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Montmorency #1: Montmorency: Thief, Liar, Gentleman Hardcover – April 1, 2004

4.5 out of 5 stars 44 customer reviews
Book 1 of 5 in the Montmorency Series

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100 Young Adult Books to Read in a Lifetime
100 Young Adult Books to Read in a Lifetime
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Montmorency: thief, liar, gentleman?, a British import from debut author Eleanor Updale, is a smart, stylish antidote to the proliferation of Buffy novelizations masquerading as mysteries these days. In a London cellblock in 1875, career criminal Montmorency is serving time for burglary. Captured while fleeing police, Montmorency suffered several grievous wounds that attract the attention of a brilliant young doctor named Robert Farcett. When Dr. Farcett displays Montmorency's newly healed body before the membership of London's Scientific Society, Montmorency overhears a presentation on the city's new sewer system that will change his life forever. Once released from prison, Montmorency uses his knowledge of the underground tunnels to steal from some of London's wealthiest neighborhoods. But in order to enjoy his new riches, he must assume a dual lifestyle. By day he is Mr. Montmorency, a mysterious opera going gentleman who resides in one of the city's most affluent hotels. By night, he is drain-dwelling Scarper, a smelly character who keeps a room in a dirty boarding house. How long can he keep up this agonizing pretense before someone, perhaps even the good doctor, recognizes his scars and exposes him as a fraud?

Middle school fans of John Bellairs, Lemony Snicket, and Philip Pullman, will delight in plowing through the cliff hanging pages of Montmorency. Updale's prose is clear and plot-driven, full of the kind of fascinating detail about the quirky Victorian thief's dual existence that young mystery readers adore. And, with a sequel coming in 2005, they won't groan too loudly at the wide open, although wholly satisfying ending. (Ages 10 to 14) --Jennifer Hubert

From School Library Journal

Grade 6-10-Cunning criminal mastermind Montmorency used his time in prison to devise the ultimate scheme to relieve the Victorian London upper crust of their prized possessions. Tipped off by a clue he heard while serving as a guinea pig in a medical seminar, Montmorency decides that the ghastly city sewers are his ticket to fame and fortune. And once out of prison, he heads straight below ground where he can enter and leave the apartments of his victims without a trace. Stealing enough goods to buy a room at one of London's poshest hotels, Montmorency discovers that the leisure-filled life he dreams of is finally within reach. Only then can he move to phase two of his plan. He devises an alter ego: Scarper, the sly thief and humble servant of the more esteemed and gentlemanly Montmorency. In true Shakespearean form, the "two" men dive in and out of scenes with astute deftness, duping less fortunate (and sometimes deserving) characters with hilarious aplomb. Peculiarly enough, Updale's seamless historical novel contains no true adolescent characters. Yet the transitional stages of Montmorency's entry into society and evolving sense of self-discovery resemble the paths taken by many famous teen protagonists. Readers will find themselves drawn not only to Montmorency's compellingly bizarre biography, but also to his clever and mischievous nature that eventually leads him to both a realization of his past wrongs and a valid career where he can put his "best" skills to good use.-Hillias J. Martin, New York Public Library
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Product Details

  • Series: Montmorency (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Orchard Books (April 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0439580358
  • ISBN-13: 978-0439580359
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.7 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,637,833 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Hello, and welcome to my author page. I'm Eleanor Updale, and I've been writing books since the turn of the century. My books are suitable for anyone who can cope with a meaty story, and I have readers aged from 9 to 99 and beyond.

2014 is a big year for me. I have several books coming out. The New MONTMORENCY book, MONTMORENCY RETURNS will be available here very soon. It's the fifth book in the Montmorency series of historical novels, and to celebrate its arrival, the four other books have been released in a new edition, to match the new arrival. You can buy them only on Amazon, to download on Kindle, or as paperbacks. They have better paper, better print, and better covers than ever.
You don't have to read the books in the right order, but it's best if you do. Here's the list:
1. MONTMORENCY - Look for the top hat on the cover, on a purple background.
ISBN: 978-1482657661
2. MONTMORENCY ON THE ROCKS - Look for the Scottish island on the cover, on a red background. ISBN: 978-1482657609
3. MONTMORENCY AND THE ASSASSINS - Look for the X-ray on the cover, on a blue background.
ISBN: 978-1482657692
4. MONTMORENCY'S REVENGE - Look for the fire on the cover, on a gold background.
ISBN: 978-1482657623
5. MONTMORENCY RETURNS - Look for handwriting on the cover, on a green background.
No ISBN number yet.

If the right edition doesn't come up straight away on Amazon, try entering the ISBN number, and the newest version should pop up.

Meanwhile, THE LAST MINUTE is coming out in paperback, there's a new book for the very young called ITCH SCRITCH SCRATCH (about head lice), and later this spring an new edition of SAVED.
There are also international editions of most of the books, including JOHNNY SWANSON, in languages varying from French, German and Spanish to Chinese and Japanese.

I have won several prizes on both sides of the Atlantic, including the Blue Peter Prize for The Book I Couldn't Put Down, the Silver Smarties Prize, and the Fantastic Book award. I have been long and shortlisted for many others, including the Carnegie Medal and the Guardian Prize. You can read more about me at my website www.eIeanorupdale.com You can also find my blogs on The History Girls site: http://the-history-girls.blogspot.co.uk or at http://dfb.randomhousechildrens.co.uk/blog

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Montmorency is a difficult book to explain as it's not a typical young reader book.

Taking place in the late 1800's, Montmorency is the psuedynom of a jailed thief recovering from injuries obtained during his bungled last job. As he heals from radical -- and groundbreaking -- surgeries, he formulates a plan to become a master thief.

After his release, he puts his careful plan into place. During the day, he is Montmorency, a gentlemen with a penchant for fashion and opera. At night, he's Scarper, a thief who scurries through the sewers of London, robbing the very wealthy. His plan is thorough and complete. However, the more he enjoys his role as Montmorency, the less he enjoys his part as Scarper. Finally, he's given an out: a way to leave Scarper behind and still make a living in the role of Montmorency with a chance for societal respect.

This is not necessarily a linear story: it's more of a character study. We agonize with Montmorency as he again and again goes over his plans. We suffer with him during his last days in prison and his re-working of the plan. Finally, we cheer him as he slowly drags himself out of the life of Scarper and into the life of a gentlemen.

The vocabulary and the themes are better suited for more mature readers and the book serves as an excellent bridge into teen reading. Once you've read Montmorency, you'll want to read the rest in the series (four so far...).
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Format: Hardcover
I reluctantly picked up this book from the library, as its weird plot made me unsure of whether Ms. Updale could pull it off. But, as my rating tells you, she did! The plot is this: A petty thief falls through a roof when running from the police. Lucky for him, a doctor who is in bad need of some nation-wide acclaim decided to attempt to 'fix' the thief's broken body, almost like sewing this man together again. Needless to say, it works. The thief is named 'Montmorency' and thrown into jail, with frequent visits to the doctor's for further repair. The doctor then shows him off at science conventions and things like that. Montmorency gets tired of being shown off like this, and wants to have a new lifestyle. He finds his answer in the newly made London sewer systems. These are what he uses to navigate his way around England, preforming brilliant burglaries of various shops. But Montmorency needs an accomplice, and he later decides on who the lucky man is to be - himself! He takes on a double identity- Montmorency, the wealthy gentleman, and Scarper, his dirty servant-all while preforming these thefts. Can he keep his secret and live two lives?

This is a captivating, wonderful book. Its plot is quirky without being too quirky. Montmorency is a brilliant, fun character. I simply couldn't put this book down; it held my attention and didn't let go. I strongly recommend this book to everyone. Go pick it up!
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A Kid's Review on February 24, 2006
Format: Paperback
Montmorency is an exciting book that makes you want to keep reading.

When the book starts, Montmorency is running across rooftops and running away from the terror that he has feared for so long; he is afraid that he will now know what it is like in there. One year later waiting in prison, barely able to move, Montmorency meets a new cellmate. His name is Freakshow. Montmorency learns a lot from his newfound friend; most will be quite useful. A few days later Montmorency is free from prison and uses the tools that he learned from Freakshow in thievery.

Montmorency loves thievery and the excitement behind stealing other people's belongings. But Montmorency wants to change his life to avoid going to prison again. Because he wants to change his life so that he doesn't get caught, but still loves to steal, he finds knew ways to avoid being seen when stealing. Montmorency is again drawn to stealing because of the hidden passages, the sewer system under the city, that he has found and the excitement stays with him.

Even though Montmorency used the hidden passage as a way to not be seen, he had trouble in them as well. Montmorency had to watch his back when thieving because there could have been other people around, but he also needed to be careful during storms. Along the way of stealing, Montmorency gets to know people that could help him get away from the thievery way of life. Now it's up to you to see where Montmorency's life will lead him.

My opinion of this book is that it is a great book for people who like mystery and suspense when reading. I loved this book because of that exact reason. I liked how the author created the characters and brought them to life.
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Format: Hardcover
Montmorency is a thrilling novel filled with twists and turns about a very versatile criminal. Montmorency is set in the Victorian age in London, England, and was written by Eleanor Updale. Montmorency is the name given to this elusive criminal by the police after he fell through a skylight of a factory and was mashed up by a machine while trying to evade the police. During his time in prison, he became a new experimental toy for an up and coming doctor named Dr. Farcett. Farcett takes care of Montmorency and his work led Montmorency to a full recovery. While in prison Montmorency develops a new plan for his life as a thief, and devises new and exciting ways to get in and out of places leaving Scotland Yard scratching its head in dismay. I recommend this book for anyone above the age of 13, and I hope that you will enjoy this thrilling novel.

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