The Count of Monte Cristo (Penguin Classics)

The Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas,  Robin Buss The Count of Monte Cristo has remained on my ‘to read’ shelf for a number of years, it is a considerable volume of 1250+ pages and the said shelf groaned a sigh of relief when I finally lifted the book from its responsibility. I was not looking forward to it; I had it in my mind that it would be hard going. Fortunately it isn’t and the 100 odd chapters fly by.

It is true, the story could afford to lose three or four hundred pages of unnecessary side stories and histories and although I was often impatient to get past these and back to the action they do fill out the characters.

In addition, apart from the main protagonist, a number of characters that I found particularly interesting which I would have like there to have more of the unnecessary histories – Mlle Eugénie Danglars for example is a character well ahead of her time. Major Cavalcanti - was he just a random person hired to help or does he fit into histories somewhere else- every other member of the Counts entourage seems to be involved more deeply than first thought, so why is Cavalcanti not?

Overall, there is not anything surprising in the outcomes of this story of injustice and revenge, though the intricacy of the plots is highly admirable and the fact that the Count does not resort to physical violence to enact his revenge, relying instead on manipulation of others makes the story more enjoyable.