George Fox-Selwyn and Montmorency have taken on a new assignment to try to recover some specimens that have been stolen from a natural history museum. They leave flu-ridden London behind for sunny Florence and quickly find that anarchists are brewing up a scheme to bring down the nobility and the governments of all of Europe. Gus and his sons, Alexander and Frank are also in Florence trying to find a balm for their grief at the loss of their beloved wife and mother. The righteous cause of the under-privileged insights young Frank and embroils him within a sticky web. The political intrigue draws the spies to Italy, England and America.
Adult Point of View
I grabbed this book off the library shelf and thought it was the first novel in the series. Oops! It was the third, but I read it anyhow.
I thought it was quite intriguing how Updale made the workers plight so immediate. She showed how a young person could easily be swayed into a fanatic belief and behavior that reminded me of the current political climate with terrorists attracting young men today. It was insightful to see the class distinction present in Paterson, New Jersey, USA as well as in London, England and Florence, Italy. The plight of migrant workers is another current political and social problem that has been faced for generations and in many countries.
I was fascinated that the political backdrop may have been inspiration for Puccini and his opera, Tosca. I also found it interesting that the nobility and royalty would be willing to attend an opera based upon the oppression of the lower classes.
It was interesting to learn more about the medical and scientific community. It was easy to see how a serious epidemics, like the flu, were spread in the late 1800’s. Dr. Farcett meeting Edison was another highlight in the book and seeing how x-rays have changed.
Again, spoiler alert reminder.
I was quite distressed that George, one of the main characters died at the hands of the anarchists! I was also concerned that it has been revealed that Montmorency fathered VI’s child and never bothered to find out if Tom was his son until now, when the child is 14 years old. This seems like a very unsavory subject for a book listed for 12 year olds.
Overall I enjoyed the Montmorency novel as an introduction for young adults to a thriller novel full of intrigue, mystery and history.
3.5 out of 5 stars
– the Mother