The Black Count and The Count of Monte Cristo are the books for our book club's summer reading. I brought both of them on our trip . . . Well really, I downloaded them on the iPad, and although I would prefer using a book, the iPad is surely handy for traveling.
Alexandre Dumas wrote a number of books, The Count of Monte Cristo, being one of them. The large tome (nearly 1000 pages) has been fairly daunting, which is why I have never read it. The Black Count, a shorter book, tells the history of Alexandre Dumas, the father of Alexandre Dumas, the author. The character in The Count of Monte Cristo is patterned after him as is one of the characters in The Three Musketeers.
The Black Count is a beautifully researched and told biography of Alexandre Dumas, the elder. The details from the French Revolution were obtained after much perseverance by the author, Thomas Reiss. I really liked and appreciated how he frequently inserted some first-person accounts of how he obtained information or came to his deductions. His narrative added credibility to an already interesting story.
Parts of the book were a little tedious. I wish I could say I did not skim them, but I did. The vast majority of it, however, was most intriguing. Although I thought I knew a bit about the French Revolution, I discovered I only knew a little about it, and there was a lot more about it that I wish I had known.
The swashbuckling and courageous Alexandre Dumas, the elder, has been slighted by history. I hope Mr. Reiss's book will begin the push to give Mr. Dumas the recognition he deserves.