Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Montmorency and the Assassins

Montmorency and the Assassins

Eleanor Updale
Fiction  Series
For ages 12 and up
Scholastic, 2006   ISBN: 978-0439683432

   Montmorency and his friend Lord George Fox-Selwyn have taken on a new assignment. Leaving a flu-ridden England behind them, they head for Florence in Italy to see if they can find some missing zoological specimens that were stolen. George’s grief-stricken brother Gus, and his two sons Frank and Alexander, are vacationing in Florence, trying to recover from the loss of Gus’s much loved wife who died from the influenza.

   Montmorency, George and Frank soon find out that the missing specimens are right there inFlorence. In addition to helping his uncle and Montmorency, Frank has been making lots of friends inFlorence. Naïve in many ways, Frank fails to see that his friends are in reality part of an international ring of anarchists. Only when he gets caught up in a violent attack does he realize that they are dangerous and that they are not afraid to kill for their cause.

   As anarchist attacks flare up all overEurope, Montmorency and George are given a new assignment, a vital one; they have to try to infiltrate the anarchist movement and anticipate what the group is going to do next. With Frank’s help, they are able to get inside the organization both inLondonand inAmerica. Trying to piece together lots of scraps of information, Montmorency and George realize that something dreadful has been planned and they have very little time available to them before it will be too late.

   Threaded through this backdrop of political intrigue and adventure, Eleanor Updale has woven together many subplots involving Montmorency’s other friends.Will Dr.Farcett be able to create the large X-ray machine that he has dreamed up? Will Gus find new hope inFlorence, and will Montmorency finally tell Vi’s son Tom who Tom’s real father is?

   Perfectly paced and providing readers with an extraordinary picture of life at the turn of the century, this third book in the Montmorency series is full of unexpected plot twists. Before our eyes the characters grow and change as frightening and often disturbing events unfold around them. Tossed about on a sea of violence and misfortune, Montmorency and his friends struggle to make sense of their world, making mistakes and learning a great deal about themselves in the process.