It's a nifty concept. However, the length and complexity of the orginal Count of Monte Cristo is a hindrance to commentary, I felt; because some events in the original novel had to be compressed and explained to the reader, a great deal of plot impetus was lost. I felt more as if I was reading a collection of commentaries on The Count of Monte Cristo rather than a single novel. I'm not sure how this could have been avoided, or even if it should have been.
My favorite part of Gale's novel was the story of the Nubian slave Ali and the Greek Haydée, daughter of Ali Pasha and now also a slave. Minor characters in the original, Gale gives them their own story. Haydée acts on her erotic desires more than once, until she finally achieves what she wants. Notably, in the original novel Ali is mute, having had his tongue cut out; in Gale's version, his voice is literally returned to him; he explains he has kept silent for years as part of a debt of honor.
A very interesting read.