The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke

The Thief Lord opens in a detective’s office in Venice, where the horrible Hartliebs are engaging the services of private detective Victor Getz to find their two runaway nephews Bo and Prosper. The Hartliebs want to adopt Bo and send Prosper off to boarding school, but the brothers do not want to be separated so they run off to Venice.

In Venice, Bo and Prosper hook up with a feisty runaway girl named hornet, the hulky Mosca, the mischievous spiky-haired pickpocket Riccio, and Scipio, the Thief Lord, who takes care of all of them inside an abandoned old theater.

The plot thickens when a crooked antique dealer enlists the gang for a special mission, and Victor Getz is hot on their heels.

I’ve never read Cornelia Funke before, but I’d have to say that The Thief Lord is one of the best children’s books I have read. Since Cornelia Funke is German, it’s translated into English by Oliver Latsch, but I think it was an excellent translation because nothing seems to be awkward or vague.

It’s such a charming book with such endearing characters you can’t help but like it. It’s very Dickensian, sort of like Oliver Twist, with a bit of magic thrown in, and a whole lot funnier.

The book brings out the sights and sounds of Venice, and the description is so vivid that you can actually imagine you’re right there with the characters.

As books go, it’s not pretentious or ambitious, nothing groundbreaking, but it’s got a very classic feel to it, like it makes you feel good just reading it. You know, the sort of book that makes you want to live, because there’s such goodness in the world (haha, now where did that come from?) Just a beautifully written and exciting feel-good story.

Saw the movie recently and it’s an excellent adaptation, with unknown actors and excellent Venice scenery!

My copy: trade paperback upgraded into a hardcover with dustjacket, bought at Books for Less

My rating: 5/5 stars

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