I'm on page 194 and I'm leaving my summary on a cliffhanger this week. Keep reading!
Chapter 10: The Little Room in the Tuileries
King Louis XVIII and the Duke de Blacas talk about possible desperate acts by Napoleon and his followers. Dandre, the minister of police, says that Napoleon is suffering from mental weakness in exile and will soon go insane. Villefort is admitted into the king’s presence and says he has information about Napoleon leaving the Isle of Elba. The King reassures Villefort that all the shores are being watched and protected.
Chapter 11: The Corsican Ogre
Dandre (minister of police) receives a telegram stating that Napoleon left Elba, landed in France and is advancing toward Paris. The King can not believe it. His family spent 25 years in exile, recently regained the throne and now are threatened again. The King asks Villefort if he will see his father. Villefort says he will not. The King presents Villefort with his Legion of Honour cross for his help and loyalty. Villefort goes to his hotel and prepares to leave Paris. A stranger asks to meet with him in his room. The stranger is Villefort’s father, Noirtier.
Chapter 12: Father and Son
Villefort and his father meet in the hotel room where they speak of Villefort’s wedding, the death of General Quesnel, the landing of Napoleon and the letter from Edmond Dantes. Noirtier details Napoleon’s intended route to Paris. Villefort says that the police description of General Quesnel’s murderer matches Noirtier. Noirtier shaves and changes clothes. Villefort watches his father leave then heads for Marseilles.
Chapter 13: The Hundred Days
Napoleon enters Paris and reclaims the throne, but France remains in civil war. During Napoleon's Hundred Days, Villefort holds his position as magistrate. Danglars (the jealous sailor) quits the sea and leaves for Madrid. Fernand joins Napolean’s army with hopes of winning Mercedes on his return. Mercedes remains alone, wandering the village in wonder. Caderousse joins the army. Five months after Edmond is arrested, his father dies. Morrel asks Villefort for help in locating Edmond Dantes. Villefort agrees, but does nothing. Dantes remains a prisoner during Napoleon’s Hundred Days. When King Louis XVIII regains the throne, Villefort marries Renee.
Chapter 14: In the Dungeons
One year after King Louis XVIII is restored to the throne, an inspector visits Dantes in the dungeon. Dantes wishes to know his crime and to be tried for it. The inspector promises to look into the case, restoring hope in Dantes. The inspector also visits the “Mad Abbe” in the cell below Dantes. L’Abbe Faria is a priest who claims to own an enormous treasure. They find him drawing circles on the floor. The inspector looks into Dantes case and finds he is a violent Bonapartists, involved in Napoleon’s return from Elba and is to be carefully watched. Dantes is known as prisoner #34.
Chapter 15: Number 34 and Number 27
Dantes is extremely lonely, the only person he sees is the jailer. He prays to God, he contemplates death, he stops eating and becomes gravely ill. One day he hears scratching sounds in the wall. He uses pieces from a broken jug to scrape plaster from the cell wall. He uses the handle of a saucepan as a lever to remove a stone. He hears the Abbe (prisoner #27) below him. The Abbe works in the tunnel below and soon appears in Dantes cell.
Chapter 16: A Learned Italian
The Abbe is a small man with penetrating eyes and a long beard. He describes the tools he made to dig the 50 feet between the cells. The Abbe looks out the high window in Dantes’ cell, sees a courtyard and gives up on his plan for escape. The Abbe tells Dantes of his devotion to learning while in prison. He invites Dantes to his cell.
Chapter 17: In the Abbe’s Cell
The Abbe shows Dantes his hidden tools, linen, papyrus, homemade pens, penknife, oil lamp, and cord ladder. Dantes tells the Abbe his story. The Abbe helps him realize those who benefitted from his disappearance, Danglars, Fernand and Villefort. Dantes is upset but the Abbe says not to think of vengeance. The Abbe teaches Dantes about math and languages. Eventually, they make an escape plan that will take a year to execute. They are days from escaping when the Abbe becomes ill, his arm and leg become paralyzed.
Chapter 18: The Treasure
The Abbe tells Dantes about the treasure. Caeser Spada, a cardinal, and his nephew were poisoned by the Pope in a plot to gain Spada's inheritance. After the deaths, no wealth was found, only a scrap of paper. The Abbe explains that he was the secretary for the Comte de Spada, a distant relative of the Cardinal, and spent years looking over the Spada archives. After the Comte de Spada died, the Abbe discovered that the piece of paper, when exposed to heat, revealed a secret message. The Abbe shows Dantes the paper revealing the location of the treasure on the island of Monte Cristo.
Chapter 19: The Death of the Abbe
Dantes tells the Abbe that being his friend is his greatest treasure. The Abbe makes Dantes learn the contents of the note by heart. One night, Dantes awakes to hear his friend calling and rushes to his cell. He finds his friend dying. The Abbe comforts Dantes telling him the treasure will be his alone. Dantes watches his friend die. Dantes listens in the passage as his friend's body is examined by prison officials. The Abbe's body is put in a sack in preparation for burial.
Chapter 20: The Cemetery of the Chateau D’If
Dantes removes the body from the sack, takes the body to his cell then returns to the Abbe’s cell to sew himself into the sack. Dantes remains quiet as two grave diggers arrive and take him away on a stretcher. The grave diggers throw Dantes into the icy water with a thirty-six pound weight tied to his feet.
For this One Book, One Community program, we encourage everyone to participate however they wish. The Count of Monte Cristo is available in many formats including book, e-book, audio book, junior edition, abridged versions, and graphic novel. This blog will serve as a summary of the complete book as listed below.
In my opinion, the chapters are manageable but it takes some time to figure out who the characters are. The story is full of history and geographic references, so I've added hyperlinks to other websites if you're interested in reading more.
Thanks for visiting the blog and feel free to comment about your impressions of the book.
The Count of Monte Cristo
Everyman’s Library Edition, 2009
Chapter 1: The Arrival at Marseilles
Our story begins in 1815 aboard the ship Pharaon in the port of Marseilles (France). Shipowner Morrel listens to Edmond Dantes, second in command, tell of the captain’s death at sea. While Dantes steps away, a jealous sailor, Danglers, tells Morrel that after Dantes took command, the ship made a stop at the Isle of Elba (Italy)—the place of Napoleon’s exile. Danglers reports that Dantes received a letter during the stop and that he is delivering the letter to Paris. Morrel tells Dantes it is his wish to name him captain. Dantes happily leaves the ship to see his father and his fiancée, Mercedes.
Chapter 2: Father and Son
Edmond Dantes arrives at his father’s small house to find him in poor health. Old Dantes explains that he had little money left after paying a debt to his neighbor, Caderousse. Caderousse hears of Edmond’s return and comes to visit. Caderousse and Danglers meet outside the house, they see Mercedes with her cousin, Fernand.
Chapter 3: The Catalans
Danglers and Caderousse drink wine at a café near Mercedes house, where Mercedes and Fernand are talking. Fernand has hoped for ten years that Mercedes would be his wife. Mercedes says she is in love with Edmond Dantes. Edmond arrives at the house and is introduced to Fernand. Edmond extends his hand to greet her cousin, but Fernand leaves the house in anger. Caderousse, Danglers and Fernand drink wine together at the café. Caderousse gets drunk, Fernand is overwhelmed with love and Danglers plans revenge on Dantes. Edmond and Mercedes stop to tell the men that they will be married tomorrow.
Chapter 4: The Plotters
Danglers and Fernand talk about their hate for Edmond Dantes. Caderousse listens and continues to drink. Danglers writes a letter accusing Dantes of being an agent of Napoleon. He says that Dantes is carrying a letter from Napoleon to Paris. Danglers throws the letter into a corner and leaves with Caderousse. Fernand picks up the letter after they leave.
Chapter 5: The Betrothal Feast
Friends, family and Pharaon crew gather to celebrate the upcoming wedding of Edmond and Mercedes. The feast includes sausages, lobster, prawns, sea urchins, clams and wine. Edmond reveals that he plans to marry, travel to Paris and back, then hold a marriage feast. Fernand looks uncomfortable and pale as he waits for something. The door opens revealing a magistrate and soldiers with an order of arrest for Dantes. Morrel questions the magistrate, Dantes’ father begs the men to leave his son alone, Caderousse asks Danglers about the letter, and Fernand leaves. Dantes is taken away by carriage, Morrel follows him, while Dantes’ father and Mercedes comfort each other and Fernand reappears. Morrel returns and says that Dantes has been accused of being a Bonapartist agent. Mercedes cries, Caderousse realizes the accusation came from the letter Danglers wrote at the café. Fernand takes Mercedes home. Morrel names Danglers ship captain.
Chapter 6: The Deputy Procureur
As Dantes is being arrested, another betrothal feast, celebrating those of a higher class, takes place for Villefort and Renee. Talk of the fallen Emperor Napoleon on the Isle of Elba and of the reinstated King Louis XVIII dominates the conversation. Villefort, a royalist and magistrate, has disowned his father, Noirtier, because he is a Napoleonist. The party is interrupted as Villefort receives a letter regarding Edmond Dantes, a sailor on the Pharaon, who delivered a letter to the Isle of Elba and received a letter to take to Paris. Villefort leaves the party to deal with the situation as Renee begs him to be merciful on their feast day.
Chapter 7: The Examination
Villefort arrives at his house to find Morrel, who pleads for kindness regarding Dantes. Villefort promises to be impartial. Villefort enters the house where he meets young Dantes for the first time. Dantes is calm, polite and without political opinion. He expresses his love for his father, his respect for his boss, Morrel, and his adoration for Mercedes. Villefort shows Dantes the letter of accusation, then asks what happened on his journey aboard the Pharaon. Dantes says that the captain, upon his death, gave an order to sail to the Isle of Elba, disembark, ask for the grand marshal, give him a letter and do whatever the grand marshal asked. Dantes received a letter from the grand marshal to be delivered to Paris. Villefort believes Dantes followed orders as instructed, asks for the letter and agrees to release Dantes. Villefort is shocked when he sees that the letter is addressed to Monsieur Noirtier, Villefort’s father. Villefort reads the letter then burns it. He tells Dantes not to speak of the letter and says he will be detained briefly. Dantes senses that something is wrong but agrees not to speak of the letter and hopes to be released soon.
Chapter 8: The Chateau d'If
Dantes is put in a cell to wait, then taken by carriage to a boat. Edmond is relieved to breathe the fresh night air and to find he is unrestrained. The boat passes Mercedes house and Edmond can see the light in her room. He begs to know where the men are taking him. They tell him they are heading to Chateau d‘If, a fortress for political prisoners. Dantes tries to throw himself into the water but is restrained. Upon reaching the fortress, Dantes is put into a chamber for the night with bread, water and fresh straw. Dantes repeatedly asks to see the governor but is denied. Dantes cries, barely eats, rages, and tries to bribe then threatens the jailer. The jailer throws Dantes into the dungeon.
Chapter 9: The Evening of the Betrothal
Villefort returns to the feast to tell Renee he has to leave for Paris. Mercedes waits outside to question Villefort about the charges against Dantes and ask where he is. Villefort tells Mercedes that Dantes is a criminal and that he doesn’t know where he is, then heads to Paris. Mercedes grieves for Dantes. Villefort can’t get the image of Dantes out of his mind. Morrel tries to get help from influential friends, but no one will assist an accused Bonapartist. Caderousse drinks wine, Danglers is happy and old Dantes is overwhelmed with anxiety.
January 1, 2019
Happy New Year!
Welcome to the Cook Public Library One Book One Community blog.
From January 3 to March 7, community members are invited to read The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas.
The librarian will be reading The Count of Monte Cristo for the first time. A summary of her book progress and an update about the program will be posted once a week.
The book was one of the 100 books listed on PBS's The Great American Read. The Cook Pubic Library received a grant from PBS and the American Library Association to promote The Great American Read and all of the books on the list. The library held voting contests between books all summer long. After many votes and much competition, The Count of Monte Cristo was chosen as our winner.
Join us at the library on Thursday, January 3 at 5:00 pm to check out a copy of the book or learn how you can download the book to your computer or device.
Light snacks will be served courtesy of The Great American Read grant and The Friends of the Cook Public Library.