The Thief Lord
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The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke, translated by Oliver Latsch chronicles the adventures of Prosper and Bo, two orphaned children who have been sent to Hamburg to live with their cruel aunt and uncle. Seeking refuge from the abuse and neglect suffered at the hands of their aunt, Prosper and Bo set out for Venice, a magical land that their mother held in high esteem. Despite the fact that Victor, a detective hired to find the two has been on their trail for eight weeks, Prosper and Bo have managed to elude the detective and keep themselves alive despite incredible hardship. “They had traveled a long way, squatting in rattling trains, hiding form conductors and nosy old ladies. They have locked themselves into stinking toilets, slept in dark corners, squeezed tightly together, hungry, tired and frozen. But they had done it, and they were still together”.
Upon arriving in Venice, Prosper and Bo began to look for more suitable accommodations and soon came across Scipio and his band of street children. Although Scipio and his gang were only involved in petty crime, the adventures that unfold for Prosper and Bo provide a bit of happiness in an otherwise darkly overshadowed existence. Scipio is so talented that he has garnered the title of the thief lord and his charisma and skill serve as the basis for him to lead this group of street children through the underground of Venice. While the adventures are amazing, the companionship that is fostered between the children and the happiness that they experience is the most important aspect of the story.
Overall, The Thief Lord is not about the hardships that face the children in Scipio’s gang. Rather, it is about the mystical magic that can be found in the most unusual places. For each of the children in the story, their lives have been marred by tragedy and neglect. However, through Scipio’s leadership, Venice becomes a virtual playground for each of the children. While the story is primarily told from the perspective of Prosper and Bo, each of the children demonstrate some degree of delight with the various adventures that Scipio designs. For these children the opportunity to explore Venice, is the greatest gift that any of them will ever receive.
In the end, The Thief Lord is a compelling tale that cannot help but stir deep heartfelt emotion in the reader.