With all my travel, I'm afraid I still cannot find a way to sleep on airplanes. So, faced with a long flight, I desperately need some reading that will keep me occupied. For my latest trip (one taken in Claire's company earlier this month to Warsaw, Poland), I took along a couple that I knew would fit the bill: Alexandre Dumas’ classic novels, The Man in the Iron Mask and The Count of Monte Cristo. Both represent re-reads, of course, as Dumas is one of my favorite authors and both were wonderful adventures which more than compensated for the fatigue and uncomfortablility my body experienced in those long hours speeding across the Atlantic. You can't miss with Dumas.
However, I should admit that though I find The Man in the Iron Mask exciting and well-written, it really cannot hold a candle to Monte Cristo, one of the most flawless, fascinating novels ever penned. Ranking right alongside Dickens, Hugo and Scott, Dumas’ genius allowed him to write not only novels of great depth and moral strength but ones whose characters and adventurous plots absolutely intoxicate a reader’s imagination. I usually recommend most heartily to readers of all ages that splendid series of Dumas novels that begin with The Three Musketeers. But, thinking about it this morning, I believe that The Count of Monte Cristo, that powerful story of vengeance and its ultimate disappointment, is a perfect starter for those who would explore Dumas’ wonderful body of work.