March 1, 2011

The Count Of Monte Cristo

"Revenge Is A Dish Best Served Cold" 
                         --Pierre Ambroise Francois Choderios de LaClos (1741-1803)

This is one of the more popular quotes I have heard about revenge & vengeance, but so far hadnt really seen an awesome illustration, until of course after reading this book.  Having already seen the movie I was less interested to read the book even though experience has already taught that movies are no match for the books. Finally decided to read it and there was no looking back or repenting.

Story begins with Edmond Dantes, a straight forward youth, who is loved by almost everyone including the love of his life : Mercedes. But even the most kind hearted people would have made enemies in some direct and indirect means and there comes into picture 3 characters Danglars, Fernand, Caderousse who primarily plot for his downfall. On the day of his wedding he is arrested on false charges of being a traitor and sent to a high security prison, a place reserved for the high ranking political prisoners and who literally have no hopes to return back to the civilized world. Dantes is left to rot in those dungeons in middle of nowhere. Initial days of hope is followed by days of despair where he even thinks of taking off his life and finally days of vengeance. The state of mind of the prisoner in those circumstances are illustrated in a very authentic and eerie manner. 

In those dark period of his life he comes across a certain Abbie Faria, a mentor , a priest , a fellow prisoner to Dantes, who comes to him quite accidentely by digging a escape tunnel in a wrong direction and leading to his cell.  Abbie Faria takes Dantes under his wings and they join forces to escape the prison together.Also the priest tells Dantes of an enormous treasure hidden in the island of Monte Cristo to be claimed by whoever escapes from that place.  But unfortunately due to his old age the priest passes away, leaving Dantes all alone to escape. The manner in which he escapes the prison is really spectacular, freedom after 14 long years. The world which he expected to be is not the same, a lot has changed and people have moved on,  with his enemies becoming rich and powerful. 

From here onwards he starts planning to have his vengeance not just by killing his enemies but making them suffer in the worst possible way. With the power of money and influence he secretly infiltrates into the life of his enemies as a different person, as The Count Of Monte Cristo. As goes the saying that the closest one's can inflict maximum pain than any enemy can. He wants to have his satisfaction and we get to see the man transformed from a straight foward and honest youth to a cunning, cold and calculating person.

Overall a great book and since it is termed as a classic I was satisfied with my expectations. But one thing which really got my nerve was the term "honour" (where they are even ready to die in order to avenge a silly insult :D), followed extensively by all the characters. This is something which people of this age dont identify with and hence it gets a bit irritating :P. But apart from that it can be termed as the ultimate epic of love and vengeance. A must read for fiction buffs.

P.S. The 2002 Movie with the same name is not even comparable with the book. They have even altered the story to such an extent that  it almost feels like watching any other revenge movie.

P.S. 2 : My 50th Post... Half Century :D :D :D 


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