Saturday, April 26, 2008

Montmorency thief liar gentleman? By Eleanor Updale

While serving time in a London cell block, career criminal Montmorency and his severe wounds attract the attention of a brilliant young doctor named Robert Farcett. A series of operations by the doctor convert the thief into more of a living illustration than a man with feelings.

Brought before large groups of people by the doctor to show off his fine work and discovery about the human body, Montmorency overhears many interesting conversations which eventually lead him to the information he will need to survive once he is released from prison, and allows him to hatch his idea for new thievery by using the underground sewer system in London. But in the vein of Jekyll and Hyde, Montmorency quickly realizes he must have two separate and distinct personas if he is to survive. Therefore, Scarper is given to a life of thievery, lies, and scavaging the sewers, and Mr. Montmorency is born to a life of aristocracy, affluence, and the social world of Victorian London.

I read this book aloud to a class of 9th graders, and although they were hooked at the beginning, the story became too slow for them to listen to. Several students finished the book on their own and liked it that way. There are some rather interesting descriptions of what can be found in the London sewers that readers might want to be forewarned about.

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