I first read the Bantam abridged Monte Cristo when I was 13 years old. Then, the next year, I saw the unabridged version and immediately bought a copy. Monte Cristo is an absolutely wonderful and wonderfully written masterpiece that tells the story of a young man that could be any of several people that you and I know. It is a story of injustice, despair, remorse, cruelty, misfortune, and evil. However, at the same time, the book manages to show that in the seemingly rotten world we live in there is hope, charity, love, honor, and purity as well. Edmond is one of the greatest dynamic characters of all time, innocently sent to face punishment that he in no way deserves. While enduring this unjust punishment, he meets a man and they become friends. Edmond learns from this man that everyone acts according to their own standards, and that everyone will eventually receive reward for the actions or crimes that they have committed, whether that reward be payment for honest living or pain in reparation for hardships forced upon others. Edmond then becomes that reparation, rewarding those that were his true friends, and exacting revenge upon those that caused him pain. A wonderful story, with excellent characters and an intricate plot. I would recommend this book for anyone that wants to laugh, cry, and triumph with a single character and his struggles. As the title states, this is one of my favorite books of all time, the only other that really compares with it is Victor Hugo's Les Miserables.