Today’s world of literature wouldn’t be the same if it wasn’t for Alexandre Dumas. The son of a well-respected French general, Alexandre Dumas grew up hearing true stories of adventure. These stories served as the inspiration for The Count of Monte Cristo.
The Count of Monte Cristo is among the first novels to combine action and adventure with a historical backdrop. Mature themes, tragic heroes, and the thirst for revenge drive the plot of The Count of Monte Cristo. It has had a profound impact on millions of readers who desperately seek a novel that touches on the same themes.
While The Count of Monte Cristo is one of a kind, there are many books that are similar to it. Alexandre Dumas has influenced countless authors with each of his timeless tales of history and adventure. Before his novels, there weren’t many stories that made history so exciting and wrapped it all up in intrigue.
Since then, however, you can feel Alexandre Dumas’ influence in thousands of books. Follow along as we highlight 20 classic adventure books like The Count of Monte Cristo.
The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas
Alexandre Dumas is as well known for The Three Musketeers as for The Count of Monte Cristo. The protagonist d’Artagnan is relatable and it’s fun to experience his journey from an unprepared young man to a skilled swordsman. There are many tragic elements in this book, but the adventure elements offset them.
Athos, Porthos, and Aramis, the three musketeers, are great characters with lots of depth. Pick this book up online and immerse yourself in the story.
The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy
The Scarlet Pimpernel was originally a stage play, but its incarnation as a novel is what it is best known as. Set during the French revolution, this classic book follows Sir Percy Blakeney as he helps smuggle aristocrats out of the country.
Every great classic adventure book has a memorable villain. Citizen Chauvelin is a ruthless foil to Sir Percy Blakeney, and the tension between them is palpable.
Hamlet by William Shakespeare
Much like The Count of Monte Cristo, William Shakespeare’s Hamlet is a classic revenge tale. The titular hero Hamlet gets sent on a revenge quest by the ghost of his dead father. This story is unique in that it is contemplative and deals with the psychology of revenge.
As Hamlet grapples with the thought of killing his uncle who murdered his father, his uncle hatches a murder plot of his own. You can find Hamlet online here.
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
Charles Dickens has penned some of the best books of all time, and Great Expectations is an undeniable classic. The hero Pip is lovable and sadly naive as to how he is being manipulated. Themes of class, loyalty, and revenge run deep throughout the book.
Charles Dickens does a great job of showing how vengeance and corruption rarely end in a positive way.
The Collector of Lost Things by Jeremy Page
The best classic adventure books often include a journey full of twists and turns. Jeremy Page nailed this trope with The Collector of Lost Things and the backdrop of an arctic setting is quite fun.
The story’s hero, Eliot, finds himself wrapped up in a journey surrounded by people that he can’t necessarily trust. His troubled past is just as thought-provoking as the expedition that he is on. You can pick this book up online.
The Last Cavalier by Alexandre Dumas
The Last Cavalier is among the most thrilling Alexandre Dumas adventure books. Its scope is even bigger than The Count of Monte Cristo. After Count Hector de Sainte-Hermine is set free, he is forced to become a soldier.
As a soldier, he finds himself in dangerous situations serving in Napoleon’s army. His inner turmoil is just as tragic as the battles he is forced to fight.
Les Misérables by Victor Hugo
Victor Hugo is responsible for classics like The Man Who Laughs, but Les Misérables is his masterpiece. Before it was a musical or film, Les Misérables was a tragic novel set during the French Revolution. Jean Valjean is a compelling protagonist who escapes his harsh conviction only to find trouble at every stop.
Javert is a ruthless foil to Jean, and he makes his life harder as he tries to protect Fantine’s daughter. Hugo’s style is quite similar to Dumas, and this book is a true page turner.
The Princess Bride by William Goldman
Long before it was a film, The Princess Bride was a subversive and classic adventure book. It is full of memorable characters like Inigo Montoya, Fezzik, and Vizzini. Inigo’s revenge plot will feel familiar for fans of Alexandre Dumas novels.
Westley is the true hero of the story, however, and his journey to save Buttercup is a great adventure. The Princess Bride is available online.
The Odyssey by Homer
Homer’s The Odyssey is the template for many of the most iconic adventure books. This Greek epic follows the journey of Odysseus as he makes his way back home to Penelope before her suitors can marry her. Because it is a poem, the story is told through a unique structure that keeps the reader invested.
Once you read The Odyssey, you will quickly notice how it has influenced literature.
War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
Set in 1812, War and Peace takes place during France’s Russian invasion. While it has adventure elements, the philosophical themes of War and Peace make this book stand out. Leo Tolstoy paints a picture of how people in power positions make decisions that have horrible repercussions for others.
Full of paradoxes, War and Peace is the kind of book that makes you think. Pick it up online here.
True Grit by Charles Portis
The pairing of Rooster Cogburn and Mattie in True Grit makes for one of the best duos in literature. Mattie sets out on a journey to avenge her father’s death and enlists the help of Rooster. The differences in personality between Rooster and Mattie make this story so charming.
While it has dark themes, True Grit never tips the scales too far to become bleak and depressing. True Grit is worth reading, and you will likely finish it quickly.
The Cask of Amontillado by Edgar Allen Poe
Without revealing too much, The Cask of Amontillado is a subdued adventure that manages to also be one of the best revenge tales. It’s best to read this story without knowing too much about it. However, you can probably guess that the story takes a dark turn considering it was written by Edgar Allen Poe.
The finale of The Cask of Amontillado is shocking and has the same impact upon reading it a second or third time. You can find it online, and it’s worth a quick read.
Scaramouche by Rafael Sabatini
Scaramouche follows the adventures of Andre as he makes the transition from a lawyer to an actor, and all of the craziness that follows. The story gets progressively more scandalous as he eventually finds himself on the run from the law for his involvement in the events leading to the French Revolution.
This book deals with heavy themes and explores how one can change their perspective for the better even if it carries consequences.
Captain Alatriste by Arturo Perez-Reverte
The first installment in a series, Captain Alatriste is a scandalous tale of a man who finds himself entangled in a crazy murder-for-hire plot. This book keeps you guessing until the end, and there are many moments when things don’t go as planned.
The titular protagonist’s military background makes him gritty and complicated. To say more about the plot would spoil some of the mid-novel reveals that make this book so intriguing.
Shogun by James Clavell
Shogun is the rare type of book that does a great job of characters together that would never cross paths under ordinary circumstances. Released in 1975, Shogun follows an English ship captain who winds up involved in Japanese politics.
Captain John Blackthorne gets in over his head after his ship wrecks on Japanese land. This story has everything from romance and politics to adventure and violence. Check this book out online.
Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes
Don Quixote is just as iconic as The Count of Monte Cristo for many reasons. However, the overwhelming theme of believing in yourself and the power of determination are the most impactful elements of this novel. The protagonist, Alonso Quijano, is both lovable and laughable.
It is also an early example of a parody that is self aware of other classic adventure books that came before it. Don Quixote still holds the record for the novel that has sold the most copies.
A Gentleman In Moscow by Amor Towles
Set in 1889, A Gentleman in Moscow tells the story of Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov. The Count becomes the subject of a trial for which he gets sentenced to execution. However, the plot only thickens from there when he is committed to house arrest in a hotel.
Supporting characters like Nina contribute to the humanity of this dark story. A Gentleman In Moscow is available online, and it’s a worthwhile read.
The Black Count by Tom Reiss
Read The Black Count if you want to experience the true story that inspired The Count of Monte Cristo. This book works as a perfect companion piece to The Count of Monte Cristo and other Alexandre Dumas books. It provides a great context to the time in which Alexandre Dumas wrote his classic adventure books.
The Black Count does all of this without resorting to supplying rapid fire facts. This book is so well written that it’s easy to forget that it is nonfiction.
The Discovery of Heaven by Harry Mulisch
Harry Mulisch has written many great books, but none are as profound as The Discovery of Heaven. It is a dark and clever send up of the changes throughout Europe and the world in the 20th century. While it touches on dark themes, it also carries a message of hope and change.
It is split into four parts and each one carries the themes even further culminating in a profound ending that touches on mortality.
The Mysteries of Paris by Eugene Sue
The Mysteries of Paris feels as though it could have been written by Dumas. Eugene Sue’s storytelling in this book makes it easy to make it through the massive page count. It was originally released as a serial and later published as a book.
Rodolphe is an interesting protagonist as he comes from royalty but truly emphathizes with those less fortunate than him. Despite his great heart, many French nobles throughout the story don’t have as much empathy as him. Pick this book up and see how it influenced countless novels that came after it.
Whether it be A Gentleman In Moscow or The Cask of Amontillado, there are many great classic adventure books like The Count of Monte Cristo. Each of the books on this list combine adventure with timeless themes such as corruption, revenge, self-belief, and loyalty. Hopefully, this comprehensive guide helps you find a classic adventure book that will stick with you long after reading it.
What type of literature is The Count of Monte Cristo?
The Count of Monte Cristo is an adventure novel. It can also be classified as a historical fiction or revenge novel.
What was The Count of Monte Cristo inspired by?
The Count of Monte Cristo was inspired by Alexandre Dumas’ father. His father was a general in 18th century France, and his legendary adventures made him a beloved French figure.
What grade reading is The Count of Monte Cristo?
It is typically recommended that you should be at an 8th grade reading level to read The Count of Monte Cristo. The book is dense, involves many characters, and deals with mature themes.
- The 20 Best Classic Books Like The Count of Monte Cristo - February 23, 2023
- Adventure & Action: The 20 Best Books Like Indiana Jones - February 22, 2023
- The 20 Best Fantasy Books Like Howl’s Moving Castle - February 21, 2023