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The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke
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The Thief Lord (2000)

by Cornelia Funke

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6,116164670 (3.81)136
  1. 20
    Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury (Bitter_Grace)
    Bitter_Grace: These books are completely different in tone, but have the identical concept of a merry-go-round with certain magical properties.
  2. 31
    The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett (benfulton)
    benfulton: The redemption of unhappy childhoods.
  3. 10
    The Undrowned Child by Michelle Lovric (Rubbah)
    Rubbah: magic in venice
  4. 00
    The Clockwork Three by Matthew J. Kirby (Bitter_Grace)
  5. 11
    The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket (BookshelfMonstrosity)
  6. 00
    Pool Boy (Readers Circle) by Michael Simmons (benfulton)
    benfulton: Thief Lord is the better book, but Pool Boy is a similar story set in a world without magic.
  7. 00
    The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens (68papyrus)
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» See also 136 mentions

English (158)  Swedish (2)  German (1)  All languages (161)
Showing 1-5 of 158 (next | show all)
I loved this book! It's a fun journey from start to finish with interesting characters and unexpected surprises sure to thrill! ( )
  shadana | Jun 20, 2016 |
I'd really prefer the story without magic, but, nevertheless, I liked it as it is. I liked the characters, humour and even absurdity of some of the plot twists. ( )
  Rezeda | May 27, 2016 |
READ IN DUTCH

I think this novel might be aimed at children a bit younger still than the Inkworld-trilogy. But, if you can put aside the fact that it is completely unbelievable, it's a very enjoyable read.



It's about a bunch of kids in Venice, who have their own underground society. Their leader is a masked master thief.



It's a very original story, and the writing is nice as well. It reads quickly but the story perhaps is a bit childish (and that's something you either like or not). ( )
  Floratina | May 26, 2016 |
Scipio Massimo: The thief lord. Bo is allowed to call him 'Scip'. He is thirteen, has dark brown eyes and raven black hair. He is the son of Dottore Massimo. He is very clever and quick witted.

Prosper: People sometimes call him Prop. He is a 12 year old orphan and brother of Boniface (Bo). His mother died a few months earlier, and he has had to take care of his brother all by himself. He and his brother were sent into the care of his aunt and uncle, but they ran away because the aunt was planning to separate them, sending Prosper to boarding school while she looked after Bo. Since his mother always used to tell the brothers about the magic of Venice, Prosper makes his way to the city. Bo gets sick, however, while his aunt is trying to find an undercover detective to bring the brothers back. Hornet finds Prosper and Bo first and brings them back to the Stella, an abandoned movie theater where several orphans are living in secret. When the gang of waifs learns that Victor Getz is after Prosper and Bo, Scipio distracts the undercover detective in an attempt to fool Victor (and to give the others a chance to escape). Prosper has a horrible relationship with his uncle and aunt, Esther and Maximilian Hartlieb. He is very protective of Bo, and he doesn't trust anyone right away.

Boniface: Everyone calls him Bo. A very cute 6-and-a-quarter year old, he escaped the clutches of his aunt and uncle with his brother. He has curly blond hair, and an angelic face. He enjoys adventures with Scipio, and he is very close to his older brother Prosper. His one desire is to go on one of Scipio's raids.

Caterina "Hornet" Grimani: Prefers the name Hornet over her real name. She has the name Caterina Grimani written in several of her books, but she never talks about her old life because it makes her too sad. She is slender and has brown hair worn in a long braid to her hips. It looks like a hornet's sting (hence the nickname). She is a very clever girl, and she always has her nose in a book. She always bugs Scipio and cares for Bo, possibly because she is the only girl in the group. She also shows concern for Prosper's safety on more then one occasion. Hornet used to live with Riccio and Mosca in the basement of an abandoned house before Scipio found them and took them to the Stella.

Riccio: Sometimes called Hedgehog, or Riccio the hedgehog. He is a scrawny boy and smaller than Prosper. He has brown hair that sticks out everywhere, earning him his nickname. He also has a tooth missing, which he lost in a chase. His bed is stuffed with stuffed animals and his mattress is full of comics. He also loves sweets, which is why he has horrible teeth. He is an orphan and grew up in an orphanage, never knowing his parents. Scipio found Riccio (as well as Hornet and Mosca who used to live together with Riccio) when he tried to steal something off him, but was caught. Riccio loves to crack jokes.

Mosca: He is a tall, muscular boy of African descent. His skin is so black that Riccio says that he could creep through the shadows. He loves the water and even made his own boat. Mosca loves tinkering with his radio. Although he does not speak of his past, he is said to have a horrible family that he dislikes, and in the film version he is said to have a father who "always thinks of him," but sailed away on a boat and never came back.

Victor Getz: A detective looking for Bo and Prosper. He loves disguises and has lived in Italy for 15 years. He can speak English and Italian. He chases after Prosper and Riccio on their way back from Barbarossa's. He soon befriends the children and lies to Esther, saying the boys left Venice. He is kidnapped by the children and escapes when they have all left to find out the truth about the Thief Lord. He gives his word he will not tell that they are living in an abandoned theater. Esther referred to him after going to the police who were no help.

Ida Spavento: A nice lady who looks after the kids for a while and at the end of the book, takes in Prosper, Bo, and Hornet. She is an orphan and grew up in an orphanage. She now lives in an old mansion and found the Conte's wing when in the orphanage.

Esther: Prosper and Bo's snobby, rich aunt. She only wants to keep Bo because he looks like an angel and decides to send Prosper to boarding school where he can rarely see Bo. She also hires Victor to find the two boys and ends up adopting Barbarossa. Later she finds out Barbossa has been stealing her valuable items that had gone missing long ago that disappeared into his room.

Ernesto Barbarossa: Sometimes referred as the "Redbeard". An extremely cheap antique dealer that loves to rip people off. He ends up riding and breaking the Merry-Go-Round and gets stuck at an age a little younger than Bo. At the end of the book, Barbarossa is adopted by Esther (he wants to live with her because she is rich), but is eventually caught stealing her things and is sent to a boarding school where he becomes a big bully. On one of Riccio's and Prosper's visits to his shop they find out that Barbarossa's beard is dyed.

Conte: The old man that Scipio, Mosca, and Prosper met in a confessional while planning to steal something for him. He is the Thief Lord's first client asking for something to be stolen and says that he will give him a large amount of money (5,000,000 lire). The money turns out to be counterfeit. He uses the wing to fix the Merry-go-round, and becomes a child. He and his sister offer Scipio the ride because he cannot pay the money.


[edit] Plot
The Thief Lord is a magical tale about two brothers, Prosper and Bo, who run away to Venice, Italy after the death of their mother. After they are orphaned, Bo (who is five years old) is sent to live with his cruel aunt Esther while Prosper (who is around twelve)is sent to a boarding school. However, Prosper runs away with Bo. Together, they decide to go to Venice, the magical city that their mother always talked about. The boys are soon befriended by four other orphans: Hornet, Riccio, Mosca, and their mysterious leader, Scipio (or the "Thief Lord") The children take Prosper and Bo to an abandoned movie theater, the Stella or Star-Palace, which is where they all live. The children survive by selling the things that Scipio steals from wealthy houses to an old shopkeeper, Ernesto Barbarossa. All is well until Prosper and Bo's aunt Esther soon finds out that the boys are in Venice. She contacts a disguise-loving detective, Victor Getz, to capture the boys. Meanwhile, Barbarossa tells the children about one of his clients that needs someone to procure (steal) something for him. The Thief Lord accepts the job and meets the client, who is called The Conte, in a confessional with the others. They find out that the object they are to steal is a wooden wing and that they are to steal it from a wealthy photographer's house, whose name is Ida Spavento. If they manage to steal it, they will receive five million lira.

While Mosca, Prosper, and the Thief Lord are inside the confessional talking to the Conte, Riccio, Hornet, and Bo wait outside. Bo is distracted by a tourist who is actually Victor in disguise. Victor persuades Bo to tell him his name and that he lives in an abandoned movie theater. When the others see Bo talking to Victor, Victor escapes, but watches the kids as they enter a store. The older children find out that Victor "the tourist" is actually a detective (which is why they enter the store.) Hornet follows Victor and creates a distraction by pretending that Victor was trying to kidnap/molest her while the others escape back to the movie theater. Hornet manages to steal Victor's wallet and the children find out that Victor is a detective and is trying to capture Prosper and Bo.

Victor visits the very wealthy Dottore Massimo, the owner of the Stella, and finds out that Scipio the "Thief Lord" is actually Dottore Massimo's son, instead of an orphan like he has told the other children. Scipio manages to warn the children that Victor is coming. They capture Victor when he comes looking for them and hold him prisoner. However, Victor tells them that Scipio is actually a young rich boy. When the group doesn't believe him, he tells them to visit Doctor Massimo's house. They go to the house and find out that Scipio has lied to them all along and actually stole all the loot from his own father. When the orphans come back to the movie theater, feeling betrayed by the Thief Lord, they discover that Victor has escaped. However, he leaves a note telling them that he will not tell Esther where Prosper and Bo are, if they do not continue the heist to steal the wing. The orphans decide to sneak into Ida's house to steal the valuable wing for the Conte without Scipio. However, when at the house they find out that Scipio is already there. They are all eventually caught and Ida reveals the story of the wing, which was actually part of a magical merry-go-round that can turn a child into an adult and a adult into a child. The group decides to team up with Ida, and give the wing to the Conte. On the night of the trade, Hornet and Bo stay at the Stella while the others trade the wing in. After they make the trade with the Conte and his sister, the Contessa, they follow behind on Ida's boat where they find the Conte's island, where he must be keeping the merry-go-round. Meanwhile, Hornet and Bo are captured by the police. Hornet is taken to an orphanage while Bo is returned to Esther.

The children find out where Hornet and Bo are and that the money they received from the Conte was fake. Prosper is in despair, and decides to leave with Scipio to go to the island. Meanwhile, Bo is with his aunt and uncle, where he throws tantrum after tantrum, eventually running away. Victor finds him at the Stella and takes him to Ida's home to find that Prosper is not there. Meanwhile, Prosper and Scipio reach the island. They meet a younger version of the Conte and Contessa, and Scipio demands a ride on the merry-go-round, so he can grow up, and move out of his home and away from his father. He successfully manages to age correctly, but Barbarossa shows up and demands to see the Conte's treasure. They trick him into riding the merry-go-round and he is turned into a small child. In an attempt to stop, he breaks the wing, effectively rendering the Merry-Go-Round useless, and making the age changes irreversible. Soon Scipio and Prosper return to Ida's with baby Barbarossa, where Prosper learns that Bo is no longer wanted by their aunt and can live with Prosper. Meanwhile, Hornet is taken out of the orphanage by Ida, who pretends to be her godmother.

Soon afterwards, Hornet, Prosper, and Bo decide to live with Ida and go to school while Mosca and Riccio decide to live in an abandoned warehouse (since they do not want to go to school). Scipio works for Victor and sends letters to his father saying that he is alright, but can't come home. They all live happily and visit each other often. Barbarossa has tricked Esther into adopting him when he finds out that she is rich. He acts sweet and innocent to get her to take him in, but when he arrives at Esther's house he is caught stealing. Tearfully, Esther sends him to a boarding school where he is the biggest bully, making children do his homework, polish his shoes, and sometimes even steal things. He also makes the children call him an awful name: "The Thief Lord".

  bostonwendym | Mar 3, 2016 |
I saw the movie in German before I read the book, and I think the book is better just by so much. ( )
  katieloucks | Feb 26, 2016 |
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» Add other authors (14 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Funke, Corneliaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Jones, SimonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Latsch, OliverTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Meier, LotharIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Rolf -- and to Bob Hoskins, who looks exactly like Victor
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It was autumn in Venice when Victor first heard of Prosper and Bo.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 043942089X, Paperback)

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

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:42 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Two brothers, having run away from the aunt who plans to adopt the younger one, are sought by a detective hired by their aunt, but they have found shelter with--and protection from--Venice's "Thief Lord." Welcome to the magical world of Venice, Italy, where hidden canals and crumbling rooftops shelter runaways and children with incredible secrets.… (more)

» see all 12 descriptions

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