On the eve of his marriage to the beautiful Mercedes, having that very day been made captain of his ship, the young sailor Edmond Dantès is arrested on a charge of treason, trumped up by jealous rivals. Incarcerated for many lonely years in the isolated and terrifying Chateau d'If near Marseille, he meticulously plans his brilliant escape and extraordinary revenge.
Of all the "masked avengers" and "caped crusaders" in literature, The Count of Monte Cristo is at once the most daring and the most vulnerable. Alexandre Dumas (père), master storyteller, takes us on a journey of adventure, romance, intrigue, and ultimately, redemption.
Public Domain (P)2010 Naxos Audiobooks
The audio version has definite advantages, especially for those reading the unabridged version. Though the story is a timeless and engaging classic, 12000 pages can be daunting. This lengthy novel benefits from the interjection of the narrator's lively and imaginative voicework; there are 100 characters, but you will never have to wonder which of them is talking at any given moment. The narration can be painfully slow at times, but it is overall a great reading.
Dumas' colorful description of the night on which Franz d'Epinay first meets the Count and spends the night in his grotto will never leave me. When the echoes of that beautiful passage ring in my ears as I drift to sleep I know that I will have pleasant dreams.
It would be impossible to listen to this in one sitting, but you will want to try.
The narrator has a great voice and good pronunciation of french. It was a pleasure to hear the tale told, my french is not at all good so when I read the book years ago I would stumble over all those french names in my head.
I found I kept finding all kinds of opportunities to listen when normally I only listen to books in my car. Even though I knew the story it kept me enthralled and I just wanted to keep listening and hear it unfold.
Well worth listening too!!!
Yes. I already have.
No, because it was incredibly long, but I listened to it over the course of a couple of months while I was in the gym. To be honest, I haven't even finished it yet but liked it enough to write this recommendation and review.
The story is timeless, this translation was good, and the interpretation/narration was superb.
I am a 50 year old accountant. My interests are mostly on self help books. I also enjoy good historical books (either factual or historical fiction). Lastly, I enjoy novels about legal proceedings.
Yes, I would recommend this book. It is very entertaining and the narrator does a fabulous job at performing the lines of the different characters in the book.
The twist of the revenge
Monte Cristo of course!
When Mercedes reveals that she knew all along that the Count was Edmond
I thought Bill Homewood did a phenomenal job!! His accent in French, Italian and British English are incredible, and how he manages to change his voice for each character is skillful and also helpful to follow the conversation along. He makes the book very entertaining.
Yes. It's a really long piece of work and to appreciate it in full, I would have to go back to the beginning to better understand what was going on. There were so many French names and events going on, twists and turns that weren't explained until later, I was forced to resort to cheat notes on the web.
The style. At first, Dumas told the story by focusing on the main character, Dantes. When Dantes escaped from the prison, he assumed alter egos and from that point was referred to as a secondary character - acquaintance of the new-found subjects (changing from chapter to chapter).
I haven't yet listened to Bill Homewood's other performances, but if this is anything to go by, I can hardly wait. I couldn't have handled the book with all these French names. I certainly couldn't have even faked any accents, but Bill's performance is truly masterful.
If the book takes 50 hours to read, the film must be a mini-series, lasting about 20 episodes.
It's a masterpiece. I saw they made a film about it years ago and never felt the urge to look into it. A friend of mine was listening to the audio book and told me it was one of the most exciting books she'd ever been involved in - she loved it. This peaked my interest, and sure enough, once I started to get the swing of the cast, I could hardly bring myself to press pause on the player. I even had to listen to it at work, on my iPhone. I will be getting the Three Musketeers next.
I have somewhat mixed feelings about this one, although in general I rate it highly.
Let me get the bad out of the way:
First, when I started listening, I was immediately dismayed to hear an echo in the recording that I had not noticed when listening to the sample. But with decent headphones in my ears, it sounded like the narrator was in a cavern, or perhaps a high-ceiling house. Also, you can hear the faint chirping of a bird in the background. I marveled at the fact that the engineer (or the company behind him/her) could allow such unfavorable recording conditions. Can Naxos not afford studio time? Can they not think about putting the mic a bit further away from the bird? Or, bear with me...what if we put the birdcage in this house over here, and record the 52-hour audiobook over here in this recording studio?
My first instinct was to try to return it and get another version, but I kept listening, and to be honest, after a while it didn't bother me at all (probably because of the reader's jaw-dropping performance).
Second, it took me a very, very long time to finish this audiobook. Although the story is much revered as a classic, and, in my opinion, rightly so in many respects, I found certain stretches to be interminable and boring, laying down an unbelievably intricate web of intrigue that sometimes seems to have nothing to do with what went before, and only has its payoff much later. This is why I gave the story 4 stars instead of 5. However, once the various threads started to come together I was drawn back in and riveted to the end. I have heard some people say that they prefer an abridged version of The Count of Monte Cristo, and I suspect I agree. Alexandre Dumas is one long-winded dude.
Granted, the book was originally written in serial form, printed chapter by chapter over time and devoured by an eagerly awaiting audience, just as we might do with the latest episode of our favorite TV series. And that helps explain its length and intricacy, I suppose. But it also makes me wonder if some of it was written in order to fulfill that demand, and not necessarily because it was essential to the story.
I will also say that despite these two shortcomings, the overall experience is very gratifying, and I'm glad I pushed through to the end.
Now the good:
The narrator, Bill Homewood, is quite simply phenomenal. His ability to create nuance and breathe life into the book's huge assortment of characters is just outstanding. I was stupefied throughout by the subtleties in and mastery of each character's voice. In short, I can't imagine a better reading. He deserved better recording conditions.
The story, apart from the monumental digressions, the seemingly unmerited attention to certain characters or details, and the florid prose and dialogue, is a spectacular adventure that touches on all sorts of universal themes. Love, patience, murder, betrayal, and most of all revenge, to name a few. The characters all seemed very much alive to me (and I grudgingly admit that the extreme detail probably helps in that respect), and it's easy to submerge yourself in the story (though you might have a nap during the more tedious parts).
Having read over this review, I now realize that some of Mr. Dumas' wordiness might have rubbed off on me, so I'll leave it at this: Overall, I would recommend this audiobook to anyone considering it. My only advice would be to have faith that, although the story lags, it will come back around, and things that seemed almost entirely unrelated will make sense in the end. Just sit back and enjoy a master performer reading a classic. Oh, and don't mind the chirping bird. After a while you get used to it.
Revenge is a dish best served cold, they say, and a story this long gives plenty of time to savor and enjoy the revenge. Edmond Dantes is harmed by some of the people that should be closest and nicest to him: his neighbor, his co-worker, his bride-to-be's cousin, and an "impartial" government employee. Dantes loses everything, and when his life turns around, uses his resources to return the favor.
The basics of the story are well known, but familiarity doesn't make the story any less interesting, holding attention for many, many hours. The '02 movie does a fairly good job of holding true to the parts of the story it takes, but there's given a book of this length, the movie has to lose out on a lot of the story, which the book fully explores and shares with the reader.
The performance in this story is done well, doing a good job of making the different voices in the story clear. It was an enjoyable listen, with the narrator's voice bringing the story to life.
It is certainly a long time investment, to fully enjoy this classic story. But it has been a well-enjoyed classic for more than 150 years; another 50+ hours certainly can't hurt its enjoyment any.
I drive an average of 350 miles a week. Without an audio book playing I would go bonkers.
I'd never heard of Bill Homewood before, but he is without a doubt one of the best narrators that I've ever heard. If this guy hasn't won an award, he should have or will soon.The book was everything I thought it would be.. and more! A tad difficult to keep everyone's names straight since it's written in Victorian English, everyone has about 3 different names/titles. Ugh. Good GOD is this book long. But well worth the listen.
The Count of Monte Cristo, I mean, Lord Underwood, I mean Abbe Bertuccio.. All of the above. This dude has some major unchecked agression. I mean really, so you spent 14 years in prison. So what? You got a first-rate education out of it! Now you're free AND a billionare! Instead of just paying someone to abduct your wrongdoer's and torture them, you spend most of your money toying with them and proclaim yourself God's Hand of Vengence and Providence. Awesome.
An excellent read and study of a wronged man's fortune and revenge, and how it extends to the innocent others surrounding his targets. Many twists and turns to hold suspense.
The acknowledgement of Edmund's conscience and his willingness to restore dignity to the lives of the innocents.
I thoroughly enjoyed the performance of the orator. and his giving life to the various characters.
The book was captivating and riveting.
Mon dieu! This was 53 hours as an audiobook, guys! I listened to the unabridged version of The Count of Monte Cristo in my car, and my commute isn't that long, so it took about two months.
Don't make fun of Dickens' wordiness until you've read Dumas. He is wordy as heck and makes up a hundred little side-stories and indulges the reader who wants to know the final fate of every single minor character. But if you want to dive into a big thick juicy scheming revenge novel with a moral at the end, The Count of Monte Cristo is full of more adventure and spectacle than Dickens would ever deign to write. (Though Anthony Trollope's "The Way We Live Now" did for greedy scurrilous English bankers and hoity-toits what Dumas does for the French.)
So, you probably know the bones of the story, because Edmund Dantes is the original Batman. No, his parents aren't murdered in front of his eyes, but two "friends" set him up as a traitor by sending an anonymous letter accusing him of being a Bonapartiste. (19th century French politics play a role here, as the first part of the novel is set during the period when Napoleon was confined to the isle of Elba, and then staged a dramatic return during which he briefly tried to regain the throne.) One of his friends wants his job, the other wants his girl, and Dante has the misfortune to go before a public prosecutor named Villefort, who initially wants to let Dantes go, realizing he's just a poor sap who was set up. However, when it turns out that Dantes unknowingly possesses evidence that Villefort's own father is a Bonapartiste, he instead consigns the hapless sailor to imprisonment in the Château d'If, an island prison off the coast of Marseilles. There, Dantes spends the next fourteen years, during which time he meets another prisoner, a "mad" priest who has been unsuccessfully trying to bribe his jailers to let him go with promises of a fantastic fortune he knows the location of.
To make a long story short, Dantes escapes, after having spent fourteen years learning all worldly knowledge from the Abbé Faria. He goes and finds the Abbé's fortune, an ancient Roman treasure, and soon reemerges in Europe as the mysterious Count of Monte Cristo. He's fantastically rich, an expert with all arms, poisons, and finance, he has Muslim servants and a beautiful Greek princess as his slave/ward, and he's buddies with Italian bandits and Mediterranean smugglers. He's a master of disguise and he has an indomitable will. This former sailor now moves as easily among French aristocracy as he does among Italian brigands. Everyone admires and fears him.
Seriously, guys, he's freakin' Batman.
He spends years acting as an angel of mercy and vengeance, rewarding the deserving, while planning his revenge against the three men who sent him to the Château d'If. The plot is intricate and there are dozens of characters, some of whom wind up interacting in fantastically coincidental ways. Since Dantes has returned from prison as the Batman, of course all his former enemies, who were once just poor scrubs themselves, are now fabulously wealthy and powerful as well, the better for Monte Cristo to bring them down.
It's an exceptional story, and a classic adventure. Kids should love it, if you can find a kid with the patience to read almost half a million words of flowery 19th century prose. Adults should also love it. But it's definitely over the top with all its coincidences and larger-than-life characters. Over the top, but a literary masterpiece. You get revenge and adventure and justice and a view of European high and low society in the post-Napoleon era. What elevates it above simple adventure and melodrama, besides the fine storytelling? It's not just Dantes getting even with those who did him wrong (which is how most of the movie versions portray it). In the end, his enemies undo themselves, and the Count of Monte Cristo finally faces the question of whether what he did was right and whether it was all worth it. Like Batman, he's never really going to find peace.
This book is totally worth reading -- and don't wimp out with an abridged version. Read the great big whomping unabridged doorstopper. That said, I have to give it only 4 stars, because while it's a classic that deserves its place, I wanted to start a drinking game for every time Dumas describes an "indescribable" expression or someone expresses an "inexpressible" emotion.
Okay, here's some word counts:
I don't know what French words they were translated from, but Dumas's writing does get quite purple by modern standards. Where Dickens crafted prosey, clever wordiness, Dumas is just wordy. And all those sordid coincidences! And entire chapters on the origins of various bandits and smugglers and where the asexual lesbian niece runs off to. And let's face it, an uneducated sailor spends fourteen years in prison and comes out as Batman? Come on now, guys. But it's still awesome.
The story is well written, gripping and in some parts humorous. It was narrated brilliantly by Bill Homewood. At times you feel as if there is an entire cast, instead of just one person.
"Entertaining all the way"
I was recommended this book by my girlfriend as she read it as a child. Whilst 50+ hours is very long, I broke it down to 2-3 hour sessions a day and finished it in no time. The narrator was particularly good with a wide range of voices, it's a must listen to!
"Gripping tale really well read!"
I have tried to read this book and gave up because of the small print and its length. However, I was gripped by the audio book. The films I have seen really do not do justice to this fantastic tale of betrayal and revenge. Thank goodness I had some long car journeys!
"Fabulous start but fades fast."
Everyone else by the other reviews! The first part was gripping, well written and fascinating, giving seven hours of excellent entertainment. Then the story reaches Rome, and goes incredibly long winded, of its time and soo boring. I am v close to giving up. The characters are two dimensional, uninvolving - presumably it gets better, but this needs abridging desperately.
No. If you like this sort of historic adventure book, Patrick O'Brian is far better written, funnier and infinitely more exciting. Otherwise Dickens, Hilary Mantel or Susannah Clarke
Bill H is an excellent narrator? Liked the priest
Severe disappointment after an excellent start.
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