Friday, November 14, 2008

Review: Montmorency

Montmorency: Thief, Liar, Gentleman by Eleanor Updale

Grievously injured after falling through a skylight while fleeing police, a man known simply a Prisoner 493 has gained a second chance at life. A young and ambitious doctor named Doctor Farcett is eager to try and repair 493’s body, using surgical methods that are revolutionary in Victorian medicine. Farcett succeeds in saving his life, and uses Prisoner 493 as his promotion to the other learned gentlemen of The Scientific Society.

It is there that 493 learns about Victorian London’s new sewer system, an organization that hatches a brilliant plan. Once he is finally released from jail, 493 sheds his life of petty thievery, determined to use the sewers to help him escape his formally dismal existence.

After a few extremely successful jewelry thefts, 493 takes up residence as Montmorency, a highly refined gentleman who has taken rooms at the Meriman hotel in downtown London. By nights he still acts as Scarper, his manservant and accomplice in crime, still using the sewers to brilliantly execute his plan. But Montmorency’s new life is proving to be filled with it’s own set of difficulties, and it will only take one mistake for both of his lives to come crashing down around him.

Although it seems to have a simple appearance on the surface, Montmorency was nevertheless an enjoyable book. The narration is provided by alternatively following Scarper and Montmorency, a fact that I enjoyed, but may confuse younger readers. The plot manages to drop several surprises throughout the context of the book, enough to keep it moving at a pace that is still interesting while still exploring the setting fully. I enjoyed the thief-turned-gentleman idea, and I will definitely be picking up the sequels (when I get time anyway!).

Shady Glade Rating: 8/10

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