either abridged (around 600 pages) or of an anonymous translation that omits details of the book that are opposed to Victorian morals (such as hints of Eugenie's lesbianism). I researched the various translations and settled on the Buss translation. This is the one I'd recommend. This is certainly one of the great books in all of literature and far and away the best adventure novel I've encountered.
at first ok but then every third page brings up error message and gradually every page.
This is a masterfully written piece of literature that explores the fundamental nature of man and his propensity towards grace and savagery regardless of class; though the backbone of the storyline is Edmond Dantes' quest for vengeance, vengeance per se is not the ultimate theme. At a little over 3,000 pages, it takes awhile for the real action to pick up, but once it does you won't be able to put it down. The way Dumas brings multiple plot lines together is ingenious and would be extremely difficult to repliccate on the silver screen without losing something significant. Like a finely crafted wine it takes awhile for the various elements of this plot to ferment into a perfection that is unpredictable and surprisingly inspirational.
I am a tru lover of classics, i love to sit down with sherlock holmes,les mis, and other great masterpieces like such. As i read this book, i was completley captivated. The book revovles around edmond dantes, who must take his vengeance on those that have wronged him terribly.the way he does this will keep you reading. There are inspirational quotes in this book. If you watched the movie, please erase that story from your mind,because the movie was so loosely related to the book. The book is much different. Usually movies are a little more in line with the book. I strongly urge you to read this amazing book. It was the BEST book have read in my entire life.
I wouldn't recommend downloading this copy of The Count of Monte Cristo. There were very few illustrations - I remember seeing only 3 or 4 in the whole book (or maybe they just didn't show up as there were several pages that had large amounts of blank space in them). The book also froze my Nook up a lot (i.e. pages wouldn't turn, took a long time to open). None of my other books on my Nook ever freeze like this one did.
I had no idea when I purchased this book that it was abridged; however, that did not cause me to enjoy this novel any less! I was engrossed with the story from about the 5th page! This book has it all, jealousy, love and retribution. What an excellent introduction for me to the world of Dumas! I can see why The Count of Monte Cristo has been one of the most popular books in Europe. I wish I had picked up this wonderful classic earlier!
This book contains mysteries and hidden secrets inscribed in every page. It just touches up on every kind of situation on person could possibly be in. Such as love, revenge, betrayl, murder, and oh there is so much more entertiwned within one book. Hey, don't let the thickness of it fool you, it's what you read that makes it a classic for over a century. Future readers I recommend it highly,the plot line is a unique one, and it'll keep your eyeballs glued to the pages.
In the Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas, a French sailor runs into some hard times. It all started when his captain on his ship got brain fever and dies. The Captain's last request is that Edmond goes to the Isle of Elba to deliver a letter and take whatever is received and deliver that also. When Edmond returns to Marseilles and prepares to deliver his letter. He decides he will travel to Paris after he marries his beautiful fiancée Mercedes. Also along with the great joy of about to become a married man Edmond is told by the ship owner that he will become the new captain of the ship. With all of this good news Edmond makes some rivals unknowingly. These rivals conspire together to write an anonymous letter to the public prosecutor telling of how Edmond had a letter from Napoleon to the Bonapartist party of Paris.Due to this letter Edmond was arrested and sent to the public prosecutor. While there the deputy public prosecutor, Villefort, interrogates Edmond, discovers that Edmond was innocent and is about to release him when he finds out the letter from Napoleon was to his father. Villefort does not want to be one day blackmailed with this information so he sends Edmond to a prison at the Chateau d'If to die without ever knowing what put him in there. Edmond spends fourteen years in this prison during which he meets a priest who holds the secret to a hidden treasure. The priest teaches Edmond many things in exchange for his help on a tunnel which is to be their escape. But the priest does not escape with Edmond instead dies allowing Edmond a unique opportunity for escape. Edmond does escape and find the treasure the priest told him about and then uses the fortune he receives to extract revenge from the people who stole fourteen years of his life; Danglars the second mate, Fernand the jealous friend, and Villefort who accused him wrongly. The rest of the book explains how Edmond creates and executes his great revenge. The best part of this book was the plot. Dumas does a great job of weaving a tangled web that becomes unraveled by the Count of Monte Cristo's (Edmond) revenge. The complex way the Count using this entire web to fit his purpose makes for an intoxicating read. The worst part of this book was the changes that Edmond had to go through to achieve his revenge. Edmond went from enjoying all that life had given him to becoming a cruel, vindictive man who revels in the demise of his enemies. Edmond became the Count of Monte Cristo who knows no bounds and cannot be stopped by anyone other than God. The Count made his self into a person who smiled at the most terrible sights. All the Count had was his revenge and what that revenge had made him into. This book was a great read due to the involved plot. Edmond used all his resources in unique ways and provided interesting outlooks on life due to his altered personality. Also Dumas made it so all of Edmond's enemies had great schemes with each other so if you took one down the others followed quickly. Edmond's revenge would not have been as great if the other characters had not left themselves in positions that if uncovered would ruin them. These subtle turns in the book add suspense and extra umph to an already interesting book.
This book is amazing. The first time I read it I was shocked by the great plot and characterization. I bought the book later on and read it again and had the same effect. I mean you have to read this book...Alexandre Dumas is a fantastic author
oh my god. that's almost all i can say. its almost an understatement to say this was the most amazing book i've ever read. i am only disappointed that i read the abridged version. . . we read this in my english class and i am without words to decribe how much i truely love this book. there are about 52 characters in this book, so i'd recommend a character chart (which will come in handy, believe me. write the relations amoung the characters; husband of..., daughter of..., ect) in the begging the reader is introduced to a bunch of seemingless unassociated characters, but as the story progresses, you begin to see how small of a world they really live in. from illegitimate children to murder to adventure and outright scandal, this book is extremely thrilling and a definate page-turner. from start to finish its unparallelable. i would recommend this book to anyone and everyone.
I have roughly 200 to 300 books in my collection with a great array of authors. But this by far is one of the best books I've ever read. I originally purchased it in paperback, and have just ordered the HardCover book for my elite collection. (I dont think I will ever crack the spine on it)