The Stars’ Tennis Balls by Stephen Fry is based on the novel The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas but in this novel Fry places his characters in the age of the internet.
The main character, Ned Maddstone is a boy of seventeen and he is the kind of boy who has everything in life. He is handsome, very good at sports and of course he is in love with a girl called Portia. But his life is about to change dramatically.
One day Ned finds the diary of his friend Ashley Barson-Garland and reads part of it, and discovers that Ashley hates his past, and his working class origins. Ashley notices that Ned has read his diary and then, with the help of two others takes revenge. The two others are Rufus Cade who is jealous of Ned’s success, and Portia’s cousin, Gordon Fendeman, who hates Ned too because he is also in love with Portia.
They get Ned arrested for possession of marijuana, and when he is arrested he has in his pocket an envelope which had been given to him by a school teacher and this envelope has in it a top secret message from the Irish Republican Army. When Ned is interrogated by Oliver Delft, a member of the secret services, Ted tells him that the address where he has to deliver the envelope is in Delft’s mother house. Delft’s darkest secret could be revealed. Then he decides that Maddstone must disappear.
He beats him, gives him drugs and takes him to a hospital on a remote Island off the coast of Sweden. A doctor called Mallo tries to brain-wash him by telling him that Ned Maddstone doesn’t exist. But one day he meets another prisoner called Babe and he starts to believe again that he is Ned Maddstone. Before Babe dies, he tells Ned the way to escape from the Island. Ned escapes from the hospital in Babe’s coffin and goes to Switzerland, where he goes to a bank and asks for a bank account that Babe had given to him. Then he discovers that he has a vast fortune.
Changing his identity, he returns to England and then he starts his revenge.
This is a very interesting novel in which we can see aspects of the real life, jealousy, envy, people who hate other people because they want to have the same things but they can’t. In conclusion, a fiction novel that could be a real story nowadays.