Dumas's renowned 19th-century romantic novel recounts the trials of Edmond Dantes, a young sailor who is betrayed and imprisoned in a French island fortress after the fall of Napoleon, and his extraordinary escape 14 years later. After setting out to find a hidden treasure on the island of Monte Cristo, Dantes transforms himself into a wealthy and powerful count. This reinvention allows him to avenge those who wronged him and to find the beloved woman he left behind. Brought to the screen numerous times, this particular audio version seems almost like the soundtrack for a movie. Orchestrated music similar to the dramatic scores of Hollywood adventure movies and sound effects such as birds singing, bullet shots, and footsteps provide a realistic, inviting tone, which is particularly engaging for younger listeners. However, these effects sometimes overwhelm and divest attention from the primary dialog. Narrator Winston Vallenilla tends to overdramatize, making the story sound sometimes like a telenovela. Overall, however, the various characters' voices are clear, well paced, and in neutral Spanish. Great for read-aloud sessions, this audio book is recommended for public and middle-school libraries. María Ospina Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.