is one of the two* most famous works by Alexandre Dumas
Most of you would/should know the story, either by reading the book or having seen one of the several movies that have been produced over the years (which, from recollection, are not as close to the book as hoped).
I am not going to go too much into the story itself, but more into the ideas and styles within it.
The two main themes throughout are the suffering of Edmond Dantés (later, the Count of Monte Cristo) and his revenge, which becomes the purpose of his life, on the three men that were responsible for his wrongful imprisonment.
The suffering and torment suffered by Dantés (he is imprisoned for 14 years) is immense, however what is portrayed by Dumas is not as bad as it could/should be for the reader to gain more of an insight into his later eccentricities. It is almost as if Dumas has glossed over a large part of it in order to get on with the rest of the story, the 'action' part. The only other story i could think of where such huge suffering was endured after wrongful imprisonment was For the Term Of His Natural Life by Marcus Clarke.
This isn't to say that the reader does not sympathise with Dantes, you most certainly do. I just believe you could sympathise more...
Dumas' writing style is not common in novels either. This was first published in installments in a French newspaper by a writer who had previously been writing mostly plays.
This leads to all the characters revealing their thoughts in theatrical ways by each performing small soliloquies in each scene.
This is a fictional novel, but it is set in historically accurate times. This makes the story even more engaging as the intertwining story of Napoleon attempting to regain rule of France (and how this affects Dantés) and the subsequent rule of the Bourbons after this is beautifully accurate.
There is a reason that this book is described as a "literary classic". It really is. I would recommend this book to anyone and everyone, even though my review was pox.
*The three Musketeers being the other (which will probably be my next review)