Edmond Dantes, and his many identities, traverses the world in this whirlwind of a sequel.
Edmond Dantes, the Count of Monte Cristo, Sultan of Monte Cristo, Sinbad the Sailor, Sultan of Albania. Each of these is the same man, originally known as Edmond Dantes from Alexander Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo. The Holy Ghost Writer (That Girl Started Her Own Country, 2012) begins this sequel with Dantes (first introduced in the series as Sinbad the Sailor), who’s struggling with an identity crisis. He can’t determine whether he must let go of his previous lives as Edmond and the Count in order to move forward. Not only does he quickly decide to accept all his identities, he decides to create new ones. As Sinbad, he marries Haydee, previously a slave in Dumas’ book, and declares himself the Sultan of Albania. His escapades continue when he returns to Paris and reunites with Mercedes, his first love. It’s evident that their love for one another remains. Dantes courts Mercedes before proposing to her, asking that she be his second wife in his harem in Albania. Dantes continues his journey as the Sultan of Albania and encounters Raymee, daughter of Abram. Abram is in the midst of negotiating the marriage of Raymee to the caliph of Mecca. Raymee is a brazen and strong-willed woman with enchanting violet eyes. She’s resistant to becoming the caliph’s wife for fear of losing her independence, so she requests the Sultan of Albania’s help to resolve her crisis. Dantes’ adventure is fast-moving—the reader must jump from scene to scene and country to country to keep pace. These scenes, however, are thin in detail. The hero brushes aside any hint of conflict or obstacle. The characters, upon introduction, quickly fall into one of two categories: good or bad. Each character either relies heavily on the development from the previous novel or is two-dimensional. The narrative seems to borrow too much from previous works of fiction; it doesn’t sufficiently forge its own identity.
This slim sequel with flimsy characters makes for a quick, easy read.