I ask you, when you’re writing an incredibly long book like this, embellishing every detail imaginable, why skip 10 years and move countries?
It’s a clever ploy by “our” friend, Alexandre Dumas (who writes in the plural 2nd first person every once in a while…) to immediately establish some mystery around the many personas created by Edmond Dantès after his escape from the Château D’If.
When you’re repeatedly, by different people, thought to be a vampire, you’re either a member of the Cullen family, some random Transylvanian count (maybe this was intentional, which is why he made himself a count…), or you’re just a scary, mysterious man named Edmond Dantès who’s out for manipulative revenge.
Anyway, we’ll get to that later…
In which young Franz d’Epinay, a spoiled, rich kid goes hunting for goats on the isle of Monte Cristo and encounters a group of smugglers who take him to see their boss, Sinbad the Sailor. Upon meeting Sinbad, he meets a mute Nubian slave (who was Sinbad’s dream come true) and delights in mild hallucinogenic drugs–just another day with the Count of Monte Cristo!
In which Franz, not fully appreciative of the Count’s generosity with his hashish, tries to find the source of his treasure. Unfortunately, Monte Cristo is not so simple as to leave his treasure lying around (not like the dumb churchman). Confounded, Franz, like anyone in his situation, goes to Rome to see the Carnival with his good friend Viscount Albert de Moncerf the son of Fernand Mondego and a mysterious woman who may have known the count in a previous life…
In which Franz and Albert are out of luck (poor guys…) because they can’t hire a carriage to take them around Rome during the Carnival. They’ll have to mingle with the rabble! How terrible!
Not to be deterred, they determine to walk around Rome, especially after the owner of the hotel warns the vigorous youths about bandits, namely Luigi Vampa. His idea of a good time is kidnapping rich tourists and holding them for ransom. How exciting!
The owner launches into a long, long story of Vampa’s history, and a familiar encounter with Sinbad the Sailor…
In which Franz, being a butthead, eavesdrops on Vampa and a mysterious man who helps him free one of his men, Peppino,–in payment, Vampa vows to forever remain the Count’s humble servant.
You may ask, what does one do after carousing with bandits? One does what anyone else would do when one is in Rome on one’s vacation: one goes to the opera!
At the opera, the count, who is exceedingly pale and (have I said this before?) mysterious, frightens the lovely Countess G—. who believes him to be a vampire. I believe this is how she sees him all the time.
However, Countess-without-a-real-last-name, have you asked yourself this: Does the Count sparkle in the bright sunlight? Does he???
I think you have your answer now!
In which Franz and Albert, after being invited to watch the Carnival (which is obviously more fun than actually participating in it…) from the window of their neighbor’s hotel suite, discover that their neighbor is the mysteriously vampiric Count of Monte Cristo.
However, before the event begins, you have to watch an execution! Yay! I mean, that’s what one does when one is in Rome! Right? One? C’mon.
The chums, along with their friendly neighborhood Count, are very excited to see the execution. However, they soon learn that it’s not all fun and games, and is really quite disturbing. That’s what happens when you don’t put an “M for Mature” warning label before the executions.
In which Albert gets all excited by making googly eyes at a pretty young girl in the crowd at the carnival…
…In which the pretty young girl is revealed to be a young boy of about 15 in the employ of Luigi Vampa. Guess what’s about to happen to Albert!
A ransom note is sent to Franz, who wants to pay the ransom, but goes to Monte Cristo instead. The two men find Vampa with the help of Peppino. Vampa, enraged at his men for kidnapping one of MC’s friends, immediately releases Albert, all but kissing MC’s feet.
By the way, I learned a lot from Albert through this ordeal. He gets kidnapped and, instead of panicking, he just goes to sleep. He tells them that he wanted to show the uncivilized Italians how the French react to such a situation because he wants to demonstrate dignity.
Sorry, Albert, you merely confirmed by preconceptions of the French. When in doubt, curl up into a ball and sleep. How brave!
In which Albert realizes that he was actually in mortal danger and thanks the Count for his services, inviting him to stay with him in Paris. Thus ensues a very long conversation in which the Count and Albert confirm and reconfirm their plans for the EXACT time that MC will meet with him in Paris.
And then, Franz the butthead tries to convince Albert that MC isn’t who he says he is. Albert says, “Who cares! He’s an alright guy, and he might be a vampire or a jewel smuggler! Either way, I get something sparkly out of the deal!”
In which Albert, surrounded by friends, eagerly awaits the arrival of the Count of Monte Cristo. They don’t believe the stories he tells of the Count’s amazingness. I mean, no one believes in vampires, anyway…what does he expect?
Except gullible girls in Forks…
Here are the previous chapters.