Montmorency: Thief, Liar, Gentleman?
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Walmart #: 0439580358
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Hardcover, Orchard, 2004, ISBN# 0439580358
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In Victorian London, after his life is saved by a young physician, a thief utilizes the knowledge he gains in prison and from the scientific lectures he attends as the physician's case study exhibit to create a new, highly successful, double life for himself.In Victorian London, after his life is saved by a young physician, a thief uses the knowledge he gains in prison and from the scientific lectures he attends as the physician's case study exhibit to create a new, highly successful, double life for himself. Publishers Weekly,Updale employs a distinctive, wry voice in this debut novel to launch a series about a convict-turned-gentleman in late 19th-century England. After being paraded around lecture halls by the doctor who saved his life after a near-fatal accident at his capture, the cunning Montmorency develops a taste for the high life and a strategy for attaining it (involving a map of underground sewers, viewed at same lecture halls). The humor arises from the juxtaposition of the fellow's circumstances versus his aspirations. For instance, Montmorency hatches his plan as the prison's chaplain utters the blessing at the conclusion of services: "He would become his own accomplice. His old self would become the servant of his new self. One would live in squalor, the other in style." Updale credibly establishes the prisoner as intelligent and as a quick study in the art of mimicry (taught to him by his cell mate). These two skills enable him to dart between his dual worlds. The author also lays bare the widening dichotomy between the two personae ("Montmorency might have hopes of becoming a gentleman, but Scarper [the alter ego living in squalor] really wasn't a nice man") even as she draws a parallel between the treachery in both the sewers and in the upper echelons of London society. Though there's nary a child in sight, the novel does serve as a fine introduction to the thriller genre, and this first installment (whose ending leaves ample opportunity for more adventures) will likely whet readers' appetites for more. Ages 10-14. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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