Books set in Europe, Children's, Coming of age, Family dynamics, Fantasy, Fiction, Mystery, Young Adult

#476 The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke

The Thief Lord by Cornelia FunkeThe Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke

Venice is a city I’ve never been to, but I would like to go to. I have never read a book placed in Venice before now, to my recollection anyway. This book is mainly about two brothers, but it’s also about something of Something Wicked This Way Comes proportions.

The beginning of the book finds Victor Getz getting a new client. Of course he will look for Esther’s nephews. She doesn’t want the older one, just the younger one. They ran away to Venice because their mother had always told them so many wonderful things about the city. Esther wants the younger brother, Bo, back. The other brother is named Prosper and he can go fly a kite for all Esther cares.

As it turns out the brothers are in Venice and they are together. They’ve taken up with a gang of street children in an Oliver Twist manner. There is another one who looks over them; he is called the thief lord. He is supposedly the greatest thief in all of the city. He brings items to the children to sell to an antiques dealer named Babarossa. The children get their money for recently acquired items, but do not realize that someone is tailing them; it’s Victor.

The children agree to take on a rather strange assignment. Babarossa asks if the thief lord will take commissions. He agrees. He finds out that he is to steal a wooden wing from a house. The thief lord agrees. Victor is hot on the trail of the children and finds out that they’re living in an abandoned theater. He also finds out that the thief lord isn’t who he has told his friends. Things begin to look very different.

The children take on their robbery which ends strangely to everyone involved. They end up finding a sinister merry-go-round that boasts the magical talent of turning people older or younger. Does Bo end up with his aunt? Does the merry-go-round work? What of the robbery? Well, you’ll have to read to find out.

What I liked

A friend loaned this book to me and it is pretty interesting. Venice does sound like an enchanting city. If Cornelia has never been there, she must have done a lot of research. I liked the idea of how things didn’t turn out how you thought they would. This book didn’t surprise me, but the twists were interesting and pleasant. Of course the thief lord wasn’t who we thought he was, but that happens. Sometimes people aren’t who we think they are.

Children have rough lives sometimes. Sometimes things are just so bad at home that a kid wants to leave and be anywhere but home. I get it. I understand why children would feel this way. Sometimes the parents are oblivious, but then when a child runs away they always wonder what would have caused the child to run away. Siblings don’t want to be separated. Children don’t want to be treated like objects. It only takes a few years before a kid really starts to have a strong opinion about life and a sense of self-worth and if you as a parent are belittling them, they’re not going to want to stick around. There is a reason the actions of the children in this book make sense.

I’m going to have to look into this time-changing merry-go-round thing. It’s popped up in another book I’ve read Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury. In Ray’s book there weren’t particular animals that did particular things; it was simply a matter of going one way or the other. Cornelia didn’t really give any indication as to why this merry-go-round did what it did. She didn’t provide a back-story for it. There wasn’t any mythology associated with it. So it makes me wonder if she found the idea of a time-changing merry-go-round in folklore or she got the idea from Ray.

What I didn’t like

Overall this was a rather neat book and an easy read. The book kind of has A Series of Unfortunate Events feel to it. One thing I can pick on though is that it seems there are so many elements in this book from other books. I’ve already mentioned the merry-go-round which sounds an awfully lot like the merry-go-round from Something Wicked This Way Comes, but there are other things. The children live in a little pickpocket gang like in Oliver Twist. They find a fortunate situation like so many other books. It’s a good read, but not necessarily an entirely original read, but we do have to admit that it is difficult to make something entirely original these days. There are so many stories that have been told that it’s almost impossible to tell something entirely unique.


I thought it was fairly interesting and the descriptions of Venice were great.

bo, cornelia funke, detective, merry-go-round, olvier twist, pick pocket, prosper, prosper and bo, something wicked this way comes, the thief lord, The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke, thief lord, venice, victor
Books set in Europe, Children’s, Coming of age, Family dynamics, Fantasy, Fiction, Funke-Cornelia, Mystery, Young Adult


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