October 14, 2004

Count of Monte Cristo

Allright, I've read this book now. And it's great. I almost wish I had not seen the movie before, but then I would not have read the book. As it's almost always the case, the book is way better than the movie.

For those who came in late, this is a story of revenge. It's about a man, Edmond Dantès, who's got everything he wants, but has it all taken away. He's sent to prison, wrongly accused and does not even know his crime. He spends years there alone, being tortured and torturing himself. He meets his mentor there, the person who teaches him everything a man can learn. He somehow manages to escape, and uncovers a great treasure.

Then he goes for vengeance. Vengeance is almost like a character in the book itself. You can feel the gears turning; it's almost frightening when Dantès turns into the Count of Monte Cristo and starts manipulating others. He's not heartless, he feels justified in what he does. There are momentary doubts that enter his mind, he almost comes to regret what he has done.

It's magnificent the way Dumas has written this book. You get the feel for 19th Century France, it's culture and the men that lived at that time. Dumas is the master of romance [Must. Read. More.], there's not a single page where the story gets dull. This is another must-read, if only for the sense of adventure you get while reading it.

I must say again, the way the Count manipulates people, plots their downfall; setting up situations where he simply has to give a little prod, it's all good. And so is his resolve to help the ones he loves. His determinism is what sets him apart from others, that and his confidence. There are many quotes I like from the book, but this one which occurs somewhere around one-third of the book, sets the tone for the rest that follows:

"And now, farewell to kindness, humanity and gratitude... I have substituted myself for Providence in rewarding the good; may the God of vengeance now yield me His place to punish the wicked."

For those who like to read on the computer, here's the full text of the book, courtesy Project Gutenburg.

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