The Thief Lord

by Cornelia Funke

The Chicken House, October, 2003.
Hardcover, 376 pages.
ISBN: 043942089X
Ages 9 and up

The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke Cornelia Funke spins a Dickens-like tale set in the streets of Venice in this somewhat clunky English translation from the original German (see Funke's excellent novel Inkheart for a better translation and sense of what this author is about). Prosper and his little brother Boniface (or Bo) run away to Venice from Hamburg where Bo has been sent to live with his ghastly aunt who only wanted to adopt one of the brothers after their mother's death. The boys' mother always told them of the magic of Venice, with its statues of lions and angels. But when they arrive in Venice, they are cold, dirty and broke. Taken in by a gang of young rascals run by Scipio, a boy who calls himself The Thief Lord, Prosper and Bo have all sorts of adventures as they try to outwit and evade the kindly detective who has been hired to find them.

Venice is the real star of The Thief Lord. Ms. Funke has a way of turning the city into a magical fairyland, where something amazing awaits around every corner. Despite the somewhat awkward translation, Ms. Funke's considerable storytelling skills and descriptive powers shine through. This is an excellent story with a surprising fantasy element that only adds to the magic of the tale.

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This review was published in the November-December, 2003 of The Internet Writing Journal.

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