The Count of Monte Cristo (French: Le Comte de Monte-Cristo) is an adventure vel by French author Alexandre Dumas (pere). Completed in 1844, it is one of the author's most popular works, along with The Three Musketeers and is considered as one of the best vels ever written. Like many of his vels, it is expanded from plot outlines suggested by his collaborating ghostwriter Auguste Maquet. The story takes place in France, Italy, islands in the Mediterranean, and in the Levant during the historical events of 1815-1838. It begins from just before the Hundred Days period (when Napoleon returned to power after his exile) and spans through to the reign of Louis-Philippe of France. The historical setting is a fundamental element of the book. An adventure story primarily concerned with themes of hope, justice, vengeance, mercy and forgiveness, it focuses on a man who is wrongfully imprisoned, escapes from jail, acquires a fortune and sets about getting revenge on those responsible for his imprisonment. However, his plans have devastating consequences for the incent as well as the guilty. In addition, it is a story that involves romance, loyalty, betrayal and selfishness, shown throughout the story as characters slowly reveal their true inner nature. The book is considered a literary classic today. According to Luc Sante, The Count of Monte Cristo has become a fixture of Western civilization's literature, as inescapable and immediately identifiable as Mickey Mouse, Noah's flood, and the story of Little Red Riding Hood.
Alexandre Dumas (24 July 1802 - 5 December 1870), also known as Alexandre Dumas, pere, was a French writer, best known for his historical novels of high adventure. Translated into nearly 100 languages, these have made him one of the most widely read French authors in history. Many of his novels, including The Count of Monte Cristo, The Three Musketeers, Twenty Years After, and The Vicomte de Bragelonne: Ten Years Later were originally published as serials. His novels have been adapted since the early twentieth century for nearly 200 films. Dumas' last novel, The Knight of Sainte-Hermine, unfinished at his death, was completed by a scholar and published in 2005, becoming a bestseller. It was published in English in 2008 as The Last Cavalier. Prolific in several genres, Dumas began his career by writing plays, which were successfully produced from the first. He also wrote numerous magazine articles and travel books; his published works totaled 100,000 pages. In the 1840s, Dumas founded the Theatre Historique in Paris. His father, general Thomas-Alexandre Davy de la Pailleterie, was born in Saint-Domingue to a French nobleman and a black slave woman. His aristocratic rank helped young Alexandre acquire work with Louis-Philippe, Duke of Orleans. In the election of Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte in 1851, Dumas fell from favor, and left France for Belgium, where he stayed for several years. Upon leaving Belgium, Dumas moved to Russia for a few years, before going to Italy. In 1861 he founded and published the newspaper, L' Indipendente, which supported the Italian unification effort. In 1864 he returned to Paris. Married, Dumas also had numerous affairs, said to total 40. He was known to have at least four illegitimate or natural children, including a boy named Alexandre Dumas after him. This son became a successful novelist and playwright, and was known as Alexandre Dumas, fils (son), while the elder Dumas became conventionally known in French as Alexandre Dumas, pere (father). Among his affairs, in 1866 Dumas had one with Adah Isaacs Menken, an American actress then at the height of her career and less than half his age. Twentieth-century scholars have found that Dumas fathered another three natural children.