from the jacket:
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 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 to a fantastic, spellbinding conclusion.
The Guardian likes it, closing with this:
The humane and masterly work of this German writer and her scrupulous respect for her readers show up much of our home-grown fantasy for the derivative, manipulative dross that it is becoming.
USA Today also likes it, saying it "Display[s] the kind of zest that makes you inhale a book in as few sittings as possible,"