Circus of Thieves and the Comeback Caper by William Sutcliffe

Circus of Thieves and the Comeback Caper

Written by William Sutcliffe
Illustrated by David Tazzyman

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The Lovereading4Kids comment

The Austen of audacity, Armitage Shanks, circus master and dastardliest of villains is back and up to no good, to the delight of fans of these wacky, inventive and hugely entertaining books. And indeed, readers are promised (warned?) that this book will be the Shankiest ever written, for there’s not one Shanks centre stage, but two – Armitage we learn has an identically horrible twin, Zachary Shanks. The real hero of the books is of course the thoroughly nice young Billy and it’s more than likely that not only will he be able to see off even two Shanks, but that the effort will be very well worth reading about. Few writers match the frenetic humour and anarchic wit of these stories - they give even Mr Gum a run for his money. Free-wheeling fun! ~ Andrea Reece

Reader Reviews

Some of our readers were lucky enough to review the first in this series, Circus of Thieves and the Raffle of Doom...

  • Jenny Bridgeman, age 9 - 'How can a raffle be doomed? Read on and discover a hilarious adventure, sinister characters, plot twists and derring do!' Read full review >
  • Adi Mehta, age 8 - 'This exciting adventure story leads you to false trails and you get glued to this fantastic adventure.' Read full review >
  • Alexander Bisland, age 8 - 'I always wanted to read on and it had lots of footnotes that I wanted to read. The footnotes had extra information about the story and they explained the words used in the book.' Read full review >
  • Dylan Sweet, age 10 - 'This is a brilliant book that proves some circuses are not all what they seem...I like this book because the characters are funny with all sorts of personalities, and the plot is very imaginative.' Read full review >
  • Eloise Mae Clarkson, age 11 - 'I quite liked this book I would probably give it three out of five stars. I liked how it was funny but serious at the same time.' Read full review >
  • Katie Johnson, age 10 - 'I found this book very funny and liked the notes and comments on several words and phrases - some were absolutely hilarious!' Read full review >
  • Alina Wraith, age 9 - 'I love everything about this book.  I screamed in frustration when this book ended...I definitely want to read the next book so I hope William Sutcliffe hurries up and writes it!' Read full review >
  • Sophie Bridges, age 11 - 'I think Circus of Thieves by William Sutcliffe was good because it was a circus with animals and it was very entertaining.' Read full review >
  • Ewan young, age 11 - 'Hannah is a girl whose life is turned upside-down by the arrival of the circus. A great funny book!' Read full review >
  • Jemma Rubens, age 10 - 'I did expect it to be a little more grown up in terms of vocabulary and plot...I like how it is laid out and the interesting different text formats.' Read full review >
  • Liam Wilson, age 9 - 'This book is the most outrageously, audaciously, courageously, but not mendaciously, funny book ever.' Read full review >


Circus of Thieves and the Comeback Caper by William Sutcliffe

Shank's Impossible Circus rolls back into town for this hilarious brand new adventure from Will Sutcliffe brought to life by wonderful illustrations from David Tazzyman! And there's about to be double the trouble as dastardly ringmaster Armitage Shank comes face to face with his long lost twin! Urgh, how will the world cope with two Shanks?


Praise for the Circus of Thieves series!

'Pure delight… the promised sequel can't come too soon' Independent on Sunday

'Funny, Bizarre and brilliantly illustrated by David Tazzyman, this is perfect for anyone who loves Mr Gum' Sunday Express

'Utterly madcap adventure of sabotage and adventure... wonderfully supported by equally crazy illustrations... nothing short of hilarious' The Guardian

About the Author

William Sutcliffe

William Sutcliffe is the author of five adult novels, including the international bestseller, Are You Experienced? His first novel for Young Adults, The Wall, was published in 2013 to much critical acclaim, including being shortlisted for the Guardian Fiction Prize. Circus of Thieves is his first novel for younger children.

William lives in Edinburgh with his wife and three children.

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Book Info


272 pages
Interest Age: From 9


William Sutcliffe
More books by William Sutcliffe


Simon & Schuster Childrens Books an imprint of Simon & Schuster Ltd

Publication date

19th May 2016




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