Tuesday, February 23, 2016
Montmorency: Thief, Liar, Gentleman? by Eleanor Updale
This book is the first in series, and I gave it a rating of four out of five, although I'm not real sure how much it will appeal to my sixth graders. A criminal is seriously injured while committing a burglary, and a doctor uses experimental surgical procedures to make him healthy. Upon his release from prison, he takes on two identities. He becomes Scarper, the thief, and successfully robs many homes and businesses while using the London sewer system for his escapes. He uses the money from his thefts to become Montmorency, a respectable and cultured member of society. He has many close calls as he tries to elude the police and maintain the secrecy of his two identities.
The plot is unique, although it may not have enough action for my students. I'm also not sure if they'll be able to connect with Montmorency's character, since he's a member of high society. Scarper's character is less complex, and he's mostly a common thief. Both identities have internal conflicts as there is some remorse for his cellmate who is executed for Scarper's crimes. I wasn't sure where the plot would end, but Montmorency does some work for the government near the end of the book. I assume this will be the basis for the plots in the sequels.