This is an amazing sequel to the first book in the Montmorency series. It has the same pacy style as the first book making it a page turner. Montmorency has found it hard during his undercover work to keep his alter ego Scarper out and we see him in the grip of drugs encountered on his travels struggling with his addiction a theme that struck me as being relevant to today as anyone who has known someone struggling with addiction will identify. His friend George Fox Selwyn sticks by him and introduces him to someone who knows more of Montmorency's past than he does to help his recovery. The three are then plunged into two seperate mysteries on a isolated island where Montmorency ends up trying to recover and in the heart of London where a bomber has caused panic (again resonant with issues of today) Characters are developed more fully than in the first book and Montmorency's friends learn more of his past giving rise to complex feelings between the three friends as they come to accept Montmorency for who he is and help and are exasperated by his struggle to get rid of the darker side of Scarper while his skills are still needed. The relationships between characters are woven into the book in a subtle and interesting way that allows you to empathise with each character. The humour of the first book is still present in this fascinating and highly readable book. I feel that unsually for a sequel it is better than the first as it is slightly more developed in the issues characters face and in the storyline. Read the first in the series first though as it is also excellent and needs to be read to appreciate this book fully.
Wow! I read this after I'd read the first Montmorency tale (which is considerably thinner) and I couldn't believe they were written by the same person. Whilst it would be harder to find a book with a better storyline than Montmorency I felt no sympathy for any one of the characters. Also it moved along far too quickly. Then, I bought Montmorency On The Rocks and was blown away. I rank this the 3rd best teenage novel I have read (after Stravaganza:City Of Flowers by Mary Hoffman and Small Steps by Louis Sachar respectively). Updale deals withs the consequences felt by Montmorency because of his drug addiction brilliantly and Fox-Selwyn's desire to help his friend equally well. The feelings experienced on Tarimond by Montmorency is a highlight as is the superb chapter on the train when Fox-Selwyn realises that if he can't resist eating his toffee in the middle of the night then how can Montmorency cope with his addiction. I also liked the way Chivers' unquestionable loyalty to Fox-Selwyn, Farcett and Montmorency was portrayed. But, for me the best part is Doctor Robert Farcett and the insight into his feelings from his despair after the death of his patient to the surprise at refinding Montmorency to the refusal of believing Maggie Goudie is a murderer. Read this.
A breath taking and intriguing book that you can't put down. 5 Golden stars due to it's intertwined story line. I did not dislike one bit of it. This is certainly a book for those of you who love imaginative story lines and gob smacking plot twists. In conclusion this book is a must read.