Tuesday, October 13, 2009


Montmorency: Thief, liar, gentleman?

by Eleanor Updale

I had been meaning to read this book for a while, since it sounded so delicious. Suspense, set in the Victorian era, involving a man who was a thief slinking under London by night and a gentleman by day. Would he be found out as one or as the other, and what would he stand to lose?

This first book sets up the series, introducing us to Prisoner 493 and his history, walking us through his time in prison, where he nurses his bitterness and envy towards the upper class and plans his dual life in great detail.

When he is at last released, he begins by setting himself up with the tools, clothes, and lodgings he will need, and the adventure begins. The crimes are not written up in detail, which could become dull and repetitive really quickly. Instead, his plans and what he learns are outlined, his narrow misses and the things he realizes he must change are sprinkled throughout to keep a nice degree of tension, and his progress is notable, but well-paced.

By the end, he finds himself offered a legitimate job of sorts - but one perfectly suited to his skills and parts of his personality, for it is all about deception, sneaking, and the thrill of the narrow escape. This perfectly sets up the next book in the series, too, and closes the door on part of his deception while it opens a new avenue for the same sort of suspense. This neat trick to keep the series fresh doesn't even feel gimmicky, which can be tough to pull off.

It will tell you something of my opinion that having finished the book last night, I went to the teen section today to pick up the rest of the series, bumping the book I had brought to work to start today.

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