Keenan Norris, the young writer whose first novel "Brother and the Dancer" is stirring some talk of a "brilliant new voice" in fiction, has set his sights fairly high with his own reading list. Shortly after finishing an early work of Cormac McCarthy's, "Suttree," a semi-autobiographical novel published in 1979, he turned his attention to the 2013 Pulitzer Prize winner in biography. "The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo" (Crown Publishers, $27, 414 pages) by Tom Reiss, is the account of the real-life adventures of Gen. Alex Dumas, the son of an aristocratic father and a black slave mother who became a revered and feared military commander -- and a rival of Napoleon's -- in late 18th-century France. His own son Alexandre, who was but 4 when he died, used his father's exploits as inspiration for both "The Count of Monte Cristo" and "The Three Musketeers."

-- Staff

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