Alexandre Dumas is a literary genius, and this book is a confirmation of that. It was serialized in 1844 and 1845 and there is a reason it took so long to serialize–mainly because the book is humongous.
I’m pretty sure I read this book about three decades ago, but in finishing the book again, just before the death knell of 2016, I am also convinced that I must have read the expurgated and abridged version.
Dumas is a very capable writer (that’s an understatement) and he carries much of his story along with dialogue that evokes the gamut of emotions from sorrow, rage, to laugh out loud hilarity–such as when one Frenchmen, tongue in cheek, accuses a six-year-old boy of being the mass poisoner who has killed four relations in the Villefort household.
This story takes place in the post Napoleonic era, which was still fairly fresh history when Dumas wrote it, and Dumas makes this backdrop an integral part of the plot. In fact, this history was so recent that Alexandre Dumas’ father was a general who served in Napoleon’s armies–which was an astounding thing for the son of a slave. And while I’m thinking of it, there’s a nonfiction book called The Black Count which relates the story of Alex Dumas and draws some parallels between the life of Alex Dumas and the fiction of The Count of Monte Cristo.
The subtitle of the Black Count makes a big deal about revealing the truth behind the Count of Monte Cristo, but that is just a small speculative portion of the book, which stands on its own even without such fanciful meditations.