The Count of Monte Cristo

Revenge is a dish best served over decades. A spellbinding tale populated with double dozens of characters, so many I need a map to track their various names and connections. The quick and short of it, Edmund Dantes is erroneously accused and imprisoned on the eve of his marriage to Mercedes, love of his life, by Fernand (Mercedes’ cousin) and Danglars (jealous of Dantes’ rise to captain) accusing him of delivering a letter from Napolean to his followers. Villeforte is the deputy crown prosecutor in Marseille, but he sees that the letter is addressed to his father, thus dumps Dantes in the dungeons of Château d’If. Dantes acquires the ability to see in the dark, hears his neighbor cellmate scratching away in a tunnel attempt towards freedom, then spending years apprenticing at the Abbe’s knowledge tree. The Abbe knows of a hidden fortune, which he shares with Dantes, then dies. Dantes takes the place of the corpse, thinks he’ll be buried alive, but instead is tossed into the sea with a cannonball attached to his corpse bag. With his knife, he escapes from the bag, finds the treasure, and embarks on a long awaited plan on revenge against Fernand, Danglars, and Villeforte.
Mercedes has married Fernand in his absence, who profited wildly during the war. Danglars became a very successful banker. Villefort becomes a prominent crown prosecutor. The count of Monte Cristo (e.g. Edmund Dantes, Sinbad the Sailor, Lord Wilmore, Abbé Busoni) sweeps into Paris and begins unraveling the success of their past decade. Delicious. I am doing a grave injustice in not further explaining, but you should read it, I promise.
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Reco’d (as his favorite book) by L to the B