It is one of the author's most popular works, along with The Three Musketeers. Like many of his novels, it is expanded from plot outlines suggested by his collaborating ghostwriter Auguste Maquet. The story takes place in France, Italy, and islands in the Mediterranean during the historical events of 1815–1839: the era of the Bourbon Restoration through the reign of Louis-Philippe of France. It begins just before the Hundred Days period when Napoleon returned to power after his exile. The historical setting is a fundamental element of the book, an adventure story primarily concerned with themes of hope, justice, vengeance, mercy, and forgiveness. It centres around a man who is wrongfully imprisoned, escapes from jail, acquires a fortune, and sets about getting revenge on those responsible for his imprisonment. However, his plans have devastating consequences for the innocent as well as the guilty. In addition, it is a story that involves romance, loyalty, betrayal, and selfishness, shown throughout the story as characters slowly reveal their true inner nature. The book is considered a literary classic today. According to Luc Sante, "The Count of Monte Cristo has become a fixture of Western civilization's literature, as inescapable and immediately identifiable as Mickey Mouse, Noah's flood, and the story of Little Red Riding Hood."