The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue
1 journaler for this copy...
Monty can't stay out of trouble even while fretting over his friend's fate, and he inadvertently steals a much-sought-after McGuffin while being seduced by a beautiful woman who happens to be the mistress of the Duke of Bourbon. Cue an attack on the party by bandits (actually the Duke's men), and the separation of Monty, Percy, and Monty's sister Felicity (being escorted to a young lady's school, which the bookish Felicity has no interest in) from their tour-guide and guardian.
More wacky adventures ensue, with ups and downs that get pretty bleak at times; while the pirates (of course there are pirates!) turn out to be kinder and gentler than feared, there are other forces pitted against our heroes, who have no compunction at all about using violence, treachery, and murder to gain their ends. And when it turns out that the little trinket Monty stole is the key to an alchemical cure-all that could save Percy, the chase is on!
Monty is not always a very likable character, even while narrating his own story; he really is spoiled and self-centered and often quite foolish. Why Percy loves him is sometimes hard to see (and while the reader guesses it early on, Monty himself doesn't realize it for ages - I did say he was a bit dim). Both Percy and Felicity step up to help in the quest, keep Monty out of trouble, and try to enjoy their travels without being captured or killed, and eventually Monty himself learns some things - such as to value Percy for himself, ill or not, and to think more about others than about his impulses of the moment.
There are some highly dramatic scenes in the middle of the goofiness, and there's a very satisfying revelation having to do with Monty's relationship with his proud and overbearing father. And while the tale of Monty and Percy may wrap up here, it seems there's a sequel focusing on Felicity, who has her own quest ahead of her. Enjoyable read!
[There's a TV Tropes page on the book, with some entertaining tidbits.]
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