To Be On, or the Smell of the Battle
Sequels and Pastiches of Dumas in Russia, in Eastern
Europe and in Italy
by Gennady Ulman*
Evening prayers at home in cozy nooks
Days without a book were constantly bore,
Never being in the battle, we fought in the
And we suffered from trifles taking them for the
Hair stuck to the temples and sweaty
Turning pages seemed to be done by the Gods,
And the smell of the battle called the readers
Draining energy out of our guts.
Ballad about the Battle
I know the time when some people in Russia were
completely sure that Alexandre Dumas was Russian, and,
of course, d'Artagnan spoke only Russian. They were not
too much educated people, but even those who could
hardly read, read Three Musketeers .
Even if Dumas were Russian indeed, he could not be loved
and honored in the country more than he was. After his
visit, this love turned into adoration.
Yes, he made a lot of mistakes in his books about his
journey to Russia, but who remembers these mistakes now
? A magician in his own motherland, he was a magician
Nobody wanted to part with his heroes, nobody wanted to
say "Farewell". The portraits of this generous wizard
were in public schools, universities, and bookstores.
The Soviet power, nevertheless, allowed to publish only
several novels of Dumas, like the mentioned-above Three
Musketeers, its sequels, The Queen Margot,
Count de Monte Cristo, and 3-4 other
things. All Dumas' huge heritage was being left out of
board. The Soviet government did not want to distract
people from building the best society in the world. Only
at the "black markets", one could see the volumes of
Dumas by Petr Soykin , the pre-revolutionary publisher.
They cost a fortune, and avid readers, like me,
collected money for months and even years, to purchase,
finally, an ancient volume, with an old alphabet, and
with the chill of the heart to bring it home
anticipating the birthday of the heart.
I grew up in the years after the Great War. Men's
friendship was among the greatest values, which we
sucked with our mothers' milk. Therefore Three
Musketeers, perhaps, found more room in our souls
than another masterpiece Count de Monte Cristo,
in which an individual reaches his goals with almost no
help from the others.
This is, apparently, more characteristic of the Western
world where people are raised and trained to survive
alone, without relying on the others. Besides, the theme
of the treasures was not exactly approved by
ideologists---a majority of the Soviet people were poor
without even noticing it.
Many stories and novels were exploiting the lines of
the plot of Three musketeers, the names of
four friends were mentioned in different books and
movies in the 30-s, 40-s, 50-s, and 60-s. Anyway, there
were no attempts to create frank pastiches. I,
personally, explain it with our upbringing and absence
of understanding the difference between plagiarism and
making a pastiche or a sequel.
It's hard to judge what was happening at the same time
in the Eastern Europe as traveling even there was next
to impossible, and the only real thing to rely on were
books with every year becoming fewer and fewer.
Only during the last 10-15 years, in Russia appeared
the novels which can be righteously named the pastiches
and sequels of Dumas, and in the forthcoming short
article I will try to show that d'Artagnan and his
friends, and Edmond Dantes found their second life in
Russia and Eastern Europe as well as in numerous other
Life After Death, or Monte Cristo in Russia
Strange as it might seem, but several sources from
which Dumas fed his immortal “Count of Monte-Cristo” can
be found in the capital of Ukraine that is Kiev. Kiev
newspapers inform the attentive readers about the French
diplomate in Russia (Ukraine was a part of the Russian
Empire then) in 1811, Count De Lagarde who communicated
a lot with the local aristocracy, attended parties at
the mansion of the Kiev, Governor Miloradovich, and
regularly wrote diaries about everything he saw and
heard. De Lagarde also visited the house of Prince
Konstantinos Ypsilanti, an ethnic Greek, the former
gospodar (ruler) of Moldova and Valachia, who had to
seek the refuge in Kiev after the suppression of the
anti-Turkish riot, led by his father, Alexander
Ypsilanti. Konstantinos had been living for a long time
at the court of the Sultan of Turkey and told Count De
Lagarde much about the intrigues of the court, frequent
poisoning of the guests by wines or sherbet.
Hasan-ibn-Sabba was also mentioned in Ypsilanti’s
stories. Dumas attentively read the memoirs of De
Lagarde making notes at the most attractive spots,
making thus the details of Monte Crsito’s life in the
What is even more interesting, Ypsilanti mentioned the
way he escaped from the Turkish prison which was used by
Dumas when describing the flee of Edmond Dantes from le
chateau d’If. The house of Ypsilanti is still there in
Kiev. Its address is 6 Mazeppa street.
The Ultimate Revenge
Monte Cristo in Russia is presented not too
extensively. First of all, let us stop at a novel The
Ultimate Revenge with the name of Alexandre
Dumas as an author, and published in 1992 in
Sympheropol (Ukraine).On the back
page, Soykin's publishing house is shown. On the title
sheet, there is even the name of the translator--M.
Ignatova. It is certainly a fake as the novel was
written by a gifted Russian writer Vyacheslav Lebedev
(1900-1979). Mikhail Buianov, the president of the
Russian society of the friends of Dumas, a famous
scientist, states that the novel has been numerously
published after the death of the author.
The Ultimate Revenge is a frank sequel of Monte
Cristo telling how Count de Monte Cristo
together with his loving wife Haidee in spring 1838 come
to Russian capital Moscow to enjoy the sights, and to
have some experience of Russian "mysterious soul" which
both of them had never had before.
Moscow charms Edmond Dantes, its huge bells, domes of
the churches, covered with real gold, Russian
hospitality, strange, but, nonetheless, delicious food,
and, of course, Russians with their smiles and openness.
This spell continues until due to a misunderstanding,
in a small inn, being asked his last name, Edmond
Dantes, gets a slap on his cheek from a bear-like
Russian. Several minutes before this accident, Dantes
meets his old co-worker Jules Charpentier with whom he
served on the board of "Pharaoh". Jules, still a simple
sailor, does not know anything about his old friend, and
informs Dantes that he intends to buy a small boat to
become, finally, independent. Then the accident happens.
The strength of the slap is horrible. Edmond, who never
was a weakling, falls down from the chair, almost
With the help of Charpentier and another witness,
Edmond comes to understand that the fault is in his last
name--Dantes. The matter was in the following : a year
before, a great Russian poet Alexander Pushkin was
killed on a duel by a French officer Georges Dantes.
Pushkin had a lot of anonymous letters claiming that his
wife, a renowned beauty, Natalie Goncharova had an
affair with Georges Dantes. More than that, to be closer
to Natalie, Dantes married Natalie's sister, Catherine,
although he never loved her.
Pushkin, being a genius of the verse, had a very hard
character, and was never easy-going in life. Whether the
rumors were true or not (it still remains a mystery up
to this day), Pushkin challenged his new relative and
demanded satisfaction. The duel took place in January,
1837, in Petersburg. The poet was killed by a shot into
The duel caused the outrage from millions of people who
loved Pushkin's poetry, and who thought the foreigner
desecrated the gist of the Russian soul. On hearing the
name "Dantes", some Russian decided to show his contempt
to the Frenchman and slapped the latter.
Edmond Dantes does not speak Russian, and does not know
the poetry of Pushkin, but after a detailed examination
of this matter, talking to several representatives of
the high society, and even having talked to the Prince,
he decides to revenge the perished poet.
Why ? Because he thinks that Georges Dantes can be, by
any chance, his side relative, because he thinks it
hurts to be a cheated husband, because he thinks that
Georges did not have any mercy on the pride of Russian
people, and, finally, because he does not want to have
in his family killers. He believes that Pushkin was
right in defending the honor of his wife, and his own
name. Haidee, who starts speaking Russian, with the help
of her new Russian friends, reads some pieces of
Pushkin's poetry, and says that it is fabulous. Edmond
Dantes meets Natalie Goncharova, the widow of Pushkin,
talks to her, and is willing to restore justice more
On his coming back to France, he meets Georges Dantes.
Charles-Georges Dantes is a handsome young man, but
count Monte Cristo is hard to deceive with the
appearance. He feels his rotten nature, and suggests the
following : as both of them belong to the same family
name, Monte Cristo wants to purify this name; moreover,
their common ancestors are said to start their kin from
the Italian poet Dante, and he, Monte Cristo would give
Georges-Charles an enormous amount of 50 million francs
if Georges-Charles would always be in the shadow,
removing himself from any political activity, any kinds
of duels, anything that might make his name in the
highlights. After Monte-Cristo's death this amount would
double. Georges-Charles is torn apart. He does not want
to become a puppet, and his ambitions of a real
adventurer press him. He refuses, but the devil of greed
is already doing his ruining job.
Meanwhile, Monte Cristo comes with Haidee to his lovely
island. They have two kids. The boy is named Alexander
(to remind Pushkin ? Dumas ?). On coming to Paris, Monte
Cristo is acquainted with Victor Hugo. Hugo is charmed
with the count and says he was sure that Monte Cristo
was purely imagination of his good friend Dumas. The
count does not want to take part in any kind of
political struggles, but he decides to support
It turns out that Georges-Charles is one of the most
ardent partisans of Louis-Philippe. Therefore, Monte
Cristo, who does not believe in any noble attempts to
rule France, says to the Louis-Philippe that if
Georges-Charles is removed from any political activity,
the prince would receive money for his company.
Louis-Philippe agrees. Georges-Charles is humiliated. He
shoots at Monte Cristo, but this time he misses his
target. He has to leave betrayed by his patron. Pushkin
Monte Cristo also says good-bye to all his new friends
who did not meet his expectations including famous
Ferdinand Lesseps, the constrictor of Suez Canal.
Lesseps is also under the influence of Louis-Philippe
who is in Monte Cristo's opinion a petty and cheap
He leaves to his island, and soon a new guest appears.
It is a giant of a man, everybody on the island loves
him, children, a boy and a girl adore him, and the count
finds in him the only person to be able to talk as his
equal. We understand, of course that this is Alexandre
Dumas himself. The count tells him the whole story, and
they both are silent. Then the boy asks why people can
not live peacefully as his family does on their little
The mentioned Mikhail Buianov sharply criticizes the
novel, naming it nationalistic and hostile. I can not
agree with him. I, on the contrary, think it's one of
the cleverest sequels, deftly written. The book, of
course, lacks the psychological depth of Dumas, and
apparently too freely treats the historical figures.
But, anyway, it is fluent and interesting to read.
The Prison Colony
The historical genre in Russia was and still is adored
and highly valued by the reading public. Only 15 years
ago, it was utterly impossible to travel and to see with
your own eyes the realities from history so thoroughly
learned at high school. To see the pyramids of Egypt ?
Impossible! To find the place where D'Artagnan lived ?
Impossible! Except, of course, high functionaries, and,
sometimes, ordinary workers, keeping together as
together was easier to avoid the seductions of the
More than that, the history of Russia itself was deftly
hidden under the seven locks and distorted to the
mythology of the rulers. Not too many writers were
admitted to the "sancta sanctorum"--the archives of the
party and the government. Only the most trusted, the
most credited. Valentin Pikul belonged to them. A former
seaman, he changed his profession and became a
professional writer. He wrote many novels concerning the
historical past of Russia. His books are argumentative,
not every reader likes his style of narrative, but he
had a talent to touch upon the most interesting points
One of his novels is the subject of our discussion, and
it is The Prison Colony. In Russian Katorga.
It is not a pastiche of Dumas' Monte Cristo.
It's rather a tribute to Dumas' hero. The action of the
novels takes place in early 1900-s including the
fameless Russian-Japanese war, lost by the Russian army.
The main character, Polynov, quite a mysterious figure,
with a dark past, known to no one, serves as a
gunfighter for the gangs of Josef Pilsudsky, the future
dictator of Poland. Poland wants to gain independence
from Russia. However, mostly, Polynov is used as a
skilful burglar of the bank safes, as it was believed
that robbed money would serve to the case of
Once, while robbing the bank, the gunfighters come
across an ambush. While they were shooting back, Polynov
opened the safe and without waiting for his companions
vanished with everything which was in the safe. It was a
huge plunder and the enraged companions, certain Gloger
among them, sentenced Polynov to death putting off the
verdict till meeting the traitor personally.
The next time,the reader meets Polynov in Monte Carlo
playing the roulette and staking the most improbable
number "36". He wins, but at this moment he is arrested
by the police for the series of robberies in different
countries, and, finally, after being battered he is
transferred to Russia. The Interpol did not exist at
this time, but the police collaborated, anyway.
After a lot of collisions, Polynov is sent to the worst
place possible--the prison colony in Sakhalin. Horrible
climate, crowds of gnats and mosquitoes, hunger,
constant beating turn the life of prisoners into a
nightmare. Polynov, nevertheless, finds the way of life
there as well. Being acquainted, somehow, with the
highest thieves from the prison hierarchy, he chooses
with their help a small nothingness--a graduate of the
seminary school who killed the priest with whose wife he
had a liaison.
Polynov makes the man take his name and term, and
acquires another name. Nobody checks the lists of the
prisoners; nobody, actually, remembers their faces.
Hence, our hero has to stay in the prison for only 4
He meets Gloger, who wants to fulfill the verdict, but
Polynov is more skilful in shooting. He, however, does
not kill Gloger, but explains that Pilsudsky is a
traitor of his own country, and although he, Polynov,
does not approve the actions of Russia towards Poland,
Pilsudsky is harmful for both Russia and Poland. Polynov
explained that he had taken all money, but he spent, at
least, half of it for real independence of Poland.
Gloger does not want to listen to any arguments. He
misses his victim and is full of malice.
At that time, Polynov buys a young girl from her
mother. The woman is desperate explaining that the girl
otherwise would starve and die. Polynov takes the girl
to his little shack and teaches her all that he knows
himself about life, history, geography, literature, and
he knows quite a lot, including his skills to speak 10
European languages without an accent.
Meanwhile, the Japanese attack Sakhalin and turn it
into a Japanese settlement - Karafuto. The prisoners
escape. Polynov makes a girl learn the number of his
account in Monte Carlo in case he would perish. He calls
the girl--Anita although it's not her real name. But
this name reminds him of distant countries and
While escaping to the continent, Polynov again meets
Gloger, and Gloger betrays him as a Russian spy to the
Japanese officers. Polynov is so tired that he would
meet death, but he remembers about the girl who waits
for him and... loves him.
Being much smarter than Gloger, he makes the Japanese
officers believe that the real spy is Gloger himself.
Gloger is beheaded, and Polynov and Anita finally get to
the continent. Coming to the same casino, Polynov
requires his money, stakes again "36", and takes the
He becomes the uncrowned king of several islands in the
Pacific, makes a country comfortable to live in, and the
worst punishment for his numerous subjects is being
exiled from the island.
During the WWII, Anita comes to the Russian consul in
France, and sobbing, says that her beloved husband died,
and before his death he had asked his wife to gift
Russia with several ships. This is the end of the story.
Actually, this is a story of Edmond Dantes who was
experienced, older, and not innocent. Edmond Dantes, who
performed the role of Abbe Faria, and obtained Haidee
made with his own hands. The readers' sympathies change
while reading from utter bewilderment (what? he robbed
the bank? left his friends without anything? a good
friend he is!), to astonishment and complete admiration
when we come to realize that Polynov was not a negative,
but a positive hero. Sophisticated, sinful however,
The motive of revenge is somewhat blurred and vague,
but after all, Polynov avenges his enemy Gloger who
turns out to be a negative hero. Everything in this
novel is reversed ; the heroes with the negative value
finally turn out to be positive and noble, and, vice
versa, positive -turn out to be negative.
The novel stands far from The Count of Monte
Cristo, and is neither its sequel, nor a
pastiche. Nonetheless, the affinity with the heroes of
Monte Cristo is undoubtful. Polynov is both Monte Cristo
and Abbe Faria, Anita stands for Haidee, Gloger for both
Villefort and Fernand combining the betrayal and the
right to judge. Among many characters of The Prison
Colony, there are heroes who bear the features of
Danglars and Caderousse although vaguely. Therefore, we
have every reason to decide that The Prison Colony
is a tribute to the renowned novel of Alexandre
The Spy Woman Who Came From the North
The novel belongs to Anton Leontyev, is published in
Moscow "Eksmo", 2004, 380 pages.
This a frank pastiche of Monte Cristo. A young Russian
girl Tatiana Polesskaya together with her
stepmother travels to visit Tatiana's
father, who is an ambassador in the Great Princedom of
Bertran, which is close to Monaco. Tatiana does not like
her stepmother who married her Dad only for money and
position. The stepmother is sure of her beauty,
irresistibility, and superiority over a younger girl.
Still she hates the girl.
On coming to Bertran, Tatiana, not Alla, gets into the
limelight, and the Prince shows his attention to
Tatiana, not Alla. Alla is mad with jealousy. She makes
her husband, Tatiana's father believe that his daughter
has to leave because she causes troubles in the embassy.
Tatiana does not want to go. She, who was always
lonely, suddenly makes friends. One is a woman, slightly
older than Tatiana, named Liudmila also working in the
embassy. Another is more serious--her father's
assistant, interpreter Igor. Tatiana falls in love with
him. She does not know that Igor works for the KGB
(committee of social security). Igor places in Tatiana's
baggage a microfilm with the drafts of the latest model
of American torpedo. Somebody in Moscow has to take care
of this film.
Tatiana, sad and desperate, is ready to board the
plane, but the film is found. She doesn't understand
anything. However, she is arrested. Nobody cares too
much for her. Nobody tries to help, even her father,
who, on one hand is helpless, on another, more and more
under the influence of his wife who hates the guts of
Tatiana goes through the trial, and the secretary of
prosecution, who understands very well that the girl is
"framed", still demands the highest term--17 years.
Tatiana is jailed on a small island. She gets some
friends and a lot of enemies. Among the enemies there is
a black woman. But Tatiana successfully goes through the
One old woman, Louisa, is so much attracted with her
good nature and kindness that she seriously looks at
Tatiana as her daughter. After several years, Louisa
dies leaving Tatiana as she says all her treasures and
an old Bible. In the Bible, Tatiana finds an old sheet
of paper with the numbers of the accounts once belonging
to Louisa's passed husband. There are 27 million
dollars. Tatiana decides to escape. She has already
spent 13 years in the jail. A favorable moment once
occurs. Using the carelessness of her guards, Tatiana
gets down from the high cliff on which the jail is
located, swims in the sea for a while, and is saved by
the young and handsome yachtsman.
After a while she enters into possession of the fortune
which turns to be much more than the amount of 27
million dollars. Under the fake name of the countess
Louisa del Orsellini, Tatiana learns that her father
died and all her energy is now directed to revenge.
She plans her revenge carefully getting into the
contact with the highest people of Bertran and Russia.
She learns that it was Igor who put the film into her
baggage, that it was Liudmila who betrayed her to
American government, that the secretary of prosecution
could set her free as she (it was a woman) had all
proofs of Tatiana's innocence, but did not do it because
of the evil nature.
She has her revenge : she makes Igor kill Alla who at
that time was his annoying wife, and gives him to the
hands of the police. She makes Liudmila attempt for
Tatiana's life, and also gives her to the hands of the
police as the agent of American secret service.
She causes the circumstances in which the secretary of
prosecution dies analogically to the death of Caderousse
in The Count of Monte Cristo. Then she boards
the yacht of the young man who once saved her and leaves
for good to the South America.
As it is vividly seen, this novel is a frank pastiche
of the Count of Monte Cristo in a female's
variant. More than this, the title immediately reminds
that of the English spy and thriller writer John Le
Carré The Spy Who Returned From The Cold, and
the episodes from Tatiana's life in the prison are
almost exactly copied from Sidney Sheldon's If
Tomorrow Comes. Old Louisa plays only partially
Abbe Faria leaving Tatiana her fortune. There is no
teacher as Tatiana is highly educated.
Unfortunately the novel is written not skillfully, and
the psychology of the characters lies on the surface.
The novel is highly predictable even for those who did
not read the famous prototype although I, personally,
think that such people are few.
Actually, there are other novels in Russia more or less
dealing with the themes and ideas of Monte Cristo.
Among them it is possible to recall the trilogy of
Georgii Mironov The Russian Brigades, about
the life of the thieves and gangsters, and the main
character who is their treasurer, but in reality, he is
an undercover secret - service man. Being betrayed and
locked in the jail, he uses exactly the same way of
escaping as Monte Cristo, and then revenges his enemies.
The End of Monte Cristo
Rustem Vahitov, the author whose sequel version of “The
End of Monte Cristo” is published on the Internet
in Russian. The contents of this story is very unusual.
The plot is the following: the French officer who turns
to be Albert de Herrera ( the son of Mercedes and de
Morcerf), comes to the small smoking-saloon in Aravia to
smoke the hashish. The owner, a philosopher, while
serving the client, comes to remember how he worked as a
private healer for somebody who loved hashish—Count de
Monte Cristo. Albert is very much interested, and asks
what happened to the Count, finally.
The owner , sighing heavily, says that the Count died
under tragic circumstances. He (the healer) is
very much surprised why people in Paris did not
understand something that was vividly seen from the
start: the Count was insane. Monte Cristo got mentally
sick still in the prison.
He was sick with hatred, and when he finally got a
revenge over his enemies, his hatred did not subside. He
still had plans to revenge—to his guard in the jail If,
to the soldiers who escorted him, to the commissioner
who was not merciful to him, and others.
So when the basic revenge was over, the Count still
could get quiet. When he finished with everybody, he
suddenly understood who he had to give the final
revenge. Who was so naive to believe de Villefort,
who was so stupid to tell the whole story and to name
the addressee? Who did not think about different things
which had to be considered? Aren’t naivety and stupidity
akin to a crime?
And Monte Cristo decided to revenge himself. With the
devilish smartness, he works out the plan, and his own
people hit the final and deadly blow. Now he is dead and
thus revenged completely.
As we see, the understanding of the character of Monte
Cristo is given completely differently from the
other writers, rather in the key of Karel Capec
stereotypes of our usual thinking. We may not agree with
this version; however, it demonstrates that the interest
to this character never dies.
Master and Margarita
I also come to think that one of the most famous
world-known novels “Master and Margarita” by Michael Bulgakov also
bears the features of “Count Monte Cristo”, and is, at
least, a tribute to Alexandre Dumas. I am also positive
that the author did not even think about Monte Cristo.
However, somebody said that the novel once being
written, lives a new life completely independent on the
Here is my proof.
Master who wrote a truthful novel about Jesus Christ,
reconstructing His real life and death and paying Him a
tribute of love and respect, had become a point of God’s
Son attention. However, Master wrote his novel in
the country of atheists, and committed thus a crime. A
new “friend” of naive and innocent writing genius,
Aloisii Mogarych, also reports “anti-Sovietness” of
Master with the purpose to take away his small and
shabby apartment. This crime has to be punished, and
Master is sent to NKVD ( Soviet secret police), and then
to the mental hospital from which there is no return.
Master is broken. He has no will of his own and no guts
His Margarita (Mercedes) does not know where he is, and
can not do anything.
Master does not need any Faria as he is a
highly-educated person himself; however, as was said
before, he can not fight.
Then as Providence is always on the spur, a real
avenger turns up. He is almighty and omnipresent. His
name is Voland, and he is the Devil. He first sets
Master free, and then gives a chance to Margarita to
revenge her lover. However, the broken windows in the
apartment of the enemy of Master ( his literary critic
and mocker ) are not serious for the Devil, and the
Satan sets a revenge worthy of the devilish mind of
The Devil actually acts on the request of Jesus as
Jesus is unable to commit any mean actions, but The
Devil enjoys this acting presenting Providence.
Master is revenged: he deserved his quietness and he
joins his love—Margarita.
The novel is multi-plotted as the repent about the
revenge experiences somebody else, not Master who,
perhaps, does not even suspect what happened behind his
I hope that I proved my point and that Bulgakov,
unconsciously, still repeated the features of the plot
of Monte Cristo.
Besides, separately from me, Russian literary criticist
Eugenia Hilkevich in the monography “Master and
Margarita. An experience of the literary analysis”
states, in her opinion, a sure fact that Bulgakov based
the intrigue of his novel on Dumas’ “Count of Monte
Cristo and brings a lot of proofs of her statement**.
“The Healer” multi-serial
1. A Trip to “Kresty”
2. A Dash to Freedom
3. The Revenge of the Thief
B. K. Sedov
Sedov is definitely a pen-name of some modern writer or
a group of writers specializing on the Russian
underworld. The first three parts (there are many more )
are based on the plot of “MC”.
A Russian surgeon, Razin is framed up in a murder and
accused of committing it. There is absolutely no way to
avoid his forthcoming jailing and further joining the
thieves who lead the prison. One of the thieves listens
to his story ( Faria ) and explains to Razin that the
real murderers are his own wife and his native brother.
Razin experiences many ordeals in the prison; however,
with the help of the thieves for whom he becomes an
indisputable authority, he escapes.
Unrecognized, extremely wealthy, and powerful, he gets
the proof of the betrayal and gets his revenge over the
couple of those who broke his life. But as well as MC,
he has to pay for his revenge. Since then, his life is
strongly connected with the underworld and thieves.
The Cruel Romance
A woman’s variant of Monte-Cristo.
A 14-year-old Tamara, a daughter of a tough Russian
businessman finds her parents dead. She is adopted by
her uncle and the uncle’s wife, a good-for-nothing
couple who treat her cruelly and mercilessly meanwhile
managing her father’s money.
Tamara’s uncle makes an unsuccessful attempt to rape the
girl; then she is sold to somebody she falls in love
with and who, nevertheless, sells her again. She,
finally, gets into a jail and is already in the know
that her foster parents were the real murderers and
traitors of her family. In the jail Tamara becomes
acquainted with the old lady who proves to be her Faria,
becomes an heir to the huge amount of money, escapes,
and gets her revenge.
Amplifying the Sorrow
The author is a world- famous, extensively translated
into diffrent European languages, writer, the younger of
the duet of two brothers, Arkady and Georgy Vainers.
After the death of Arkady, Georgy wrote only two novels.
“Amplifying the Sorrow” is a paraphrased quotation from
Ecclesiastus “much wisdom is much sorrow”.
The novel is a double tribute to both “The Three
Musketeers” and “MC”. In the remote sixties, there were
three friends, “three musketeers”, always ready to stand
for each other. They gave each other the nick – names (
the tribute to that thoroughly described their
characters). One, who was inclined to business,
Aleksandr Serebrovsky, was tagged as “The Sly Dog”.
He became a famous tycoon. Another, who had a
keen eye and a strong feeling of friendship,
Sergey Ordyntsev, was named “The Loyal Horse”. He became
a senior officer of the Interpol. The third was
Konstantin Boyko, the one who became the champion of the
country in biathlon (cross-country skiing and rifle
shooting ), skillful in martial arts, named by his
friends “The Fighting Cat”.
All three went in for business, but only “The Sly Dog’
becomes successful. He is dishonest with his partners
and is scared of “Fighting Cat” as the latter is
old-fashioned, naive, and above all places his honesty.
Being afraid of Konstantin, Aleksandr frames him into a
jail, not in Russia, but far abroad, and seduces
Konstantin’s wife as Serebrovsky loves her for a long
time. Besides, he deprives Boyko of all his money.
Nevertheless, Boyko sets himself free and comes back to
Moscow. Serebrovsky, who has his own secret service, is
deadly scared. All his service is unable to find Boyko,
and the tycoon calls Ordyntsev to come back from Paris
where he serves in Interpol. “The Sly Dog “ hopes that
“The Loyal Horse” would prevent “The Fighting Cat” from
revenging. Thus, “The Three Musketeers” turn into “MC”.
However, Boyko has his revenge. And as MC, he loses a
lot and gains not too much.
Kostiuchenko Eugene, Aleinikov Aleksandr, Fataliev
A novelized version of the 12-series TV- movie made by
Ramiz Fataliev and Aleksandr Aleinikov.
The hero of both the movie and the novel is a simple
boy, Elbrus Tamaev, who was raised by his father and got
a worthy upbringing, honest and devoted to his only love
and friends, finally,encounters a betrayal of his
friends, loss of his love, and life prison in one of the
Turkish jails. After long years of ordeal, he meets his
own Faria, gets his education, sets himself free,
obtains a fabulous treasure and a name of Count
Krestovsky-. “Krest” in Russian means “Cross”.
He comes back to Russia and revenges a killer, who was
a real sadist; he also revenges a father and a son (
combined Fernand Mondego ), but he does not touch his
former love who had married his only true friend and
this friend is deadly sick nowadays.
The Count, mighty, wealthy, and still unrecognized,
helps the couple to leave for an expensive hospital
overseas. His former love starts to get some suspicions,
but the Count does not give her a single chance. He
vanishes still unrecognized.
An Apple of Monte Cristo
One of the most popular Russian
woman-writers, Daria Dontsova, turns to the
“Monte-Cristo” theme, when to a private detective
agency, a woman, Zoya Vyazemskaya turns. She sees a
ghost of her own dead son. After one such talk, Zoya
dies, and the private eye, Ivan Podushkin, takes the
In the end, a bloody family vengeance reveals,
hatred,envy, and jealousy that turns into a bitter
revenge under a disguise. However, it has very little to
do with th real MC plot. Why an apple ? Because that was
an apple with what Eris, Goddess of strife, started the
worst war in the whole Greek mythology-the Trojan war.
The Immortality of Insanity
I have not read the book and the review is based on the
newspaper article. The author Anatoly Karpenko- Rusyi is
a TV actor from Odessa ( Ukraine ), He wrote a novel
about Monte Cristo from Odessa. Judging by the words of
a journalist, the book is filled by blood, revenge, odor
of treasures and faithfulness to the original plot of
Dumas. Regretfully, I did not manage to learn anything
Monte Cristo in Eastern Europe
Poland. In 1890, Polish writer
Boleslaw Prus (Aleksandr Glowacki) published a novel,
which is still popular The Doll. It is one of
the greatest novels in the world literature, realistic and bitter,
telling about Stanislaw Wokulski, who belonged to the
class of merchants, took part in the revolutionary
struggle of Poles against Russia, came back to Poland,
and became extremely rich. He fell in love with "a
doll', a girl arrogant and not too clever who belonged
to the aristocracy.
Wokulski appeared to be a genius, speaking lots of
languages, having a wonderful education, much higher
than anybody else, and also possessing strong will,
reserve, and decisiveness. There are many features in
this protagonist, which make the readers think Wokulski
is a homage to Monte Cristo. His abilities, his
resolution to revenge the tormentors (not his own, the
tormentors of his Motherland), his extensive and various
knowledge about various things, his talents in various
fields, his outlooks make grow up from Monte Cristo.
However, Wokulski, falls for a girl, who is not worth of
him, showing mildness not characteristic of Monte
Cristo. Finally, Wokulski understands her real price and
disappears, leaving a girl and her admirers, perhaps, to
reappear again in a new disguise. This is the end of the
novel, the main hero of which, is, in my opinion, a
tribute to Edmond Dantes.
writer Ungvary Zsolt, born in Budapest, 1968, wrote a
novel Hungarian Monte Cristo (Magyar
Monte Cristo). It was published in 2000, in
Budapest, publishing house Simon Laszlone. The story has
a subtitle The novel of adventures.
The hero, Menessi Csaba, a student, takes part in the
revolution in Hungary, is betrayed by his three friends,
jailed, escapes abroad, and comes back unrecognized,
powerful and wealthy, ready to revenge not only the
traitors, but everybody , who tortures his country.
Czechia. Czech writer, journalist, and
critic Vladimir Makura in 1993 publishes a novel Citizen Monte Cristo
(Obcan Monte Cristo) in Praha. It's a witty
adventure detective about Monte Cristo in the family
"background". The protagonist's name is Petr Lambda, he
is knowledgeable in literature, works in the university,
and tries to get a revenge over his unfaithful wife
It might be interesting to talk about the poetic works
which mention the name of Monte Cristo. But, as once
Hans Andersen said, "It's a completely different story."
Italian Monte Cristo
In Italy Monte Cristo was and still is no less popular
than in other countries.
Il conte del’isola Monte Cristo; ossia, il
marinajo e lo scienziato
One of the first playwrights was a famous actor Gustavo
Bugamelli who in 1910 wrote a play “Il conte del’isola
Monte Cristo; ossia, il marinajo e lo scienziato”. The
play was first staged in Milan and Bugamelli added quite
a few new characters including Caterina, a maid who once
loved Edmond Dantes in his youth, several friends of his
youth, etc. The play got a slightly new inclination as
Dantes is not only an avenger but also a great scientist
making new discoveries.
Il caso Montecristo (The Monte Cristo case)
Mondadori Publishing House
This psychological novel tells about Gloria, an Italian
young woman who is more or less a prosperous
manufacturer. She was betrayed and found herself in
prison in the mountain where she is reduced to the rank
of animals. In the jail she found a woman, a Sardinian
elderly who helps her to escape. She gets her freedom
and wealth not forgiving her enemies, but also thinking
a lot about vendetta and not realizing it either. The
conclusion is “Neither vendetta not forgiveness”
Il fantasma di Montecristo (Ghost of Monte
Publishing House Mursia
Five young adolescents ( 2 girls and 3 boys) taken by
the storm are brought to the Monte Cristo island where
haunted by the ghost of Edmond Dantes, they trace his
treasure and the mystery that still is on the island.
They actually find the treasure of the Second World War.
Edmond Dantes helps them.
Montecristo : Uomo da abbattere (Monte Cristo :
A man who has to kill an abbott)
Stefano di Marino
Dario Massi is a sleuth. His investigation is cursed.
The high prelate is murdered by some psychopathic
killer. The investigation goes on until the sleuth sees
a shadow with a nymb on which is written: Monte Cristo.
Is it a warning ? A cry from the grave ? The first part
of the trilogy about a modern Monte Cristo.
There are also novels the contents of which is unknown
to me, but I found it necessary to mention them as I
don’t want them to disappear from this world.
I misteri del a’assedio di Parigi - Sequel to Count
Monte Cristo (The mystery of the seige of
L’ultimo dei Montecristo (The last of Monte
The death of Monte Cristo, a play
Lo spettro di Monte Cristo (The ghost of Monte
New York, 2004 - 2009
*Gennady Ulman was born in Odessa,
Ukraine, former USSR, in 1948. After studying English at
University, he practiced several professions such as
translator, interpreter, English teacher and so on. He
emigrated to the USA in 1990 and lives in New York,
where he teaches psychology and English. He wrote many
articles for Russian and French magazines. He now works
on an encyclopedia of adventure writers of the world.
**Note from P. de J.: I, for one,
disagree entirely with this notion. Master and
Margarita is of course a revenge story, but the
fact that the victim and the avenger are two different
persons is enough, by itself, to turn the novel into
something completly different from The count of