Dashing young Edmond Dantès has everything: a fine reputation, an appointment as captain of a ship, and the heart of a beautiful woman. But his perfect life is shattered when three jealous friends conspire to destroy him. Falsely accused of a political crime, Dantès is locked away for life in the infamous Chateau d'If prison. But it is there that Dantès learns of a vast hidden treasure. After 14 years of hopeless imprisonment, Dantès makes his daring escape and follows his secret map to untold fortune. Disguised now as the mysterious and powerful Count of Monte Cristo, Dantès seeks out his enemies - and nothing will stand in the way of his just revenge.
Filled with thrilling episodes of betrayal, romance, and revenge, The Count of Monte Cristo is one of the greatest adventure stories ever written.
(P)2008 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
St. Louis, Missouri
...and the guy says, "With a lawn as big as yours, you really need a riding mower." I smiled, knowing I had the perfect counterargument to his sales pitch. "That's ok, I have an iPod and I just started The Count of Monte Cristo."
As the words left my mouth I realized I just forfeited any chance I had that this guy would treat me as a man and a brother. In the horsepower-and-self-propulsion world of your average lawnmower shop, literary discussions are not the ticket to respect. I imaged the thought that was forming under his feed cap: "What a dweeb."
Instead, his jaw dropped, his eyes popped and he said "That's a great book! I read the unabridged version, and there's a lot of detail, but it's just fantastic!"
A few weeks later I was catching the train to work. A guard I've become friendly with was supervising the restocking of the vending machines. My train wasn't for a few minutes so I made a detour. After a few casual remarks about the weather the guard noticed the iPod clipped to my jacket and asked what I was listening to. I said The Count of Monte Cristo, with that same shrinking feeling I had at the lawnmower emporium. But the vending guy stood bolt upright, his eyes wide and his hair a-bristle: "That's a great book!"
I was now convinced I was the only person in the universe who hadn't read The Count of Monte Cristo. And thanks to John Lee and Audible, that flaw in an otherwise blameless upbringing has now been repaired.
Yes, it includes everything I don't like about 19th Century novels (Jane Austen excluded): it is sloppily, even glutinously sentimental. It is overwrought. It is insanely improbable. It is Gothic. It is Romantic in that overly-ripe, Victorian/Dickensian way that gets under my skin.
And it is also one of the greatest books I have ever read. Or listened to.
For all its improbabilities it is true to life. For all it's sentimentality it almost moved me to tears. For all its Gothic cloak-and-dagger antics it is a profoundly, even beautifully Catholic work of literature. It is a big, baggy story full of cul-de-sacs and blind corners, memorable characters and quotable sentences. Yes, the good people are a little too saintly and the bad ones a shade too bad. But what holds it all together is the Count himself. What he suffers, what he does and, finally, what he learns about revenge, forgiveness and redemption are well worth the 56 hour journey. And the lawn looks really good, too.
John Lee's clean, clear delivery seldom falters. In a six-part audiobook I needed to back up and re-listen only a handful of times to catch something I'd missed. Sometimes the male characters get a little mixed, but that's to be expected in conversations where 4 or 5 are speaking at once. And an invaluable aid to keeping the story straight is supplied by Dumas himself. Since the novel was originally serialized, he's always reminding us of when we last saw a character he's reintroducing to the story--knowing that the newspaper with that vital information has long since been wrapped around a fish in a Parisian gutter.
I got this one on sale, but even at full price it is a bargain.
I've now listened to three marathon audiobooks narrated by John Lee: this one and Ken Follet's two medieval historical novels. Easily over 100 hours listening to one narrator, but I keep wanting more. In this instance, Monte Cristo is one of my favorite novels, and this is unquestionably the best way to experience it.
48 hours of a Classic French literature, translated into impeccable English prose, convincingly delivered by narrator John Lee, all for 1 Audible credit? Clearly, one of the best values in audiobooks to be found anywhere.
Choosing the unabridged version was a good choice. I could have missed out a lot if I did otherwise. It's a fairy tale, and yet, it is so real, full of life saga and wisdom. Already I knew the story through movie, and yet, the book still brought incomparable joy. After listening to the book, I decided to find myself a hard copy. The text is so poetic. I would read it again. Alexandre Dumas is unique in the way he can make us pondering about life, without having one word of dry preaching. Life comes out of his book full of love and sufferings. As it's been said, once one started, one cannot stop reading until reaching the end.
Last but not least, the narrator is truly a great one. He too, deserves a lot of credit.
I've always wanted to read this book. Since I was 17 years of age. Finding a copy was the hardest part. Most copies were in abridged form or else French, which I only recently learnt to speak. So this recording was a godsend. It's well read, extremely interesting and inspiring. Well worth a listen and the pace and content, although belonging to another era, bring a wonderful sense of authenticity to the story.
This is a wonderful book read by one of my favorite narrators. This story is so full of love, hatred, revenge, nobility, and friendship. It keeps you enthralled through its long hours and meandering twists and turns. Do not be put off by the time investment required to get through the many hours of listening. What a great way to spend 40+ hours, and what a bargain for that credit you are looking to spend!
This is one of the longest audiobooks I've tackled, and it was worth every minute. John Lee keeps things roaring along at a fast pace throughout; and Alexandre Dumas packs the story with more incident than any one story has a right to have. (The various film versions have only scratched the surface.) It's more than an adventure story. It's a gripping morality tale as well, and it doesn't end quite the way you'd expect.
One of the more gripping parts of the story is actually one of the most static, in terms of external action: the account of the paralyzed revolutionary Noitier and his efforts to communicate with his granddaughter by blinking his eyes. John Lee gives "voice" to this effort, and to the character, with great determination and compassion. A terrific listen.
I have read the Count at least 3 times, not including the audio version I just completed, and this rendition is wonderful. The narrator does a very commendable job, I will listen to this again and again.
Excellent reviews and an Audible sale prompted me to buy The Count of Monte Cristo. I’d read one chapter in a French II class decades ago. I mistakenly thought the novel was about a guy languishing in prison. I knew I wasn’t going to like it. But I mostly listen to classics and Audible reviewers had raved. So, after months of sitting in my Audible library, I finally downloaded the first part. Wow.
At 47 hours with foreign names and places, it’s a commitment, but when it ended I wished for more. I’ve “read” dozens of Audible books and this one of my top five favorites. John Lee’s narration: impeccable.
I listened while I cleaned, while I cooked, while I drove, while I was supposed to be sleeping…
This complex story with its fascinating cast of characters knocked me out.
As my second sortie into the classics after Les Miserables, this did not disappoint. The characters were beautifully drawn and I loved Dantes from the start - what an astonishing character. The narrator used his voice to full effect and brought all the characters to life so well. Its another long listen, but the time just passed so quickly and I couldn't wait for the working day to end so that I could get in the car and immerse myself in this story again. An awesome listen and I was left wanting more. I felt like I was waving goodbye to an old friend at the end.
This is a novel that I wouldn't read,I would and did find it tedious, but....... In audio form with a great narrator, I must say,it's truly great!.The spoken word evokes much more to me than a printed text.My eyes now see pictures generated by the description of a master storyteller without being distracted by reading.A book is only a record of words to speak, but the voice was the way all stories were told,passed on by word of mouth.So listen to this novel and hear for yourself all the facets of the spoken word,in this marvellous adventure
46 hours of riveting story with many interwoven stories all brought together at an even pace throughout. I almost did not want it to end I was so engrossed.
It was brilliant, enough said. Can't believe it was written so long ago. Unabridged version says so much more.
"Superbly read tale of revenge"
Involving, entertaining, disturbing
The Abbé Faria, for his cunning construction of tools, his mastery of the art of being a prisoner, his learning, and the inability to persuade his jailers that he was sane
Rich and luxurious pronunciation of the French names which wouldn't have achieved the same timbre in my inner reading.
A thoroughly enjoyable way of spending many hours. This is a super book, and the reader's voice is well suited to the writing. I found myself yearning for Monte Cristo's plans to succeed, and then perhaps to fail as the gradual understanding of quite how damaged his early experiences had left him.
Having read this book years ago I was keen to listen to it...I have a new found appreciation of the narrative. It is lengthy and at times one needs to persevere with the prose as it seems to deviate in what may possibly seem like non-focused direction, but it is exquisite in it's depth, colour and richness.
The narration was brilliant and brought the story to life. The intonation is exacting and held my attention throughout - even in the meandering prose..
The themes of love, betrayal, revenge and repentance with forgiveness are gritty and exceptional highlighting the human condition.
For some reason I had never got around to reading this classic and so when I found or available through Audiobooks I didn't hesitate to get it.
I am extremely pleased I did as I found it a wonderful, gripping and engrossing book. There are so any lives and stories interwoven together that there is never a dull moment!
"Slow start, gripping finish - highly enjoyable"
Dumas manages to cover everything from base treachery, Bonapartists versus Royalists, deepest dungeons, incredible escapes, treasure, romance, poison and the immaculately plotted revenge of the innocent working-class victim who becomes the aristocratic Count of Monte Christo (allowing the author to take us into every echelon of early 19th-century French society). This was my first ever Dumas, and I confess I found it a bit slow to get going as the author has to set the scene for the second half of the book, but the pace then really picks up so I highly recommend sticking with it. Lots of French names to remember but John Lee does a great job of the characterisations. A rollicking listen and hugely entertaining.
"A classic tale well told"
This is a wonderful reading of the classic story. I enjoyed it immensely. I'm sad it's ended! More please, Audible
"A fascinating but strange literary construction"
It is competently read but extremely mannered. I thought at first he was doing it to match the author's pompous language, then I heard him doing something else and his style was the same. After so many hours of listening to it, I found his voice unpleasantly grating.
This is a story of personal revenge plotted and enacted on a monumental scale. It is so well constructed it is like a massive edifice in which stones we see on page 200 hold up towers we visit 900 pages later. It is populated with honourable villains, corrupt aristocrats, suffering innocents, virtuous poor and virtuous rich (not so many of those) and everywhere we see fortunes and reputations made and destroyed.
I found it gruesomely compelling as the story unfolded relentlessly, adorned all the way with witty and wise commentaries on society, providence and the human condition. It is the ultimate expression of the proverb Revenge is a dish best served cold. (I thought Dumas might have been the source of the idea but wikipedia tells me it originated in France a century earlier.)
I make a few observations which are not criticisms but are worth being aware of before you embark on a novel as long as 3-4 ordinary ones.
The story is (presumably by intention) completely unrealistic. There is one particular challenge to the laws of medicine which is so extreme that I wonder if it didn't seem absurd even in Dumas's day.
The narration is extremely stylised. The best way I can explain is to say that it reminded me of Italian opera. Even if you have never seen an opera you will have an idea how far it departs from the dramatic conventions of theatre, expressing instead stylised or archetypal events and feelings. In consequence (and I am not talking about the language) Dumas's novel feels much older than it is. I think it is interesting that it was written within a couple of years of Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, and David Copperfield, which feel much more modern.
While I don't have a problem with the slow pace, nor the dated style of the language, I did feel frustrated at times with the amount of padding in the description of trivial events and especially in the dialogue. I know that scholars consider his style to be masterful but I don't think they will deny that it feels pedantic compared with the flowing writing of many classic mid 19th century novels.
I enjoyed it and recommend it but, to be honest, 1300 pages was enough for me and I probably won't read his other novels.
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