The Magic Thief (Magic Thief Series #1)

The Magic Thief (Magic Thief Series #1)


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Discover the fantasy and wonder of The Magic Thief, the first book in Sarah Prineas’s acclaimed middle grade fantasy series! Diana Wynne Jones, author of Howl's Moving Castle, said: "I couldn't put it down. Wonderful, exciting stuff."

In a city that runs on a dwindling supply of magic, a young boy is drawn into a life of wizardry and adventure. Conn should have dropped dead the day he picked Nevery's pocket and touched the wizard's locus magicalicus, a stone used to focus magic and work spells. But for some reason he did not. Nevery finds that interesting, and he takes Conn as his apprentice on the provision that the boy find a locus stone of his own. But Conn has little time to search for his stone between wizard lessons and helping Nevery discover who—or what—is stealing the city of Wellmet's magic.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061375903
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 04/21/2009
Series: Magic Thief Series , #1
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 448
Sales rank: 249,261
Product dimensions: 5.60(w) x 7.10(h) x 1.10(d)
Lexile: 680L (what's this?)
Age Range: 10 - 13 Years

About the Author

Sarah Prineas lives in the midst of the corn in rural Iowa, where she wrangles dogs, cats, chickens, and goats, goes on lots of hikes, and finds time to write. She is also the author of Ash & Bramble, a retelling of Cinderella. She is married to a physics professor and has two kids. You can visit Sarah online at

Read an Excerpt

The Magic Thief

Chapter One

A thief is a lot like a wizard. I have quick hands. And I can make things disappear. But then I stole the wizard's locus magicalicus and nearly disappeared myself forever.

It was a late night in the Twilight, black-dark as the inside of a burglar's bag. The streets were deserted. A sooty fog crept up from the river, and the alleyways echoed with shadows. Around me I felt the city, echoing and empty, desolate and dead.

The cobblestones under my bare feet were slick with the evening's rain. No luck that day for my quick, pocket-pick hands, and I hadn't managed to filch my supper or a bit of copper to buy it with. I was hollow with hunger. I might have tried somewhere else, except that the Underlord had a word out on me, and his minions would beat the fluff out of me if they could. Keeping an eye out, I lurked in an alleyway.

At dusk, the shift had changed at the factories along the river, and the workers had trudged by, up the hill to their tenements, and I hadn't even bothered to try them. They never had any spare money. Now it was late. The rain started up again, not a hard rain, but a cold one, just enough to get into your bones and make you shiver. A good night for misery eels. I hunched into my lurking spot and thought about warm dinners.

Then I heard it. Step step tap. Step step tap. I edged back into my alley shadows to wait, and along he came. Old man, I thought. A bent, bearded, cloak-wearing old croakety croak leaning on a cane. Climbing the steep street toward me. Muttering to himself. His purse, I decided, would be paying for my dinner, though he didn't know it yet.

At my corner, he paused. Fog smoked around him. He lifted his head, and I saw the gleam of a keen-eyed glance beneath his wide-brimmed hat. Nobody here, I thought. Just us shadows. He lowered his head and went on. Step step tap. Step step tap.

I was a shadow, a breath of air, light-feather fingers and—quick hands—I ghosted up behind him, dipped into his cloak pocket, grabbed what I found within, and was gone. Away clean.

Or so I thought. The old man went on, not noticing a thing, and I slipped back into my alley and opened my hand to see what I'd got for my trouble. Maybe enough for a nice roast pork dinner, a few potatoes with pepper, some pie for afters.

Even in the shadows, the thing I'd stolen was darker than dark, and though it was small, a stone no bigger than a baby's fist, it was heavier than the heart of a man on his way to the gallows tree. It was a magical thing. The wizard's locus magicalicus. As I stared down at the wizardly stone, it started to glow. Soft at first, with the red warmth of coals in a winter hearth. Then, a sudden fierce flash of lightning and the alley was alive with dancing, flashing light, the shadows fleeing like frightened black cats.

I heard the wizard coming back. Step step tap. Step step tap. Quickly I fisted the stone and shoved it down deep into my pocket. Darkness fell again. As I turned, blinking the brights from my eyes to look, the old man came tip-tapping around my corner, and, reaching out with a big hand, grabbed me by the shoulder.

"Well, boy," he said. His voice was strong and gravelly.

I stood still. I know trouble when it grabs me.

The old man looked down at me with keen-glancing eyes. Silence for a long, dark moment. In my pocket, the stone weighed and warmed. Then he said, "You look hungry."

Well, yes. I was. Carefully, cautiously, I nodded.

"Then I will buy you some dinner," the old man said. "Roast pork, perhaps? Potatoes and pie?"

I swallowed. He hadn't realized I'd nicked his focus locus stone, had he? Would I go with him, then? Eat a good dinner against the cold and wet night? My head was telling me this was not a good idea. The old man was a wizard, clear as clear, and what kind of fool sits down to eat dinner with a wizard?

But my empty-since-yesterday stomach was telling me even louder that it wanted pork and peppered potatoes and pie. It told me to nod and I did. "Well then," the old man wizard said. "The chophouse on the corner is still open." He let me go and started step-tapping down the street, and I went with him. "I am Nevery," he said. "And your name?"

Telling wizards your name is generally not a good idea. I didn't answer. Just walked along beside him. Carefully, so Nevery couldn't see, I put my hand into my pocket. The locus stone fit smoothly into my palm, heavy and warm. With the stone in my hand, the night felt less cold and damp, my stomach less empty. The wizard seemed to be looking ahead to the chophouse on the corner, but I caught a glimpse of his keen-gleam eyes, watching me from under the brim of his hat.

The chophouse was lit by a coal fire in the hearth and was empty except for its keeper. "Dinner," the wizard ordered, and held up two fingers. The chophouse keeper nodded and went to fetch the food. We settled at a table, me with my back against the wall, Nevery blocking my way to the door.

"Well, boy," the wizard said, taking off his hat. In the brighter light I saw that his eyes were black and his hair, beard, and eyebrows silver gray. Beneath his dark gray cloak, he wore black trousers and a black frock coat with a velvet collar and an embroidered black waistcoat, all of it just a bit shabby, as if he'd once had more money than he did now. He leaned his gold-knobbed cane against the table. "A cold, wet night for travelers, is it not?"

A cold, wet night for anyone, I thought. I nodded.

He looked at me. I looked back....

The Magic Thief. Copyright © by Sarah Prineas. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Magic Thief (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition) 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 147 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book is an amazing book! I would recommend this book to any person who likes the Percy Jackson series.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
Conn was just hoping for a few coins to buy food when he picked the pocket of the wizard who passed his alleyway. What he gets is an adventure far bigger than he could have imagined. The wizard, Nevery, takes an interest in Conn, and takes him in as a servant and then an apprentice. With regular meals, blankets to sleep under, and enough magical objects and lessons to keep Conn's eager mind occupied, the once-homeless boy couldn't be happier.

Unfortunately for Conn, nothing is as simple as it seems. Before he can truly become an apprentice, he must find his locus magicalicus (the stone which will focus his magical power) in a most unlikely place, convince Nevery that one of his fellow wizards is consorting with the city's cruel Underlord, and figure out why the city's magic is fading away--and how to save it--before the city dies from the lack of it. It's a terribly large task for a boy who has only just started learning his letters, but Conn is nothing if not resourceful.

THE MAGIC THIEF will pull readers in so completely that they'll have trouble setting the book aside. The details of the Victorian-esque world are so vividly drawn that readers will feel the chill of the icy winds and taste the buttery goodness of Conn's favorite biscuits. What makes the book particularly special is Conn himself. His voice is lively, with exactly the sort of street-smart practicality and frankness you'd expect from a boy who has spent most of his life on the streets. Despite his criminal background, Conn is good-hearted, and simply longs for a place where he can make something of himself.

Readers will sympathize with his struggle to prove himself to Nevery and the city's authorities, and appreciate his clear-headed thinking amid all the secrecy and scheming of the adults around him. The novel's conclusion is quite satisfying, while leaving lots open for the second book in the trilogy, which many will be clamoring to get as soon as they have finished this one. An all-round enjoyable read that easily stands out from the many fantasy novels on the shelves.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I absolutely love this book! It is well written, cool and a great page turner for all ages! One of my favs.!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This story contains characters that have hidden layers that are revealed as you get to know them. The world of Wellmet has been carefully constructed by Sarah Prineas, allowing the reader to really enter that world. This stories contains humor, suspense, and optimism. Pick it up today!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved this book and the rest of the trilogy too.
RachKrist Gruenwald More than 1 year ago
this is such a good book!!!!!!! i recomend this for all people who love fiction and excitement.
J3v0n More than 1 year ago
An Appealing Books for Children Because that's who the book were meant for. If your expecting memorable characters or plot line that will distinguish this title from obscurity (pfttt) then you'll be disappointed. Magic thief is a time waster or time killer depending on your point-of-view.
Miyuki Drakes More than 1 year ago
Good. Reccommended
Kevin Bowne More than 1 year ago
it is a great book i highly recomend this book
Amy Gudgel More than 1 year ago
An exellent book for all ages! It is fantasy, but woderful.
Sensitivemuse More than 1 year ago
This book was a short quick read, and filled with action to keep you turning page after page. What I really liked is the really neat illustrations that comes with each chapter. Also in between chapters, is pages that looks like it's from Nevery's journal in his writing and in his point of view which adds a little bit more to the plot to round it out evenly. This was also nice to read and it was a nice addition to the book. What I also enjoyed were the names of the places and setting of the book: City of Wellmet, and within the city there are districts like: The Twilight (bad area!) or The Sunrise (rich area), Heartsease (where Conn and Nevery live). Places like these make the setting more magical and fantastical, but I like it as it adds more feeling to the setting. What's also a neat little add on to the book is at the end you'll find two recipes for biscuits. You'll find in the novel, the significance of them and how they're a very common object in the novel. There is also a glossary and a few extras at the back of the book which is also a nice add on. Conn sort of reminds me of Oliver Twist a little, he's a thief and a street orphan who managed to survive for all this time before he met Nevery. He's very brave and reckless and his curiosity and stubbornness does get the best out of him, but since the book is in his point of view his thoughts were very amusing and sometimes funny to read, especially when he meets with the Duchess and with the incident with the truth serum and the guards (a funny moment in the book). He's a great character, and an exciting one who's not afraid of going out there in the city all by himself which always creates some form of trouble or excitement. However, I wish there was more to Nevery. Hopefully in the next book there will be a little more background information about him. It's certainly not necessary but it's always nice to read about it to give the character a more "rounded" out feel and not be so two dimensional. Another character I am curious about is Benet. I'd like to know more about him as well. It seems at times that background information might be helpful or perhaps would have helped in making the plot and its' characters have more depth but then again, it's not necessary and perhaps it will all be explained in the next books to come. Overall a great page turner with plenty of action, comedy, and fantasy. I couldn't have asked for anything better. Think of Oliver Twist in a fantastical setting. I will definitely be picking up the next book in this series it's certainly well worth it!
BookLuvinAngel More than 1 year ago
I loved the story and the action in The Magic Thief. I just couldn't put it down once Conn was sneaking in to the palace. And I just about bit my nails off when he got captured by the Underlord Crowe's right hand man Pettivox and almost strangeled by the misery ells. Overall it was a great book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
AMAZING book!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Magic Thief By: Sarah Prineas A fantasy novel like no other! When Connwaer picks the pocket of a wizard he finds the wizards locus magicalicus, but the stone doesn’t kill Connwear right away.The wizard is impressed by this and takes Conn in as a servant, but Conn later becomes an apprentice. Every apprentice needs a locus magicalicus, so Conn is given 30 days to find one. In the meantime the underlord is coming up with a scheme of stealing Wellmet’s magic. When Conn is on the last day of his search he comes to the house of the duchess and finds that the centerpiece of her necklace is in fact his locus magicalicus. When I first read this book I was drawn into the storyline and the writing technique of Sarah Prineas. See how Sarah Prineas draws you into an addictive book about a thief who becomes a wizard. I expected a book where the main character finds out he is a wizard and does magic and spells, but in this book you have adventure and mystery.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Okay, would have quitting but I have never quit on a book before. Really dry and boring. I kept waiting for the part where Conn saves the day. When I got there, really boring, it was written like a minor action. Conn saving the day was also, like, only one page. I'm really disappointed. This could have been a good book if it were more interesting
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love these books. They are sooooooo good read them over and over again. Conn is a gutter boy he has " quick hands" quite good for picking pockets but when he picks a unsuspecting wizards pocket... he does not know what he's in for !
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a book about a boy named conn. He goes on a wonderful mission to save his city. If you love fantasy, fiction, adventure, mystery, or a mix of everything, you will LOVE this book. And do NOT forget to read the other two books in the series too! Not a dull moment in this WONDERFUL book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is a amazing book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So goodid more
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So awesome
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very teeth chatering
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is so mysterious and is just so hard to put down!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I dont find it much like percy jackson but those are good books by the way. I like it a lot. Its a great book and series. I like the lady the lady that talkswith a lithp [^_^] although she's kinda mean to conn. Nevery is cool too. ANYONE WHO HAS COMMON SENSE AND LIKES MAGIC STUFF SHOULDREAD THESE BOOKS!