Edmond Dantes' betrayal, his incarceration in the fortress-prison of If, his search for Abbe Faria's hidden treasure, and his reappearance, now fabulously rich, as the brooding, Byronic and vengeful Count of Monte Cristo - these are the bare outlines of a book which Thackeray, for one, found impossible to put down. Dumas set his magnificent novel of l'action et l'amour in nineteenth century metropolitan Paris with interludes in Marseilles and Rome. In it he gave free rein to the sensational - hashish-smoking, vampirism and sex - and to his interest in travel, classical myth, the orient, human psychology and disguises. The Count of Monte Cristo (1844-5) is one of the great popular novels of all time, and a landmark in the development of modern popular fiction. Robin Buss's major new translation - the first significant translation of the complete and unexpurgated text for nearly one hundred and fifty years - restores the novel to its full glory for an English-speaking audience.