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
There are two fantastic Unabridged recordings of this book on Audible.
* This one by Naxos Audiobooks, released in 2011, narrated by Bill Homewood, and
* Blackstone Audio's version, released in 2008, narrated by John Lee.
Now, at first glance, the John Lee version seems more energetic and might seem superior, but that's absolutely wrong. Listen to the audio sample of that version, and you'll be treated to a monotone reading where -every- -single- -character- -sounds- -exactly- -the- -same-. Most of the time you can't even hear the difference between him narrating the story or speaking a character's lines. I assure you that nearly 50 hours of the same monotone voice, where every character blends together, is not the best way to experience the book.
Now listen to THIS recording instead, by Bill Homewood. Listen to the sample all the way until the end, and you'll hear that he expertly crafts a UNIQUE voice for EVERY character, and gives each character a vibrant portrayal. It's an absolute joy to listen to him narrate the work with such talent for voices and accents, and it's really easy to follow along with what's happening since the voices are so distinct.
The book itself? It's a classic for a reason. If you have a taste for epic revenge and adventure stories, then this is for you. I suggest you choose this reading of the book and sit back, relax and enjoy. You'll be in for the ride of a lifetime.
An epic tale of revenge, The Count of Monte Cristo is one of the most fun books I have read in some time.
The narration was skillfully performed, and the narrators voice sold me on this version of the book. HOWEVER by the time I finished the book the sound of his mouth had me squirming. He kept making squishy mouth noises throughout the book, which was likely related in some way to the mic.
Thrilling, massive, fantastic
You MUST get the Bill Homewood (reader) version of this novel. The characters come alive, and his intonation and in-depth understanding of the characters enrapture the listener. I started to listen to a different version of this book, but that performance was not good. I'm so glad I tried again with Bill Homewood.
There are plenty of other versions, but after listening to some samples I went with Bill Homewood. He's the man. A different voice/ characterization for each person in the story - different enough that sometimes I forgot their names but remembered them from earlier in the story by the voice!
It's a good story, and I'd tried to get through the book before but could never fight through Dumas' long winded prose. Mr Homewood battered it down for me in style and has a great dramatic style.
If you like the classics, you should give this a listen. If you're going to listen to The Count, you should listen to this one.
A part-time buffoon and ersatz scholar specializing in BS, pedantry, schmaltz and cultural coprophagia.
One of those grand epics like Les Misérables and David Copperfield that does more than create a world the reader temporarily inhabits. This is a novel which creates a whole grand myth. I would second Umberto Eco's take that this is one of the "most gripping novels ever written, and on the other hand one of the met badly written novels of all time and all literatures."
This is a story of an Übermensch/Byronic hero and the grandfather of all revenge and psychological thriller novels. I remember the first time I read 'Les Miserables', I almost read straight through. Now, 25 years older, I don't have the same reading endurance, but the feeling of urgency and addiction was close. I read this in 3 days (while working full-time and giving token attention to family duties). 'The Count of Monte Cristo's' plot doesn't just push you forward, rather it tosses you down cliff after cliff.
I give it four stars for the obnoxious writing, repetition of bad adjectives, and unnecessary descriptions of unnecessary events in a book that is already 1200 pages. While I'm not a big believer in editing or abridging a writer's work, Dumas would have been a bit better served with a modern, aggressive editor. For that I leave off one star ... perhaps one day I'll add it. For now, I will just 'wait and hope.'
I have just finished reading (on Kindle)and listening to this story. I had seen the Jim Caviezel movie, which was good, but has changed much of the original story. The drama ,, humor and and fascinating commentary on human nature was extraordinary. This performance was more than a narrative. He changes voices for certain characters and the most dramatic scenes are transfixing. This is truly a timeless classic that is under-appreciated. I had actually read the first half of the book on my new Kindle Fire, but mostly listened to the rest while reading along at some juncture. Due to the length of this novel- over 100 chapters, it is better listened to vs reading it. While I read it, I started to get confused because of all the characters and I was unclear if I was fully understanding the plot because I had to stop and start so often while reading. But I could not stop listening to the audible performance, which held my attention.
The drama of the poisoner and the reading of the letter by Franz of his father's death were the most memorable. However, I did not listen to the beginning of the story, so I may actually go back and listen to the whole thing again. This is my new favorite.
The emotion and drama between characters was clearer in his performance. All the complicated interactions and intention so the characters came to life.
I was stunned, amazed, and laughed at and cry with the characters. The spiritual insights were powerful and worthy of reflection. This is more than a revenge story, that is a very superficial reading of this story, but the prevailing view. This view of human nature is very insightful. Recently, I was made aware of
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.
Terrific insights into the human spirit.
You can't even imagine the deepth of The Count.
Well worth it!
The narrator for this book was amazing. He was able to give personalities to the dozens of characters in the book each with a unique European accent. Amazing!
The eventual redemption despite the relatively ambivalent and totally devastating sabotage to a mans life by those around him.
The prison scenes are the most memorable, thankfully none of the movie overdo is here.
The voice given to the emphatic blinking of a paralysed man is certainly something I could not have got from the written page.
I love long stories, this one is very good, but you would have to be very keen to do one 48 hr listen.
Very well drawn characters that are in no way black and white. Sad that so many of them have been lost from movie versions.
There is a comment that compares this rendition to that of Mr Lee, I would like to second that opinion. Even though I am very fond of that artists voice, this is a much more expressive rendition and I noticed some dumbing down of vocabulary in the segment of the other one, calling
"The Count of Monte CristoNarrated by Bill Homewood"
I'm revisiting in audio form some of the classics which I can only just remember from old TV films. This is truly a another masterpiece, the detail of human greed, aspirations and dejections is superb and very moving, never boring I have been hooked from start to finish of this 52 hour delight and as for the narrator-I can't believe it could be read any better, his warmth and the humanity in his performance along with his acting capabilities are first class and have done credit to a terrific story..
"Long but really exciting"
I read this book very sketchily when young. Hearing it re-read to me by Bill Hammond was sheer delight. His 'acting' with his voice so well paced, enabled the huge number of characters to be sorted in my mind and Dumas' intricate plot unfolded wonderfully. I was able to enjoy being 'in the know' while the people who ruined Edmond Dantes life and love were unaware of what was happening to their world and their ill-gotten gains as disaster after disaster fell upon them. I was really sorry to get to the end!
I took the risk of listening to this story, as I have never read it, and loved it. This is firstly a great thriller and secondly a love story. How greed, honour, revenge, and love can drive you to your doom or destiny, how a man can walk to the edge of the abyss, and step back and walk away; and cheat death! This is a long book, and there are some low or dull moments, but overall a very satisfying story. Bill Homewood is excellent as the narrator. I certainly will listen to it again.
This was my first book chosen from Audible and I couldn't have chosen better. Quite a long listen so it's not for you is you're short of time. The narrator is brilliant; there's a different voice for every character and is very easy on the ear. If you like intricate, well written, full bodied stories this is for you.
"My All-Time Favourite Novel..."
I initially read The Count of Monte Cristo in 2003, in print, and it immediately became my favourite novel.
This story will take you on a rollercoaster ride, you'll cry, laugh, yearn and be thrilled and excited throughout. More than that, it has a wealth to say about human nature, what it is to be wronged, what it is to be a good person or a bad person, and the impact that revenge has on all concerned with it.
But more than these thems, essentially it's a ripping good yarn. Over 50+ hours it will keep you gripped, weaving a pattern with its many fascinating characters, drawing them all towards their inevitable destiny.
If you choose to read only one more book in your life, make it this one, you'll love it and be a more rounded person for the experience,
"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!
"best of a bad lot."
Great voice of Bill Homewood, despite Naxos doing their best to ruin things by not bothering to edit out the echo, or prevent it in the first place.
The story, the narration... This was my first ever audio book. I don't think I'd have enjoyed this book as much had I read it myself. The narration is superb. So is the writing. I'm dreading the day it's going to finish.
"Great book OK reading"
Great classic and generally good reading. However I found some mispronunciations of French and Italian recurrent names really annoying ( the word Peppino in particular, where the accent falls on the i and not the e). Why cannot reader do a bit of homework in that department?
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