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Montmorency: Thief, Liar, Gentleman? (Montmorency #1)

3.82 of 5 stars 3.82  ·  rating details  ·  2,788 ratings  ·  348 reviews
When a petty thief falls through a glass roof while fleeing from the police, it should have been the death of him. Instead, it marks the beginning of a whole new life. Soon he has become the most successful -- and elusive -- burglar in Victorian London, plotting daring raids and using London's new sewer system to escape. He adopts a dual existence to fit his new lifestyle, ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published May 1st 2006 by Scholastic (first published January 1st 2003)
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Community Reviews

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Hrmph. I don't know what I think, Goodreads. There were times when this book really seemed to be verging on something bigger than itself, and I kind of wish Updale had just gone for it. We catch hints of a psychological struggle between Montmorency and his alter-ego, Scarper...and I wanted to know more about that. It was at times as if the main character could not remember that he was both Montmorency AND Scarper, and I wanted to know why that was. But rather than an in-depth survey of the inner ...more
An interesting juvenile book--there are no children/young adult characters in it.

This is the story of Montmorency, a criminal who slowly goes straight. Montmorency (not even the protagonist's real name; the reader is never told what it is or where he came from) was in a horrible accident (fell through a skylight), which resulted in his arrest and incarceration. A young, ambitious doctor treats Montmorency and then shows him off to the Scientific Society, where Montmorency learns about the extens
April Helms
Jan 04, 2008 April Helms rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: young adults (11+) and adults
Shelves: fiction, young-adult
The Montmorency books are a must-read for anyone who likes Victorian-era style mystery.

A small-time crook is given a new lease on life by an ambitious doctor after a near-fatal fall during a break-in. Now he has learned to navigate the sewer systems to enhance his life of crime, and has created two personalities for himself. But what happens when his two sides start disagreeing with each other? The story is told from the point of view of “Montmorency,” a petty thief with more smarts than he kno
Lady Knight
This was one of my favorite books when I was in high school, and reading it now over two years later, I have to say that it has lost none of its magic! Eleanor Updale does a great job presenting Victorian England and with short chapters and to the point storytelling this will be a winner with anyone over the age of 12!

Prisoner 493 was caught burgling a factory in the 19th c. After a horrific fall during the chase, Prisoner 493 (dubbed Montmorency during his trial) receives the care of Doctor Far
I'm tired of writing negative reviews. For the past couple of months, all the books I've been reading have been medicore at best. No more indie books for me.

Montmorency. Reads like a Young Adult book but was not written to BE a Y.A. which I see as a failing. The story was too basic and easy. Montmorency is a theif that got caught and was badly injured. We have no back story what so ever on this character, nothing. Just that they call him Montmorency and that he has severe scars on his body.

“Montmorency” by Eleanor Updale was a decent book. There were some parts that were pretty unbelievable and some that made a lot more sense, but they went well together.

Montmorency was a thief in London, and he was a pretty good one too. Up until he fell through a ceiling while being chased, he had never been arrested. During the fall, he had sustained injuries that could have ended his life, if not for a doctor who wanted to take on the project. His name was Robert Farcett, and he was Montmorenc
Let me first clarify that the real rating I want to give this one is 2.5 stars. I did like it, but well... Okay let me explain.

Montmorency has such a fascinating premise. The concept is fascinating. A petty thief who goes from a life of crime to becoming a gentlemen? Yes please! It's clear the author knows her stuff when it comes to the Victorian Era, which was impressive, and I can now say I know more about the Victorian Sewage System than I ever intended to, but it made it all the more real an
Chris Bancells

Updale, E. (2004) Montmorency: thief, liar, gentleman? New York: Orchard Books.

Historical Fiction


Selection tools consulted: School Library Journal, WorldCat


Without question, this novel's titular character is a thief and a liar. The question which ultimately consumes him, however, is whether or not he can transform himself into a gentleman. Prior to the novel's opening, Montmorency is a talented and rising thief in Victorian London. When a job goes bad, and he falls thr
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I highly enjoyed this book. It was a wonderful little surprise, and I'm still in that happy after-book feeling. I picked it up awhile ago on one of my book hunts, maybe Goodwill, maybe a library sale, don't remember. But after the disappointment of the last book I just read, I was wanting something that I could breeze through, that wouldn't be overly dramatic or complicated. This one caught my eye, and I started reading. Right away I was intrigued by the character, Montmorency. I grew to be very ...more
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Jun 01, 2009 lianna rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People who are bored
Remember that rule? You know the one that told us not to judge a book by it's cover? Bear that in mind as you look at this. The cover of Monmorency: Thief, Liar, Gentleman? makes it look great, maybe even dark and thrilling. Is it really? No.

When I first saw this book in the library of my school I picked it up quickly, hiding it from others. I called over my friend and we decided to read it for our book report. It looked good. The summary was fine. The cover was great. And what other choices do
What a nice story! I know that "nice" isn't exactly effusive but "delightful" is a bit too much.

There was a bit of history in the painting of the setting that was interesting. But really the thing that bumped this book up in my esteem was the main character's story arc. He moved from thief to gentleman in a believable way. (The subtitle of the book is "thief liar gentleman," so that isn't a spoiler).

Montmorency didn't change all at once. His gradual change of morals and values happened at a pace
When I saw this book at a school book fair, the $2 sale sticker should have warned me. But whoever wrote the summary on the back of the book did an absolutely stellar job. Mystery, a gothic mood, a thief who assumes a new identity after a doctor sews his broken body back together - it seemed the perfect plot. If only the person who'd written the summary had written the rest of the book.

I found a copy left out in my English class, and proceeded to write its owner a letter for them to find when th
Oct 16, 2007 Decendant_of_Darkness rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone
Imagine if you were a thief who hasn't been caught once while stealing. And one day you just happen to fall and almost die. Would you quit steeling, or after you were done with your jail sentence get two identities? And continue steeling and living rich at the same time. Well this is what happens in the book Montmorency thief liar gentleman, by Eleanor Updale. In which the main character, which goes by many names and, which you will have to read it to find out why, lives a double life. One as Sc ...more
Of course, I always round up, so a 3.5 becomes a 4.

I guess the four depends on how you put the emphasis on "really." I REALLY liked it versus, yeah... I really liked it. ...

As you're reading this, I know you're thinking... "great another review that says nothing about the book, but only about the goodreads star rating system." Whatever, we've all been there.

Montmorency was a good quick book. Part Jekyll and Hyde, part Prince and the Pauper part a bunch of other stuff...

I could have some criticis
Hyunkyu Choi
The book Montmorency truly shows the life of living as two different people. Eleanor Updale does this by using a character who was originally a thief but changed his social status into a rich gentleman. It is interesting to see the character being Scarper, a boorish servant, and switch into Montmorency, a rich, sophisticated gentleman. This book touches on social change and having two different personalities.
Theft has always been something immoral, and we have never acknowledged a person for b
Sergei Antonovich
“Thief, Liar, Gentleman?”, the question scrawled across the cover, accurately describes this book, an exploration of change—change of lifestyle, certainly, but also a more troubling, deeper change. As Montmorency, after a life-changing, near-death experience, recovers and begins this new stage, he questions his true identity as habits, friends, and ethics change.
Montmorency is definitely a well-written, put together book, but there is room for improvement. There are a few sections that could be
Sherwood Smith
This is sfnal only in feel—the Victorian passion for scientific endeavor, often carried out on people who were not consulted. Like the jailbird who was near death, operated on, his progress exposed to the Faculty. He reinvents himself as Montmorency, gentleman thief, and becomes his own sidekick, the crude, and cruel, Scamper. How he does this, what the Victorian world was like (particularly the new sewers) and what happens was a wonderful read. Delicious writing, with brilliant detail.
Montmorency, a petty thief in Victorian England, is badly injured and then caught by the police, but his time recuperating in jail is the beginning of a whole new life for prisoner #493.

Montmorency is a light and fun read: the prisoner uses the knowledge he gained in prison to develop a new life of crime, complete with two personas, that of a rich man and his loathsome servant, to pull it off. Readers will be pulling for Montmorency and will want to dive into the sequels.
Arjun P
In the book Montmorency, Thief?, Liar?, Gentleman? by Eleanor Updale, the theme of the book is improving yourself using your work. The reader learns how to tackle their problems not just let it control them. The time period of the book is the Victorian era of Europe, and the place this book takes place is old London. The books specific setting changes a lot from the prison to his house to places he is robbing. The book follows Montmorency or Scarper and how he leads a double life from a criminal ...more
Aug 22, 2007 Amanda rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: action/historical fiction lovers
My mom picked up this book for me at a book fair a few years ago. I read it and really enjoyed it. I saw it on my bookshelf the other day and read it through again.

The characters in the book are really intriguing. I loved following the story of Montmorency, also known as Scarper, through his life of crime and his rise to the upper social class.

The plot is a thriller and very unpredictable. I highly recommend this book!
I picked up an advance copy of the fourth book in this series for about a dollar at an entomological gathering. Obviously, I can't start the series that way, so I borrowed the first one from the library. The cover looked neat and it looked short enough. At long last, I read it.

And was not impressed.

It's hard to organize my thoughts, but I'll try.

Mostly, this book read like a Mary Sue story. Like the author thought to herself, "I'd like to make a mysterious handsome man who is dangerous...and exc
Really dry YA fiction. I might have enjoyed this book more if there was even one likeable character in it. Every character seems one-dimensional and after reading hundreds of books about this time period and Englishmen with their men's clubs, I found that Montmorency fell pretty flat. Also, I am continually amazed when I read books that have negative-zero female characters...especially considering they are written by women!
Ms. Pansulla
Stephen Fry's narration is pitch-perfect in this Victorian-era tale of a street thief's rise from convict to society gentleman, and his performance was the main reason I was so excited to give this a listen; it didn't disappoint. Fry gives unique, lively voice to every character, and his dry, subtle, humor imparts every speck of the plentiful irony and sarcasm from the text. The story begins with Montmorency behind bars, recovering from a catastrophic accident during a routine burglary with the ...more
This is a very exciting, very interesting book. The plot is great. The only real problem is the characters. You don't get to know any of them, not even Montmorency himself, very well. Of course, that's part of his appeal. He's mysterious. Still, the plot zips right along, so it didn't bother me too much. I'm very glad to hear there are more books, and I will definitely check them out.
[Name Redacted]
A fun, quick story about a petty criminal who winds up in jail and decides to make something of himself -- that something is, of course, a master criminal. I think the elements which stood out most for me were the inglorious and decidedly un-glamorous means by which "Montmorency" secures his wealth, coupled with his mounting dissociative identity disorder. Good, light reading.
Casey Neal
This was a pretty good book, I liked it as it showed the authors ability to have characters grow and change. Montmorency goes from a complete thieving liar who holds little regard to most people, to a gentleman who actually cares about most other characters. I think the deeper meaning is: if you are a scumbag, and you do scumbag things for you scumbag money, then do something cool with your scumbag money instead of relishing in all your scumbag glory (drinking game: drink for each time Montmoren ...more
Debby Zigenis-Lowery
This was an very good book. In the beginning, the protagonist, gravely injured from his capture, is in a London prison for robbery. He had enjoyed his life of thievery and plots to return to it after his release. In the process of his plotting, he learns of London's new sewer system, the novel takes place in the late 1800's, and plans an elaborate new life for himself pulling off high value heists and living a life of luxury. While his ambitions are not exactly admirable, Montmorency is a fascin ...more
This was a fun little book that I hadn't realized was meant to be for children until I actually bought it at the bookstore. The main character is a convict who, once released, leads a double life as one of London's elite and his own servant. A very fast and enjoyable read. I'll be picking up the sequel when I can.
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The Ultimate Teen...: Montmorency - Eleanor Updale 2 1 Jul 05, 2014 06:02AM  
What happened to this series? 2 16 Jul 28, 2013 01:56PM  
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Eleanor Updale studied history at St. Anne's College, Oxford, before becoming a producer of TV and radio current affairs programmes for the BBC. Her first children's novel, Montmorency, won the Silver Smarties Prize and the Medway Book Award.
More about Eleanor Updale...

Other Books in the Series

Montmorency (4 books)
  • Montmorency On The Rocks: Doctor, Aristocrat, Murderer? (Montmorency, #2)
  • Montmorency and the Assassins: Master, Criminal, Spy? (Montmorency, #3)
  • Montmorency's Revenge (Montmorency #4)
Montmorency On The Rocks: Doctor, Aristocrat, Murderer? (Montmorency, #2) Montmorency and the Assassins: Master, Criminal, Spy? (Montmorency, #3) Montmorency's Revenge (Montmorency #4) Johnny Swanson The Last Minute

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