By Chet Yarbrough
Narrated by John Lee
Alexandre Dumas is highly entertaining. He is like a French Charles Dickens that writes “Dostoyevsky light” stories.
The narrator, John Lee makes “The Count of Monte Cristo” an excellent Audio Book. Lee’s exotic voice is mesmerizing.
Like Charles Dickens, Dumas creates interesting characters and like Dostoevsky, he creates emotionally driven protagonists. Dumas writes a story of revenge with twists of fate that have Dickens’ coincidences and “Dostoevsky like” motivations.
The hero is Dante, the wrongfully accused, convicted, and secretly incarcerated prisoner. The heroine is Mercedes, the love of Dante’s life that mourns his disappearance on their wedding day.
Dante is unjustly imprisoned for being a Bonopartist based on collusion by Danglars, Villifort, and Fernand. They all have different motives for jailing Dante. The jealous and greedy merchant, Danglars wants to rid himself of Dante because he is a commercial rival. The ambitious and duplicitous politician Villifort wants to hide his family’s involvement with the Bonapartists. Fernand wants to remove Dante from his wedding to give himself an opportunity to marry Mercedes.
Luck and fate mix into Dante’s imprisonment; Dante escapes and becomes fabulously rich. Dante travels the world and searches for information about the people that were in his life before his imprisonment. A cloak of mystery surrounds Dante as he appears in the lives of his friends and enemies. The cloak is removed at perfect moments in each episode. He endeavors to understand his friends and enemies strengths and weaknesses. Dante rewards his friends and punishes his enemies. Revenge and exposure of his enemies’ misdeeds are cleverly woven into the story. Each of the colluding villains is defeated by his own human weakness.
Danglars’ greed becomes his destruction. Dante creates the appearance of a financial opportunity for Danglars. Danglars chooses to invest and ends in bankruptcy. Villifort’s lies become known and he witnesses the suicide of his wife and the murder of his spoiled son; he goes mad. Dante reveals Fernand’s false accusation and Fernand’s history of a deadly betrayal of a Turkish Pasha. A final rejection of Fernand by Mercedes and his son drives him to suicide.
The story is a tangled web of relationships, guilts, and crimes that are satisfyingly resolved by the end of the book. Overcoming life’s adversity and justice’s triumph are the appeal of Dumas’ book.