Monday, February 18, 2013

The Count of Monte Cristo

At the end of 1,200 pages Alexander Dumas manages to tie up every loose end in this complicated revenge story.  Are you paying attention George R. R. Martin?  Yeah, and he wrote it in 1844.  ALL THE LOOSE ENDS.  Here is the plot in one sentence: Edmond, a sailor, gets wrongfully imprisoned, escapes, becomes filthy rich and enacts revenge on all those who put him in prison. Stick that in your SparkNotes.

After his daring prison escape, Edmond learns about 20 languages and somehow acquires every fact in the world except how to get a decent tan.  When you read the book it appears that his ten years after the escape are all done in furtherance of his revenge plot.  But when you think of it, he would have bought secret lady-slaves, hire a giant mute servant who had his tongue cut out, become a master of disguise and learn to be an expert fencer and marksman anyway.  We all would.  He is filthy rich, doesn't sleep much, is always busy, knows everything and was in prison.  In other words, the Martha Stewart of 19th century Europe.  

The book is old and still awesome.  I think writers have been inadvertently and purposefully ripping off the characters and themes of this book for 150 years.  For example, the grandfather Nortier cannot move or communicate except by a series of blinks.  If that is not Breaking Bad's Hector "Tio" Salmanaca and his damn bell I'll eat my hat.

Drink with Henry IV Cognac.  It costs $2,000,000 a bottle.  The Count would drink nothing less.      

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