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

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  3,426 Ratings  ·  415 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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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
April Helms
Dec 21, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  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
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
Jul 02, 2014 rated it liked it
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
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.

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
Jun 29, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: genre-fiction
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!
Jul 24, 2016 rated it it was ok
This was probably a YA book. It concerned a ex con who becomes a cat burglar using the sewers of London as his secret escape route. A book about a cat burglar who became a scat burglar.
Mar 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars. This may be the strangest, most amoral, least trope-ridden (yet based on the prison to society imposter trope) YA novel I've ever read. I couldn't stop listening even though the plot never really went anywhere. The closest feel I have for this book is the superhero origin story, which is supposed to be meaningful and deep and provide shape to the character, but never does since its vignettes always seem to lack stakes (even when we know uncle Ben is going to die or Krypton will explod ...more
Apr 17, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobook, historical
3.5 stars. I truly enjoyed this story. I'm actually thinking of reading the next in the series. Stephen Fry made the audio fabulous.
May 13, 2015 rated it liked it
“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
Nathan Togstad
Feb 18, 2016 rated it liked it

Personal response: Montmorency was a book of a man with nothing to lose. He was basically dead, then he was given a second chance. He made plans and was going to execute them when he left the prison. When he was released, he found that everything was harder in real life. This book shows that the reader can overcome anything if you set your mind to it. It also displays the fact that people can, and will change over time.

Plot: Montmorency was in a terrible accident. He fell through a roof runnin
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
Sep 27, 2013 rated it did not like it
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.

-Prisoners in a gritty Victorian chain gang literally take up the chorus of "4-2-3, wee-wee-dee." *facepalm* (p
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
Jun 01, 2009 rated it did not like it
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
Mar 21, 2009 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 08, 2007 rated it really liked it
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
Aug 17, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 04, 2010 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 22, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult
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
Nathan Procopio
Sep 11, 2015 rated it liked it
Overall this book is pretty good. It's fairy fast paced so it kept me interested and I didn't find myself skipping parts because they were boring. Full of action it is a good read for anyone who likes books set in the past but have lots going on and aren't historical but tell interesting stories. I liked that this book kept me interested and made me want to read the others in the series. The author does a good job of grabbing the reader and keeping them interested in what is happening. The chara ...more
Aug 22, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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!
Sep 28, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: humorous, bbya, historical
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.
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.
Apr 14, 2007 rated it really liked it
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.
Feb 04, 2010 rated it really liked it
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]
Oct 15, 2010 rated it liked it
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.
Feb 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, young-adult
I hadn't had so much fun reading a book in a long time.

Brought me back to the stories of my childhood, like Dumas' The count of Montecristo, Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes, Oscar Wilde's Dorian Gray.

Compulsive reading.

Don't miss.
Aug 22, 2007 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book when I first read it and I loved it again listening to the audiobook (done by Stephen Fry, who is marvelous. I wish I could hear his version of the Harry Potter tapes). Montmorency is one of my favorite series and I strongly recommend it to teens and adults.
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The Ultimate Teen...: Montmorency - Eleanor Updale 2 1 Jul 05, 2014 03:02PM  
What happened to this series? 2 17 Jul 28, 2013 10:56PM  
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  • Pagan's Crusade (Pagan Chronicles, #1)
  • The Extraordinary and Unusual Adventures of Horatio Lyle (Horatio Lyle, #1)
  • The Ravenmaster's Secret: Escape From The Tower Of London
  • The Case of the Left-Handed Lady (Enola Holmes, #2)
  • The Traitors' Gate
  • The Falconer's Knot: A Story of Friars, Flirtation and Foul Play
  • Shakespeare's Scribe (Shakespeare Stealer, #2)
  • Death Cloud (Young Sherlock Holmes, #1)
  • Blood Red Horse (The de Granville Trilogy, #1)
  • The Tin Princess (Sally Lockhart, #4)
  • The Body at the Tower (The Agency, #2)
  • Mimus
  • The Prisoner of Zenda & Rupert of Hentzau
  • Queen's Own Fool (Stuart Quartet, #1)
  • Framed! (Traces, #1)
  • B for Buster
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)
“The pain woke him again. Not the constant throb that was so familiar he could hardly remember being without it. This was one of those sharp stabs from the wound along his thigh.” 0 likes
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