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Literature / Montmorency

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"Montmorency had the answer: He would become his own accomplice. His old self would become the servant to his new self."

Montmorency is a historical fiction series written by Eleanor Updale, set in Victorian England. When a thief gets into a nasty accident with a glass rooftop while trying to flee from the police who caught him robbing a house, a kind doctor named Farcett performs surgery on him and saves his life. In return, the thief is forced to serve as a practice dummy during weekly sessions at an open house, facing prejudice and mockery from the other doctors. He then decides to assume a new personality when he escapes, to become a man of luxury while still committing thefts to support his new lifestyle. Eventually, he gets tired of having to rob all the time to support himself. The solution to his dilemma comes one day, when he saves a fat man named Fox Selwyn, who takes a liking to Montmorency immediately. Fox Selwyn reveals that he works for the government, finding threats to national security and Montmorency decides to join him using his knowledge as an expert thief. However, their new friendship is strained until Montmorency reveals his dark past to Fox Selwyn.

The series to date consists of:

  • Montmorency (2003)
  • Montmorency on the Rocks (2004)
  • Montmorency and the Assassins (2005)
  • Montmorency's Revenge (2007)
  • Montmorency Returns (2013)

These books contain examples of:

  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: Downplayed, They're certainly big enough for him to run around in, but this is an accurate depiction of the Victorian sewer system in London - much of which was designed to accommodate underground rivers.
  • Becoming the Mask: While the protagonist always intended to become a man of leisure in his upper-crust role, he hadn't expected the Heel–Face Turn it also prompted.
  • Bolivian Army Ending: The last book. Oh my god, the last book.
    • Word of God says that she's having problems with the sixth book...
  • Chessmaster
  • Dark and Troubled Past
  • Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Jack Daniels: Happens in the second book, when Montmorency is on opium.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: Can you say Fox-Selwyn? I mean, he's shot repeatedly then pickled, then shipped to Montmorency with a shark. Also disgusting.
  • Fan Disservice: Cissie
    • She is later wealthier enough to get a mole removed and able to style her other features in a more flattering way, but remains an unpleasant person.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Subverted. Montmorency was a thief, but ends up working for the British government. However, Scarper is still not nice.
  • Hooker with a Heart of Gold: Vi and her mother, although it's not stated explicitly, just strongly implied.
  • Identically Named Group: The servants at Bargles are all called Sam.
  • Jekyll & Hyde: Subverted with Montmorency and Scarper.
    • Arguably inverted. The original story of Jekyll & Hyde had a well-off man with good intentions fall and eventually commit suicide because he was indulging in the freedoms supplied by his alter ego, leading to him starting to turn into a monster he didn't want to become. Montmorency has an essentially dead man who designs an alter ego for himself so he can enjoy the freedoms of being wealthy, ultimately becoming a well-off man and embracing the better personality.
  • Karma Houdini: Montmorency allows someone else to be convicted of one of his thefts and the guy is executed for it (and other crimes)
  • May–December Romance: Possibly between Montmorency and Vi; it doesn't help that their ages are never explicitly stated in the series.
  • Mistaken for Gay: In the second book, someone wonders if Montmorency is one of those men with "exotic" tastes.
  • The Plan: Repeatedly, sometimes for the most minute cover-up, such as hats.
  • We Can Rebuild Him: A non-science fiction example- at the beginning of the first book, Montmorency is badly injured in the course of a theft, and gets his body repaired by Dr. Farcett, who at that point only knows him as a nameless guinea pig.