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 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.
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.
I value intelligent stories with characters I can relate to. I can appreciate good prose, but a captivating plot is way more important.
This is the longest book I've tackled on audible--and the first classic. I don't think I could have gotten through this without the fantastic narrator, Bill Homewood, bring it to life.
I was worried that this book would be a 50-hour version of the movie that I liked so much. Indeed, it was not. The book offers a richer cast of characters, a much more nuanced protagonist, and countless ambiguities that turn the book into something very surprising and deep.
The age of the novel is very apparent. A lot of the science it employs does not stand the test of time. The use of poisons and drugs is just plain silly at times. Additionally, the the mindset of the french aristocracy is so foreign and bizarre that the motivations and emotions of characters is downright bizarre to modern listeners at times. This causes some of the impact of the drama to be nullified, which is a shame.
I was fairly captivated the entire time, which surprised me given that the language and setting of the novel provided many obstacles to true immersion in the story. Here is where the narrator did his job phenomenally well. I have to say that I truly delighted at his portrayal of Noirtier.
Listeners will probably need to follow along with a chapter summary at parts, as almost every character has two or more names, and some of the Dumas subtleties cause confusion that remains unresolved for long stretches. The language barrier led me to wonder if I misunderstood certain things, or if Dumas was just giving his readers credit by not spelling everything out (it was always the latter).
I highly recommend this book with this narrator.
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.
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.
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.
This was the most entertaining and heartfelt stories that I have read ever. Anyone who calls themselves a serious reader, writer or enlightened being should read this amazing classic.
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.
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
Terrific insights into the human spirit.
You can't even imagine the deepth of The Count.
I have the Penguin Clothbound edition of this on my bookshelf, I picked it up and was struggling. Listening to it, however, gave it a new lease of life which I wasn't expecting. The listening experience was fantastic and has really sold me on audiobooks
I know he was meant to be the bad guy, but I did love Noirtier. I also rather liked Eugénie and Valentine. Noirtier said very little yet conveyed a lot and as for Eugénie and Valentine, they were rather strong women for their time period. Eugénie and her elopement should have a side novel of its own!
The depth of character. Dumas is by no means slacking in characterisation but Bill Homewood is a fantastic narrator who I only discovered through this book, but one I am intent to explore more in the future.
I said on my blog review that if you want to read, or listen to, one classic (pre-1900) in your life, make it this one! It is just amazing!
Fantastic narrator, heartbreaking and wonderfully variated story! A must-listen! I cried, laughed and marveled in the beautiful language and intense story. One of the best audiobooks I've ever listened to.
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.
"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?
"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!
"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,
"A dish best served cold"
One of my two favourite books. This one, because I couldn't put it down. It is a weighty tome and slightly verbose (Dumas wrote it as a commissioned serial and was paid by the word) but the pages seen to fly by nonetheless. The translation works well, with perhaps the only recurring exception being the insistence of translating forms of 'quitter' as forms of 'to quit' (e.g. "he quitted the room" as opposed to "he left the room"). The narration is mostly superb and the distinct voices for the multitude of characters (many of whom have more than one identity) helps to keep track of the players in each scene. [My other favourite book is 'Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance' by Robert Pirsig, for the opposite reason: I had to put this one down every few pages to cogitate on what I had read.]
"Wait and hope."
Truly this is a work of fine art, sublime throughout its entirety. without a doubt the best story I have ever heard in my life life.
"Best audio version!"
Don't be put off my the length of the audiobook, playing it at x 1.25 speed is perfect and cuts down the length a fair bit without losing and quality of the narration at all. Without doubt a wonderfully narrated version of this classic text. Buy it!
"A classic page turner which was hard to switch off."
Apparently first released as daily segments and what a circulation boost it must have been to the paper of the day. If it was converted into a modern day box set it would definitely fit the 'let's watch just one more episode' category.
The language was very of the day but I kind of enjoyed it and the meaning still came through well.
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