The Count of Monte Cristo

The Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas, ALEXANDER DUMAS, Alexander Dumas Pere Before Reading:I started reading my copy when I woke up this morning and just thought I'd note a few things before I start reading the novel itself.This is a book about Dumas's father: The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo, who would make chapter outlines for him and do research. He was once referred to as 'Alexandre Dumas and Co., novel factory'.However, he sometimes had to be locked away in a room away from his mistress just so he could finish writing. Must've been a randy fellow. Dumas died in 1870. Afterwards Victor Hugo wrote to Dumas's son 'praising Dumas as a writer of universal appeal and added "He creates a thirst for reading."'On the book itself, from the Introduction:Based on the real life story of Francois Picaud detailed in [b:Mémoires tirés des archives de la police de Paris|9014622|Mémoires tirés des archives de la police de Paris|J. (Jacques) Peuchet|/assets/nocover/60x80.png|13892097] (Parisian police archives):'Briefly the story is this: Picaud, a young man from the south of France was imprisoned in 1807, having been denounced as an English spy, shortly after he had become engaged to a young woman called Marguerite. The denunciation was inspired by a cafe owner, Mathieu Loupian, who was jealous of Picaud's relationship with Marguerite.Picaud eventually moved to a form of house-arrest in Piedmont and shut up in the castle Fenestrelle, where he acted as a servant to a rich Italian cleric. When the man died, abandoned by his family, he left his money to Picaud, whom he had come to treat as a son, also informing him of the whereabouts of a hidden treasure. With the fall of Napoleon in 1814, Picaud, now called Joseph Lucher, was released; in the following year, after collecting the hidden treasure, he returned to Paris.Here he discovered that Marguerite had married Loupian. Disguising himself, and offering a valuable diamond to Allut, the one man in the group who had been unwilling to collaborate in the denunciation, he learned the identity of his enemies. He then set about eliminating them, stabbing the first with a dagger on which were printed the words: 'Number One', and burning down Loupian's cafe. He managed to find employment in Loupian's house, disguised as a servant called Prosper. However, while this was going on, Allut had fallen out with the merchant to whom he had resold the diamond, had murdered him and had been imprisoned. On coming out of jail, he started to blackmail Picaud. Picaud poisoned another of the conspirators, lured Loupian's son into crime and his daughter into prostitution, then finally stabbed Loupian himself. But he quarrelled with Allut over the blackmail payments and Allut killed him, confessing the whole story on his deathbed in 1828.'Holy cow! Moral of the story: Being merciful is a death sentence. One of the characters, Madame de Villefort, is also based on someone from these archives. Some consider TCoMC to be children's fiction for the for fairy tale and Disney-like quality of the adventure / romance / revenge story. However: '...not many children's books, even in our own time, that involve a female serial poisoner, two cases of infanticide, a stabbing and three suicides; an extended scene of torture and execution; drug-induced sexual fantasies, illegitimacy, transvestism and lesbianism; a display of the author's classical learning, and his knowledge of modern European history, the customs and diet of Italians, the effects of hashish, and so on; the length, in any case, would immediately disqualify it from inclusion in any modern series of books for children.'*rubs hands together*Sounds filthy; can't wait. :D