The Count of Monte Cristo has got to be the best revenge story ever

By Alexandre Dumas, of course.

I’ve read it three times and every time I read it I like it a little better. Sure, he’s a little long-winded, but damn he’s interesting. Full of adventure and really wild things. And the ending is great:

He doesn’t end up with ol’ Mercedes, but instead, a Greek Princess who really loves him!

I’ve also read The Three Musketeers and loved it. Anything else by Dumas I should read?

I agree, his revenge was absolutely delicious.

If you like Dumas, you might like Victor Hugo, though he tends to be more brutal towards his characters. I get the impression Hugo is really into punishing his characters for being stupid and/or overly sentimental. Anyway, The Hunchback of Notre Dame is a great read, but don’t expect anything even resembling Disney.

I’ve never read any Dumas, but if you liked The Count of Monte Cristo, you might like Revenge by Stephen Fry (the actor). It’s a reimagining of The Count of Monte Cristo in a modern setting.

I’m Dumas fan. I’d suggest The Man in the Iron Mask and Twenty Years After for your next selections. Twenty Years After is a Musketeers sequel – not as good, but still worth reading.

It was a great revenge story indeed, I really liked it except for the part where it was sooooo damn long, but I guess it had to be in order to tie up all the loose ends. That “wait and hope” peace of wisdom really feels true after finishing the book, re-reading it is generally an uplifting experience for me. It is a rather unique book so recommending anything like it isn’t a trivial task, but if you want something with plenty of poetic justice in it you could try Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio.

Long, dark, painfully sad, and the ending… I dunno how this and the ole Count are even mildly similar(except maybe lengthwise).

“I, too, as happens to every man once in his life, have been taken by Satan into the highest mountain in the earth, and when there he showed me all the kingdoms of the earth, and as he said before, so said he to me, ‘Child of earth, what wouldst thou have to make thee adore me?’ I reflected long, for a gnawing ambition had long preyed upon me, and then I replied, ‘Listen,-I have always heard tell of Providence, and yet I have never seen him, nor anything that resembles him, or which can make me believe that he exists. I wish to be Providence myself, for I feel that the most beautiful, noblest, most sublime thing in the world, is to recompense and punish.’ Satan bowed his head and groaned, 'You mistake, ’ he said; ‘Providence does exist, only you have never seen him, because the child of God is as invisible as the parent. You have seen nothing that resembles him, because he works be secret springs and moves by hidden ways. All I can do for you is to make you one of the agents of that Providence.’ The bargain was concluded. I may sacrifice my soul, but what matters it?” added Monte Cristo. “If the thing were to do again, I would again do it.”

–I say that to all the women–

You might want to try Scaramouche and The Red and the Black. Personally I didn’t like Hugo; his writing style is similar to JRR Tolkein (towards the end of LOTR) in that he will have a few paragraphs of dialogue and story then go off for twenty pages about the history of the rock sitting on the wall over there. YMMV.
Somewhat less related, but you might want to track down the big Von Bek book by Michael Moorcock.

For revenge stories, you can’t go wrong with Titus Andronicus, so many revenge plots it’s hard to keep up, and the ending is most delicious :smiley:

I just wanted to write that I love this book also. I read the Penguin Classics edition that has an excellent translation by Robin Buss. Buss also translated Dumas’ The Black Tulip. I know nothing about the novel but I think I’ll check it out just because I think Dumas and Buss go so well together.

FWIW, Anaamika, if your first paragraph is short enough, the contents of your spoiler tag show up in a hover box. However, I still think it was darn cute of you to use a spoiler box for a book written in 1845!

Just to add on to the above post-> I’ve read three different translations of Monte Cristo, and of these the Oxford version was the best. It is a translation from when the book was first published in Britain back 100+ years ago, so the language is more accurate to the setting and has also maintained much more of the description. It also had the fewest sections editted out. (Just one, where the Count goes back to visit his cell right at the end (if I remember correctly.))

It also has a notes section at the back which lets you catch up on all of the various references made or historical personage that a character might be based on.

*Cute * of me? I just like spoiler boxes!

And I’ve read Hugo and have got no interest in reading him again. Just not on the same level as Dumas, IMO.

I have a little list going now:

The Black Tulip
The Man in the Iron Mask
Twenty Years After

And then:
Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio
Titus Andronicus

I’ll try this:
Revenge by Stephen Fry

But I like period stuff.

And I’m glad no one has mentioned the abomination that is the movie the Count of Monte Cristo. Oh shit.

Heh. I saw the movie first, and am glad of it: I quite liked the movie, but having now read the book I know I can never watch the movie again. It is a glorious, absolutely compelling book.

As is The Three Musketeers. Scaramouche is fairly good, but I didn’t like it nearly as much as Dumas’s work.

A couple of modern authors that seem to draw on the Dumas tradition effectively:

Stephen Brust’s The Phoenix Guards is either a parody of, or an homage to, Dumas. It’s set in a fairly complicated fantasy world, and if you worry about understanding who the Tekla are versus the Dragons or whatever, you’ll lose interest. But if you let yourself be swept along by the wonderful language and don’t get bogged down in the details, you’ll be in for quite a ride.

Perhaps the best living fantasist is Peter S. Beagle, and my favorite book by him is The Innkeeper’s Song. It’s been a couple years since I read it, but I seem to recall some similarities between it and Dumas’s writing. Very swashbuckling.


Which one? I’d agree about the recent one, but I rather like the Richard Chamberlain version.

Lawrence Watt Evans’ Dragon Weather has a similar plot in a fantasy setting. A boy avenges the destruction of his family and village by dragons and their human agents. He is sold into slavery, escapes, becomes wealthy and powerful and carries out his revenge. Dragon Weather begins a trilogy but has a satisfactory conclusion (to me anyway).

grumble, grumble, making me search imdb for this awful movie.

I think this one is the one I’ve seen.

And this is the one you’re talking about. Care to spoil it? Is it worth it?

Well I must admit that it gets upgraded for me for being connected to Commedia del Arte. But probably, yeah.

I can’t compare either to the book (I think I started it 30 years ago, and never finished), but the two movies are quite different, and the earlier one (made for TV–one of the best TV movies I’ve ever seen, which may be damning with faint praise…) is far superior. It’s certainly worth a $2 rental.

Well, to be pedantic, the greatest literary work on the theme of revenge is Hamlet, by Shakespeare. Note that the final scene includes Hamlet avenging his father’s death by killing Claudius, and Laertes avenging the deaths of his father and sister by killing Hamlet. Of course, it’s not satisfactory for either, because both die in the process, leading to a successful of invasion of Denmark by Norway, but in real life revenge is often not satisfying.

Have you read Monte Cristo? I’ve seen Hamlet several times (in movies and on stage), and I’ve read Monte Cristo, and while they’re both spectacularly good, I’d probably cast my vote with the latter. Hamlet may well be the best English-language literary work on the theme of revenge, and it’s probably in the top five such works of all time, but Monte Cristo is also in those top five, and I don’t think you can accurately make such a categorical statement about Hamlet’s superiority.


I love Hamlet, it’s my favorite Shakespeare, but these two are not comparable.

Hamlet is the story of a torn man who can’t decide where his allegiance lies, what exactly he should do, etc. It’s beautiful and moving and deep.

Monte Cristo is the story of a man who knows exactly what he wants and accomplishes it. Along the way he is reminded of love & compassion and uses them exactingly to save the ones he loves.

Not even in the same ballpark, I’m afraid.