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The Thief Lord Paperback – May 1, 2010


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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Imagine a Dickens story with a Venetian setting, and you'll have a good sense of Cornelia Funke's prizewinning novel The Thief Lord, first published in Germany in 2000. This suspenseful tale begins in a detective's office in Venice, as the entirely unpleasant Hartliebs request Victor Getz's services to search for two boys, Prosper and Bo, the sons of Esther Hartlieb's recently deceased sister. Twelve-year-old Prosper and 5-year-old Bo ran away when their aunt decided she wanted to adopt Bo, but not his brother. Refusing to split up, they escaped to Venice, a city their mother had always described reverently, in great detail. Right away they hook up with a long-haired runaway named Hornet and various other ruffians who hole up in an abandoned movie theater and worship the elusive Thief Lord, a young boy named Scipio who steals jewels from fancy Venetian homes so his new friends can get the warm clothes they need. Of course, the plot thickens when the owner of the pawn shop asks if the Thief Lord will carry out a special mission for a wealthy client: to steal a broken wooden wing that is the key to completing an age-old, magical merry-go-round. This winning cast of characters--especially the softhearted detective with his two pet turtles--will win the hearts of readers young and old, and the adventures are as labyrinthine and magical as the streets of Venice itself. (Ages 9 and older) --Karin Snelson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Wacky characters bring energy to this translation of an entertaining German novel about thieving children, a disguise-obsessed detective and a magical merry-go-round. After their mother dies, 12-year-old Prosper and his brother, Bo, five, flee from Hamburg to Venice (an awful aunt plans to adopt only Bo). They live in an abandoned movie theater with several other street children under the care of the Thief Lord, a cocky youth who claims to rob "the city's most elegant houses." A mysterious man hires the Thief Lord to steal a wooden wing, which the kids later learn has broken off a long-lost merry-go-round said to make "adults out of children and children out of adults," but the plan alters when Victor, the detective Aunt Esther hired to track the brothers, discovers their camp and reveals that the Thief Lord is actually from a wealthy family. There are a lot of story lines to follow, and the pacing is sometimes off (readers may feel that Funke spends too little time on what happens when the children find the carousel, and too much on the ruse they pull on Prosper's aunt). But between kindhearted Victor and his collection of fake beards, the Thief Lord in his mask and high-heeled boots, and a rascally street kid who loves to steal, Prosper's new world abounds with colorful characters. The Venetian setting is ripe for mystery and the city's alleys and canals ratchet up the suspense in the chase scenes. Ages 9-12.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Paperback: 376 pages
  • Publisher: Chicken House (May 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0545227704
  • ISBN-13: 978-0545227704
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 5.3 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (490 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #40,808 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

I would recommend this book to readers of all ages!!
Stephanie, ...
All the characters are really developed and the whole book and plot was interesting and fun.
Blaire
The book was odd, and that was one reason I liked it so well.
T. Misbach

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

57 of 58 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 22, 2002
Format: Audio Cassette
As a teacher in a small, multiage classroom of grades 2 to 7, I am continually searching for books that I can read aloud to a wide age range. I read this book over the summer, previewing the book before I read it aloud at school. I loved it, and now my students do too. From the youngest student to the oldest, they are engrossed! This book has a lot of teaching potential, too, if you choose to use it that way. Moral dilemmas; is it okay to steal if you are hungry? Teach mapping skills, using the map at the front of the book. But most importantly, it is a great read with many surprises, twists and turns. It will keep you guessing to the end!
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91 of 98 people found the following review helpful By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 21, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Cornelia Funke's "Thief Lord" is one of those few books that deserves at least some of the hype that they're given. While it's not the best I've read, it is a solid adventure story, quite well-written, with likable characters and a good, suspenseful storyline.
Prosper and Bo have run away to Venice, escaping a vicious aunt who wants to adopt only Bo. Now, they have joined up with Scipio the Thief Lord, a wily kid of their own age with a mystery identity and a band of loyal street kids, including Hornet, Riccio and Mosca. Though Prosper doesn't like stealing, he has no choice; he has to look out for his little brother, and somehow keep out of sight.
Their aunt, however, has hired a private detective (who is preoccupied with turtles) who is trailing the boys through Venice. A nasty merchant named Barbarossa has offered the Thief Lord a massive job on behalf of a mystery client. And the detective starts to home in on the two boys, as the true identity of the Thief Lord comes to light...
"Thief Lord" isn't particularly groundbreaking, but it has a slightly classic feel to it. The settings in Venice, the names of the characters (Prospero, Scipio) and the dramatic details like Scipio's costume. But Funke balances it out with funnier things like Barbarossa's ride on the carousel and Victor's preoccupation with his pets. The magical element of the carousel (shades of Ray Bradbury?) seems a bit out of place, however, as there hadn't been any magic up until then.
The writing is quite detailed and descriptive, and Funke doesn't skimp on the descriptions of how gorgeous Venice is. What's more, the translation is, as far as I can tell (which isn't far since I don't speak German), pretty flawless. If I didn't know better I would think that it was originally written in English.
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52 of 56 people found the following review helpful By "greengoldfairy" on October 28, 2002
Format: Hardcover
THE THIEF LORD, by German writer Cornelia Funke, is one of the few *new* books that I've come across recently that was able to keep me engrossed until the very end. I found the story to be delightful, and especially enjoyed the setting of Venice, Italy. Funke's writing style is a pleasure to read, neither convoluted or overly simplistic. Her characters are likeable, even Prosper and Bo's "evil" aunt and uncle, and overall THE THIEF LORD is a fun and magical book that can be enjoyed by the whole family.
After their parents die, Prosper and Bo run away from their aunt and uncle (who, of course, want to adopt only the younger, cuter Bo, and send Prosper off to boarding school), making their way all the way to the city of Venice, Italy, which they had heard much of in the stories told by their late mother. There, they are taken into a gang of street kids who are under the guidance of the mysterious Scipio, also known as the Thief Lord. Prosper and Bo feel safe until they realize that their aunt and uncle have not only tracked them to Venice, but have also hired a private detective to track them down with the aim of recovering Bo. From there the adventure takes off, as the children dodge the detective while at the same time work to secure a mysterious object for an equally mysterious "Conte."
Underlying Fuke's work is a tale about being a child and growing up, and whether or not one is truly more desireable than the other. As said earlier, THE THIEF LORD is a book that could be read aloud to the whole family, or enjoyed by individual readers on their own. Either way, recommended reading level is around 10-years-old.
Enjoy!
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on January 3, 2003
Format: Hardcover
The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke
The Thief Lord is a mystifying tale of five orphans and runaways on a quest for freedom and independence in Venice, Italy. They are led by a thirteen year old boy who calls himself the Thief Lord.However, the Thief Lord has amazing secrets of his own that are accidentally revealed to the other children because of a few interesting characters. Despite the essential involvement of these characters however, this is mainly Prosper's story. Prosper seeks to survive successfully with his little brother Bo in Venice, away from Aunt Esther, who looks to have the boys returned to her rightful ownership. The plot only thickens when The Merry-Go-Round of the Merciful Sisters is introduced to the already good story. Written in third person and past tense I always felt that I knew what was going on. Cornelia Funke provides rich descriptions that make you feel what she is saying. I liked this book because what was going to happen next was never predictable. She springs upon you numerous amount of shock and surprise throughout this magical tale.
Anna
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