Twelve-year-old Prosper and
five-year-old Boniface have run away from home. It wasn't exactly
their home. Their mother had died and they were sent to live with
Aunt Esther, a woman who had never had children of her own and didn't particularly
like them. Young Bo had the face of an angel so she decided to keep
him but was going to send Prosper away. So, the boys did the only
thing they could think of -- they ran away together. Now they are
in Venice. Their mother always spoke of how beautiful and magical
the city was and the two boys thought they would feel closer to their mother
in a city she loved so much. Without family or friends, how could
two young boys possibly survive? By hooking up with a motley group
of homeless kids headed by the Thief Lord, of course. Although not
much older than Prosper, the Thief Lord was able to find a home for his
small group of kids and steal enough to keep the kids fed and clothed.
But who is this thief? And why is he helping the band of children?
Their parents dead, Prosper
and his little brother, Bo, run away from Germany to Venice, Italy, to
avoid being separated. There, in the crowded streets and canals,
they meet Hornet, an orphan living in an abandoned theater. Also
living with her are Riccio, Mosca and the mysterious Scipio, who calls
himself the “Thief Lord”. Hidden behind a black mask, the Thief
Lord robs houses in the night and brings his findings to the others.
He never stays long in the theater, only one night a week at the most.
He provides them with items they can sell for money to buy food.
When Scipio comes upon an envelope with instructions telling him to steal
a wooden wing, he gets himself and his friends into a lot of trouble.
To make matters worse, a detective, hired by his aunt and uncle, is after
Bo, and a greedy man named Barbarossa is on their trail in search of fortune.
Along the way, many secrets are kept, while some unexpected ones are found
Prepared by Debbie Jarrett
for South Carolina
Junior Book Award 2005
The Thief Lord had saved us
from the streets, Bo and Me . . . or the canals. It was Venice after all.
We had hidden from conductors in trains and slept in tiny spaces all huddled
together, frozen and hungry. Then, the Thief Lord had found us and taken
us in and added us to his menagerie.
It was Aunt Esther's fault.
After our folks had died, she had wanted to take Bo to raise as her own.
Just Bo. She wanted to separate us. So, I took Bo and fled. All the way
Now, we lived in the Stella,
a rundown old movie theatre that no one used any more. Along with Hornet,
Riccio and Mosca. Scipio, the thief lord, never slept there himself. We'd
only see him when there was a reason. He'd bring us the loot he'd stolen,
but would never take any of us with him, even though he was just a kid
like us. Not that I wanted to go. Or wanted Bo to learn to be a thief either.
But, he provided for us. And, he'd let us take the items he lifted and
exchange them for the money we used to eat and cloth ourselves. All in
all, we were doing just fine. And, it was beginning to feel like we were
part of a family.
Then, I ran into the detective.
The one my aunt and uncle had hired to track down Bo and me. Then, we found
out the truth about the Thief Lord.
Sam Marsh for The
Colorado Blue Spruce Young Adult Book Award 2005