Cornelia Funke’s stand-alone adventure, The Thief Lord, is a lovely read for all ages. Set in Venice, a group of orphans and runaways tries to fend for themselves with the help of their mysterious leader, the Thief Lord. Though Funke’s story relies on some familiar juvenile fiction motifs – namely, orphans – she delves deeper into complicated relationships, emotions and the implications of childhood. Reading as an adult, the book made pointed messages about growing up. Colorful characters show real humanity: both vicious and forgiving, cunning and kind. Thief Lord is a well spun tale of adventure well suited to entertain any reader.
As an adult, you might find yourself remembering a time when you romanticized being alone and adult. Funke’s descriptions of Venetian canals and shops help the whimsical, almost magical city, feel very real. Overall, if you are looking for a short, realistic, warmhearted adventure novel, this is a treasure.