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The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke-Book Review

Updated on March 18, 2015


After their mother’s death, Prosper and Boniface, or Bo, decide to run away from their rich Aunt Esther and Uncle Max because they were adopting Bo, because of his angelic face and sending Prosper to boarding school because he is too old. They go to Venice because their mother used to tell them magical stories about that place. Reaching there, they meet Hornet, who takes Prosper and Bo to her secret hideout, an abandoned movie theater where they meet Rico and Mosca.

These orphaned children have a leader, the masked Thief Lord, who, like Robin Hood steals from the rich and gives to the needy. The Thief Lord, or Scipio, sells his loot to a cunning shopkeeper, Ernesto Barbarossa. He calls the Thief Lord to meet a customer of his, Conte. He offers Scipio a deal of 5 million lire.

Meanwhile Esther and Max Hartlieb follow Prosper and Bo to Venice and hire a detective, Victor Getz, who follows the children and is kidnapped by them. He soon befriends the kids and lies to Esther.

The object, for which they are getting 5 million lire, may be magical, but instead of getting it, they are caught and Thief Lord’s dark secret is exposed.As the Thief Lord’s gang breaks up after they know his true identity, can the children steal the supposedly magical object and get the money they need?


Unlike other Cornelia Funke books, the magical element is only introduced in last 75 pages or so. The juveniles want to stay away from law and elders. According to Scipio, growing up will solve all problems for him and his friends. The book reflects the idea of empowerment associated to growing up. At first, the story is a bit slow and confusing but as it moves forward, things start becoming a bit clear. Cornelia Funke, as usual did a wonderfully beautiful job creating the backdrop of Venice’s canals and thin streets and creating the characters.

For children, the fantasy begins as the book starts as it portrays kids being self-dependent and running away without getting caught. For others, the fantasy element is introduced very late but nevertheless, the book is amazing as magic is merged with the modern world. Cornelia’s style of writing is as always amazing and this book is a must read by everyone.

The movie based on this amazing book came out in 2006.

The Thief Lord
The Thief Lord

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