For so many years, passionate fans of The Count of Monte Cristo have suffered a loss upon finishing Alexandre Dumas' last words. It is a grieving of sorts that has long been unmitigable... until now.
The mysterious Holy Ghost Writer has penned The Sultan of Monte Cristo as a direct continuance of the story readers have long struggled against leaving behind. The adventure-laden journeys of Edmond Dantes continues in (Dumas') newly-honed role as investigative reporter who publishes his (original) book as part of (this) story.
New life is breathed into those characters we all knew and loved (or loved to hate) in the original Count of Monte Cristo tale (what can now, finally, be referred to as Book 1). Haydee, the infamous Villeforts, and even Countess G are lifted from the stalemate of our beloved story and given new life, and readers will also be introduced to a host of colorful new characters (like the memorable Raymee) whose lives, loves, and circumstance flow comprehensively and effortlessly through the entire narrative. Amazingly, the prose so closely matches the mood, tone, pacing, and richness of environment of Dumas'The Count of Monte Cristo that this feels like the natural continuance of those lives. The sequel manages to introduce such a microscopic view into the full-flesh world our colorful characters engage in that readers can't help being sucked in. We cannot help but run breathlessly alongside them throughout the journey, to imagine the consequences between their words, to ponder on their insights and their woe-filled courses of action. We stand next to Mercedes as she lives and breathes; we get that rare glimpse into the future of the characters that Alexandre Dumas himself surely intended. Through well-defined and multilayered plotlines, the story's laser-point pacing, and rich character building, this work lends the quagmire of adventures, missteps, and danger-filled mysteries a guarantee of unforeseen, adventurous turns and cathartic "a-ha" insights.
The Holy Ghost Writer seems a literary time-traveller: the swiftness with which he carries us straight into the 1800s is mind-boggling and a rare feat even in the best historical fiction writing.
©2012 Holy Ghost Writer (P)2013 Gregory V. Diehl