Search Site
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.


The Thief Lord (2000)

by Cornelia Funke

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
8,851187881 (3.81)209
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."
  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. 21
    The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket (BookshelfMonstrosity)
  5. 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.
  6. 00
    The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens (68papyrus)
  7. 00
    The Clockwork Three by Matthew J. Kirby (Bitter_Grace)
  8. 11
    Caraval by Stephanie Garber (CurrerBell)

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 209 mentions

English (181)  Spanish (3)  Swedish (2)  German (1)  All languages (187)
Showing 1-5 of 181 (next | show all)
Against the expectation created by the title and cover, till around page 176, this book appeared to be a rather boring tale about orphan children living rough in a condemned cinema in Venice, two of them on the run from their aunt who wants only the five year old, and plans to pack the twelve year old off to a boarding school. The children live off the proceeds of objects stolen by the mysterious Thief Lord, a twelve or thirteen year old boy who does not live at the cinema and comes and goes intermittently. Before long, their precarious existence starts to unravel when they accept a commission to steal a wooden wing on behalf of a mysterious Conte (count).

Without giving away the fantasy element which finally starts to turn this into something like the adventure story I was expecting, I found this unsatisfactory on a number of levels. There is a wish fulfilment aspect which undermines the initial idea of children who are living rough and relying on stealing. By the end, all plights are resolved in a fairy tale manner - the children who want a secure home are granted one by a woman who, we have been told, is a famous photographer and travels a lot, but seems to throw it all over to take in a number of children and their kittens. The kids who want to remain independent are able to go off to another squat and carry on as before. The one who solved his home problems magically (the Thief Lord) has no difficulties caused by the fact that he now has no paperwork to prove who he is because he is now much older, and is given a job by the private detective who helped them, despite the fact that he can't possibly obtain a legal permit.

Another aspect that irritated me is the role of girls and women. One of the kids in the cinema is a girl but despite the scene early on when she manages to thwart the detective when he is tracking the two runaways on behalf of the aunt, she spends most of the time worrying about other characters, and volunteers to look after the five year old when he would otherwise be a liability when the others go to do the robbery for the Conte. The photographer, as I've said, seems to chuck her career without there being any question even raised, and even the aunt who decides to dump both boys in an orphanage when the younger one plays up, is so gooey eyed about having a kid that she is persuaded into adopting a boy she has hardly met in actuality, the crooked antiques dealer who cheats everyone throughout and has been rejuvenated, in the process breaking the magic roundabout that the wooden wing completed. The Conte's sister does capture two of the boys with the help of fierce dogs, but even she is mainly identified as his sister with no real characterisation. So for an early 2000s novel it comes across as a much older book from the female roles.

I'm guessing that if this book had been around when I was the target age group, I would've been too bored to finish it. ( )
  kitsune_reader | Nov 23, 2023 |
Prosper and Bo are orphans on the run from their cruel aunt and uncle. The brothers decide to hide out in Venice, where they meet a mysterious character who calls himself the "Thief Lord." Brilliant and charismatic, the Thief Lord leads a ring of street children who dabble in petty crimes. Prosper and Bo relish being part of this colorful new family. But the Thief Lord has secrets of his own. And soon the boys are thrust into circumstances that will lead them, and readers, to a fantastic, spellbinding conclusion.
  PlumfieldCH | Sep 21, 2023 |
Honestly, for me, this book dragged. There really was no excitement or waiting to see what was going to happen. I LOVE the narrator, he is wonderful, but he was the only thing keeping me reading the story.

I love the premise, the setting, the characters, the overall plot. I just couldn't get into the book itself. I felt like the author was trying to be as realistic as possible, but kind of throw in a fantastical event to make something interesting happen. There is no mysticism, no build-up. The fantastical happens and no one bats an eye. I wanted to like this book way more than I did. ( )
  LinBee83 | Aug 23, 2023 |
The blurb on the back of the book led me to believe that there would be more of a fantasy element to this book. It takes about 300 pages for any magical type stuff to occur and by then it just feels out of place. I think if the rumored magic had been just that, a rumor and not true at all, then it would have been a more satisfying read. ( )
  LynnMPK | Jul 1, 2023 |
Prosper and Bo, two orphaned brothers, flee insensitive relatives and end up in Venice as part of a group of child thieves. The tiny network revolves around charismatic Scipio, the prepubescent Thief Lord, but their happy den is threatened by converging outside forces: a private investigator searching for Bo, a commission for an inexplicable theft, and heartbreaking discoveries about Scipio himself.

Funke has a really fine eye for details, and I liked her brutally realistic approach to the life Prosper and Bo lead in Venice. Too many YA fantasy books would treat this scenario as a time for unrestrained hijinks and hilarity. In contrast, the child thieves of The Thief Lord live a cold, hungry life of nervous anxiety surrounded by tattered possessions rescued from the streets. Glamor is in short supply. Which is not to say the book is exactly hard-hearted realism -- a magic carousel features heavily in the plot, and everybody's loose ends are neatly resolved in a happy ending -- but Funke takes a clear-eyed view of the conditions of her characters and the consequences of their actions. Even the book's "happy ending" has bittersweet results for Thief Lord Scipio ( )
  proustbot | Jun 19, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 181 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors (60 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Funke, Corneliaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Birmingham, ChristianIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jones, SimonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Latsch, OliverTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Meier, LotharIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
To Rolf -- and to Bob Hoskins, who looks exactly like Victor
First words
It was autumn in Venice when Victor first heard of Prosper and Bo.
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS
Canonical LCC

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

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."

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Haiku summary

Current Discussions


Popular covers

Quick Links


Average: (3.81)
0.5 1
1 22
1.5 5
2 94
2.5 21
3 410
3.5 102
4 599
4.5 57
5 408

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 197,551,930 books! | Top bar: Always visible