''The Thief Lord'' is a children's fantasy novel by German author Creator/CorneliaFunke, who also authored ''Literature/TheInkworldTrilogy''. ''The Thief Lord'' follows a ragtag bunch of runaways and orphans living in the unseen parts of Venice, led by the titular "Thief Lord". Unfortunately two of them, Bo and Prosper, are pursued by the PrivateDetective Victor hired by their oppressive aunt. Victor's presence is just the catalyst for other forces that test the band's loyalty to each other.

The novel's big themes include growing up and [[TrueCompanions family]]. In 2006 a film adaptation was made.

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!! ''The Thief Lord'' contains examples of:

* AdaptationExpansion
* AmbiguouslyJewish: Victor Getz.
* AntiVillain: Victor and the Conte, sort of. And even Esther gets much more sympathetic at the end.
* TheArtfulDodger: Riccio is something of this. Unlike most of the other kids, he quite enjoys stealing for a living and, when some of the others consider living with [[spoiler: Ida]], he is disgusted by the prospect of being told what to do, going to school, and bathing regularly. However it is mentioned that, when he lived with Mosca and Hornet, and before Scipio began helping them out, his life was anything but happy and carefree.
* BadassLongcoat: The Thief Lord wears one.
* BeneathTheMask: Scipio is a completely different person when he is with the other kids and when he is around his father. This is obvious even to Victor, who had met him only briefly. Interestingly, these are both masks for his true personality, which is somewhere in between.
* BeCarefulWhatYouWishFor: Everyone who uses the merry-go-round has shades of this, but Barbarossa gets it the worst.
** Barbarossa's fate could also be called CursedWithAwesome. In a couple of years, he'll have exactly what he wanted anyway.
** Ester always wanted a child that looked like an adorable angel but could behave like a charming adult...
* BigBrotherInstinct: Prosper to Bo, who else do you think?
* BlackBestFriend: Mosca to Hornet and Riccio.
** However, he [[AvertedTrope does not seem to be a case]] of TokenMinority as his race is mentioned only once ("Mosca's skin was beautifully black.") and he shows no racial stereotypes.
* BoundAndGagged: The children do this to Victor when he comes snooping around their hideout (an abandoned cinema), then lock him in the men's bathroom.
* BrokenBird: Hornet.
* ButtMonkey: Victor (overlaps a bit with TheChewToy).
* CallBack: At one point, when the children pick up a letter from the Conte at Barbarossa's shop, Barbarossa presses them for details about what the Conte asked them to steal, and Bo taunts him with stories about its appearance, mentioning diamonds and pearls. [[spoiler: Barbarossa later sneaks to the Isola Segreta and threatens Morosina with harm, demanding that she show him the treasure with "huge diamonds and pearls."]]
* CinderellaCircumstances: In [[spoiler: the Conte's]] backstory.
* ClickHello: Ida does this (except without the click because her rifle doesn't actually work) to the kids when they break into her house in the middle of the night and start arguing amongst themselves.
* CoolBigSis: Ida isn't actually anyone's sister, but she fits the character description.
* CoolMask: Scipio wears a black, bird-beaked plague doctor mask that effectively creeps the other kids out.
* ContrivedCoincidence: Victor likely wouldn't have found Prosper and Bo, and by extension wouldn't have been involved in nearly as much of the plot, if he hadn't happened to run into Prosper while he was out getting pizza.
* CutenessOverload: Happens to Ester when she meets Ernesto, resulting in ImTakingHerHomeWithMe.
* CutenessProximity: In-story we're told that Bo inspires this reaction in adults.
* DisappearedDad: Prosper and Bo's late mother is mentioned several times, but never their father.
* DontSplitUsUp: This is the premise for the entire book. After their mother dies, Propser and Bo's aunt decides that she only wants one of the boys--cute, cuddly, five-year-old Bo. Prosper is sent away. This leads to Prosper kidnapping his brother, running to Venice, and finding the rest of the gang while avoiding the private detective his aunt sends after him.
* DyeOrDie: Bo is too easily recognizable with his blond baby-angel curls, so when Prosper realizes Victor is after them, Hornet cuts Prop's hair very short and dyes Bo's black with ink. Not played entirely straight, however, as Victor still recognizes the boys immediately the next time he sees them.
* TheEndOfTheBeginning: This is implied rather than stated in the last chapter. While everyone more or less gets [[EarnYourHappyEnding "And they lived happily ever after"]], this trope certainly applies, ''especially'' for young Ernesto.
* EvilRedhead: Barbarossa.
* TheFagin: The Thief Lord
* FakeUltimateHero: [[spoiler: Scipio/the Thief Lord]].
* FiveManBand: The Thief Lord's gang is something of this:
** TheHero: Scipio.
** TheLancer: Prosper.
** TheBigGuy: Mosca.
** TheSmartGuy: Usually Hornet, though sometimes Mosca or Prop as well.
** TheChick: Hornet.
** TagalongKid: Bo.
** Poor Riccio is mostly just the [[PluckyComicRelief comic relief]].
* FreudianExcuse: The Conte
* GentlemanThief: Scipio tries to be one. As best as a 13-year-old boy can be one, anyway.
* GrowingUpSucks: Played with. According to [[spoiler: Scipio]], it's actually not that bad.
** But played straight with the Conte, whose deepest wish is to be a child again as he never had a real childhood to begin with.
* HappilyAdopted: Hornet, Prosper, and Bo are all adopted by [[spoiler: Ida Spavento]] in the end.
* HeroAntagonist: Victor early on in the book.
* HeroicBSOD: Prosper when Bo is taken away. Hornet has a somewhat milder one while she is in the orphanage.
* [[IdenticalGrandson Identical Son]]: Scipio and his father, so much that [[spoiler: when Scipio is magically aged, Barbarossa mistakes him for his father]]
* InstantMessengerPigeon: From the Conte.
* KickTheDog: We already knew that Barbarossa was a crooked, greedy bastard (and not even a magnificent one at that), but his actions on the Conte's island (intending to rob an old man, dragging a little girl around by her hair, and poisoning the Conte's dogs) show his true colors.
* KickTheSonOfABitch: Everyone's treatment of [[spoiler: toddler]] Barbarossa near the end of the book.
* KidHero
* KnownOnlyByTheirNickname: Hornet. Even Mosca and Riccio, who have lived with her for months and were probably friends before that don't know what her real name is.
** This actually becomes important to the plot when she is captured by the police and taken in by the Merciful Sisters, but Victor and Ida don't know how to find out where she is because they don't know her name. Prosper finds out when he sees that she has written it inside some of her books.
** Also, the Thief Lord to Barbarossa. They have never met. Barbarossa has only ever dealt with the other children, whom he thinks work for the [[ExpectingSomeoneTaller ''adult'']] master thief.
* LetsSplitUpGang: And it actually works.
* LimaSyndrome: How the children befriend Victor. However, they don't actually let him go; he manages to escape on his own, and some of the kids still mistrust him even after he gives his [[IGaveMyWord word of honor]] that he won't turn them in to the police.
* LivingADoubleLife: [[spoiler: Scipio]].
* MagicalRealism: The story is realistic up until the magical carousel, [[spoiler: which turns out to be real]].
* TheMasquerade: [[spoiler: Scipio was never a street-smart prodigy thief, he was a rich kid who simply stole from his father's mansion.]]
* [[MeddlingParents Meddling Aunt]]: To Prosper, Esther is the annoying variety.
* MissingMom: The death of Prosper and Bo's mother is what inspires their running away to Venice in the first place. [[spoiler: Scipio]]'s mom isn't dead, but she travels a lot.
* MockMillionaire: [[spoiler: The Conte, who is actually not a Conte.]]
* TheMovie
* NoodleImplements: Invoked.
* ObfuscatingStupidity: Victor. As a "snoop", it's part of the job description. He even has certain disguises meant specifically to make him look like a dimwitted tourist so he can be as unobtrusive as possible.
* OrphansPlotTrinket: Ida was given the wing for the merry-go-round by the nuns in the orphanage where she grew up.
* ParentalAbandonment: All the kids suffer this. Prosper and Bo's mother died shortly before the story began and their father is never mentioned; Mosca's family apparently doesn't want anything to do with him; Riccio has nowhere to go but an orphanage; Hornet refuses to talk about her past because it makes her too sad, but it's pretty clear that she too has nowhere to go. Even [[spoiler: Scipio, whose parents aren't dead but cold and uncaring towards him]].
** Also Ida, who grew up in an orphanage. And even the Conte and his sister.
** Heck, even Victor is implied to have been subjected to this. He mentions that he has run away from home before, wistfully wishes he'd had an older brother to look after him, and has a lot of sympathy for the stray children's plight.
* PhantomThief: The Thief Lord has a reputation with his gang for being one.
* PlagueDoctor: Scipio dresses like this once.
* PlotCoupon: The wooden wing Scipio is hired to steal.
* PluckyComicRelief: Riccio and sometimes Bo.
* PrivateDetective: Victor, and later [[spoiler: Scipio]].
* PromotionToParent: Prosper to Bo, though he doesn't acknowledge he's doing it.
* TheQueensLatin: In the movie. Even though they're in Venice, everyone appears to speak perfect British English.
** Averted in the book, where it's mentioned at least once that they ''are'' speaking Italian.
* RevolversAreJustBetter: Victor seems to think so.
* RichBitch: Esther
* ScaryShinyGlasses: The Conte in the confessional.
* ShipTease: [[{{Fan Preferred Couple}} Prosper and Hornet]].
** It's almost a 'blink and you'll miss it' thing in the book. The movie plays it up a lot more; the last scene of the movie ends with them cuddling on a boat with Victor, Ida, and Bo.
* TeamMom: Hornet, sometimes.
* TitleDrop: As "the Thief Lord" is Scipio's nickname, it appears multiple times. But, in an [[TheEndOfTheBeginning interesting twist]], those are also the last three words of the book.
* TrueCompanions: A key element of the story is the Thief Lord's true companions.
* TheUnfavourite: Esther doesn't want Prosper, only cute, angel-haired Bo.
* UnspokenPlanGuarantee: Played straight with a chapter ending on Hornet's line, "I have a plan." But averted later on when Scipio tells everyone his "crazy idea" [[spoiler: to get Ester to adopt toddler Barbarossa]]. Prosper tells him that there's no way it will work, but then it does.
* WhatMeasureIsANoncute: Applied to humans, strangely. Esther dotes over Bo only because he's a cute, innocent-looking little boy and refuses to take Prosper into her home because he, in Victor's words, "doesn't look like a teddy bear anymore". Once Bo starts acting out, Esther doesn't want anything to do with him.
* [[WickedStepmother Wicked Aunt]]: Esther, from Prosper's POV. She tried to separate the brothers by sending Prosper to a boarding school, which is why the boys run away.
* WoundedGazelleGambit: Hornet uses this to great effect in order to get Victor distracted and off the kids' trail. She grabs hold of him and yells like she's being kidnapped. Poor Victor has no idea what's going on, but, mistaken for a "child snatcher", he gets attacked by several outraged onlookers and arrested by the police, allowing the children to sneak away.

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