Please excuse the poor French and all the upcoming *spoilers*….
I had to buy a new handbag to accommodate The Count Of Monte Cristo. My lovely grey satchel, a Christmas present from my sister, just wasn’t built for lugging a 1,300 page epic around every day, especially not alongside my phone and my keys and my purse and all the other crap I’m too lazy to throw away (mainly hairgrips, receipts and KitKat wrappers). My new bag is a massive New Look thing and it’s completely impractical. It won’t fit into my bike basket or my locker at work… but The Count fits inside it quite nicely sooo…. Priorities.
I’m about a third of the way through the book now and I’m having a very nice time indeed. Since my last update, Edmond Dantes has made a dramatic escape from the Chateau D’If where he’s been languishing for the past fourteen years and, following a tip-off from a fellow inmate, he’s uncovered a vast fortune buried on the deserted island of Monte Cristo. By now he knows that his father died in poverty during his imprisonment and that the three men responsible are living happy, prosperous lives free from any guilt. One has even married Mercedes, Dantes’ beloved fiancée. Understandably Dantes is a little miffed to hear all this.
The old Edmond Dantes has all but disappeared now. It’s a bit like he’s shed his skin. With his new fortune and a series of false identities – safe in the knowledge that no one will recognise him after all this time – he sets about rewarding those men who did their best to have him released from prison and punishing those who put him there. I’m on chapter 35 and Dantes (under one of his many pseudonyms) is, I think, laying the groundwork for his revenge on Danglars, Mondego and Villefort (and Mercedes too perhaps?). At least, I think that’s what he’s doing. It’s a little tricky to see how he’s going to do it right now but I have every faith in him. It’s ridiculous how much I’m looking forward to all the vengeance. It’s almost bloodthirsty.
I was surprised to realise that I miss the old Dantes a little now he’s gone. Actually, what I miss most is being privy to all his thoughts and plans. Until recently everything was told from his viewpoint but Dumas has very cleverly shifted it all around now so that we only see him through the eyes of other people. It makes him feel very distant and mysterious and less like his old self. It also builds the suspense a bit more I guess.
I could have done without all those pages devoted to the Luigi Vampa backstory, that would have built the suspense too. I’m glad that’s over. I’m now looking forward to more plotting, more revenge, and fewer asides about bandits, thank you very much.