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Sunday Afternoon Visits: July 9th

Thieves Like Us: Stephen Cole

Thieves Like Us is a young adult novel by Stephen Cole. I picked this book up from my local bookstore on a whim, because I thought that it looked like fun. It's the story of five teenagers who have been plucked from dead-end lives to live with a mysterious Englishman named Nathaniel Coldhardt. Each of the teens has been chosen for some extraordinary skill (computer genius, human lie detector, security specialist, etc.), and they work for Coldhardt as high-end thieves and adventurers.

In this novel, which could be the first of a series, Jonah Wish is broken out of jail by the rest of the team, and invited to join them. They value his computer skills, though he is far from certain that a life of crime is what he's really looking for. But he soon bonds with the other kids: Motti the security expert, Con the fighter and mesmerizer, Tye the human lie detector, and Patch, a gifted young thief with one eye.

Coldhardt sends the five teens on a quest involving priceless artifacts and a possible formula for eternal life. They require high-tech skills to break into modern buildings, and more specialized skills to crack an ancient tomb. They fly around Europe and the Middle East, and experience high-speed car chases, fights, kidnappings, and secret supernatural sects. I would think that this book will appeal to fans of the Anthony Horowitz novels and the Young Bond series by Charles Higson.

All in all, this book reminded me of Indiana Jones crossed with Sneakers. It seems tailor made to be a movie (I think that Sean Connery would be wonderful as the enigmatic Coldhardt). But the characterization is more in-depth than you usually come across in fast-paced adventure stories, with flashes of elaborate back-stories for each of the main characters. I think that it will do well as a series.

Stephen Cole works as a freelance editor while writing books for children and young adults. He was born in 1971 and brought up in rural Bedfordshire, England. His previous young adult books include the Wereling series (starting with Wounded).

Book: Thieves Like Us
Author: Stephen Cole
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Original Publication Date: 2006
Pages: 350
Age Range: 12 and up
Time Spent: 3 hours

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