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The Count of Monte Cristo

By: Alexandre Dumas

Written by French author Alexandre Dumas, The Count of Monte Cristo follows the life of Edmond Dantes as he embarks on a journey of revenge after being wrongly imprisoned and set up by none other than his so-called friends. Set during the years after the fall of Napoleon’s empire, the story unwinds in several locations including Paris, Marseilles, Rome, Monte Cristo and Constantinople. A handsome young sailor and soon to be ship captain Edmond Dantes seems to have it all in life, as he returns to Marseilles to wed the love of his life and fiancée, the beautiful Mercedes. However, Edmond’s supposed friends have a hard time staying indifferent to his growing success, and their true jealous nature is revealed. Each has their own reason to envy Edmond. Danglers, who is a colleague of Edmonds, envies his career success, Fernand Mondego is in love with Edmonds fiancée, while his neighbor Caderousse is envious of his luck in life in general. Just as Edmond is about to pick the fruits that life has bore him, he is framed by the dangerously jealous trio, accused of being a traitor and unjustly sentenced to life in prison. As Edmond makes certain acquaintances in prison, he is determined to escape from his confinement and take the vengeance that is rightfully his. When Edmond does in turn return to the world of the free, he acquires a new identity and is motivated by his hunger for revenge. It is not said in vain that revenge is a dish best served cold.

After six years of solitary imprisonment in the Château d'If, Dantès is on the verge of suicide when he befriends the Abbé Faria ("The Mad Priest"), an Italian fellow prisoner who had dug an escape tunnel that ended up in Dantès' cell. Over the next eight years, Faria gives Dantès an extensive education in languages, culture, mathematics, chemistry, medicine, and science. Knowing himself to be close to death, Faria tells Dantès the location of a treasure on the small island of Monte Cristo, which is his own inheritance from his work for the last of the Spado family. He bequeaths it to Dantès. When Faria dies, Dantès takes his place in the burial sack, holding the knife that Faria had made. When the guards throw the sack into the sea, Dantès breaks through using the knife and swims to a nearby island. He is rescued by a smuggling ship that passes Monte Cristo. Fearing the members of the ship will find him and his treasure, he uses the excuse of hunting goats while he goes to hunt the treasure. To stay on the island (to find his treasure, not yet found), Dantès pretends he has broken ribs. Six days later, the smuggling ship comes back for him and he boards it carrying with him a few carefully hidden diamonds.

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Dumas began his career by writing plays, which were successfully produced from the first. He also wrote numerous magazine articles and travel books; his published works totalled 100,000 pages. In the...

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