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The Thief Lordby Cornelia Funke
2003 Mildred L. Batchelder Award
2002 New York Times Notable Book
Winner of the 2005 Young Readers Choice Award (Senior Division)
Synopses & Reviews
Intrigue, danger, chess, and a real-life hoax combine in this historical novel from the author of The Shakespeare Stealer
Philadelphia, PA, 1835. Rufus, a twelve-year-old chess prodigy, is recruited by a shady showman named Maelzel to secretly operate a mechanical chess player called the Turk. The Turk wows ticket-paying audience members and players, who do not realize that Rufus, the true chess master, is hidden inside the contraption. But Rufuss job working the automaton must be kept secret, and he fears he may never be able to escape his unscrupulous master. And what has happened to the previous operators of the Turk, who seem to disappear as soon as Maelzel no longer needs them? Creeping suspense, plenty of mystery, and cameos from Edgar Allan Poe and P. T. Barnum mark Gary Blackwoods triumphant return to middle grade fiction.
"Harrowing and comical escapades abound....Funke delights readers in the feelings of childhood, what it feels like to be innocent, afraid, curious, and safe; need friends and love; and want independence yet also to be cared for. Although the core of this tale is heartwarming, the merry-go-round...hints at darkness, leaving its riders and the novel's readers changed forever." Kirkus Reviews
"What is shocking in the case of The Thief Lord...is that the book lives up to the audacious claim. It's got the magic, the adventure, the awkward boy heroes and the plucky chick sidekick....But Thief Lord is also just a darn good yarn..." Alice Stroup, Newsweek
"Wacky characters bring energy to this translation of an entertaining German novel....[The novel] abounds with colorful characters. The Venetian setting is ripe for mystery and the city's alleys and canals ratchet up the suspense in the chase scenes." Publishers Weekly
"Funke brings together a large but not indigestible array of adults and children....It's a compelling tale, rich in ingenious twists, with a setting and cast that will linger in readers' memories." School Library Journal
"The action rolls along in short chapters, each illustrated with a small pen-and-ink illustration of a locale in Venice. The vocabulary is somewhat demanding, with Italian words thrown in for atmosphere, but some YAs will certainly enjoy this challenge." KLIATT
"The Thief Lord will steal your imagination as it delivers clever twists and turns throughout." Audiofile
Welcome to the magical underworld of Venice, Italy, where hidden canals and crumbling rooftops shelter runaways and children with incredible secrets. 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 thirteen-year-old boy 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 delight in being a part of this colorful new family. Then the Thief Lord invites them on a magical adventure to a land of forgotten mysteries that will change their lives forever, This exciting tale of fun, flight, and freedom is sure to enchant readers and keep them guessing up until a breathtaking finale.
An exciting, magical adventure set among the crumbling canals and ancient ruins of Venice, Italy.
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.
About the Author
Cornelia Funke is the internationally acclaimed, bestselling author of The Thief Lord, Dragon Rider, and the Inkheart trilogy, along with many other chapter and picture books for younger readers. She lives in Los Angeles, California, in a house filled with books.
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