A lot of boys in my class were reading this series, and just to stay on top of things, I read it. Wow. I liked it a lot. Its a lengthy book, but don't let that scare you away. (FYI You will want to read Montmorency: Thief Liar Gentleman? first to get a grasp of the plot. However, Eleanor Updale does a nice job of explaining the plot to newcomers)
Montmorency has a problem. He is addicted to a drug that threatens to ruin his life. Worse still, Scarper is back. Who is Scarper? Montmorency's alter ego. Scarper would run through the sewers and steal things while Montmorency lived the high life. One man, double identities. Worst still, Montmorency let another man die for his crimes, and he lives with that every day. But, worst of all, Montmorency has breathed a word of this to his closest friend, Lord George Fox- Selwyn. Finally, things get so bad that Fox-Selwyn takes Montmorency to his personal physician. However, Fox-Selwyn doesn't know that with his personal physician, lives a bit of Montmorency's past.
The physician is Montmorency's prison doctor, Dr. Robert Farcett. Montmorency was a crook, and one fall througha skylight later, was in prison. Dr. Farcett pieced him together, every broken part, but it was partially for his own personal gain. Finally, Montmorency was out of prison, and never made contact again.
But Dr. Farcett has his own problems, he was doing an operation in public, and he made a fatal error. He publically shamed himself by killing his patient. He goes into a a deep depression.
When Fox-Selwyn puts the two together, they agree to help each other. Surprisingly, Montmorency doesn't hold a grudge against the doctor for operating on him in public, and humiliating him. All he can say is that this man "saved his life". So, the doctor and Montmoreny agree to work together, and owe each other everything. Montmorency makes a slow recovery off the drug, and the doctor decides that the public needs him.
After the recovery of both men, there are various problems that need solving.
There is an island called Tarimond, where all the babies are dying. Why? Is it the priest, who makes the public fearfully afraid, or the kind old nurse? Will Dr. Farcett discover the murderer?
Also, a mysterious bomber is trying to kill a paticular someone in politics. A girl from Montmorency's past, Vi, comes to help Montmorency and Fox-Selwyn catch the bomber. Is Montmorency falling in love?
And finally, will Fox-Selwyn forgive Montmorency for letting another man die for his crimes, or is it too much? Read to find out!
Some parts of this book are a little gross (eg Montmorency can't get up from the drug and urinates on the bed, the nurse Maggie helps a mother give birth, Vi and Montmorency walk through sewers) but overall it is a worthy read. The book moves slowly at first, more for some than others, because you build up with anticipation for when Montmorency and Dr.Farcett will meet. But, the best parts come towards the end, making you read it straight through until you're done. I remember my mom telling me to turn my lights out with 50 pages left. It was pure agony to sleep that night. You fall in love with Vi, going from peasant to princess, and you can't wait until the end. Just when you think there are no surprises, Eleanor Updale throws one at you on the last page. So get ready to read, and makesure you have plenty of time, because this one is a page-turner!