Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Mark of the Thief (Mark of the Thief, #1)” as Want to Read:
Mark of the Thief (Mark of the Thief, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Mark of the Thief (Mark of the Thief #1)

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  6,636 Ratings  ·  1,045 Reviews
When Nic, a slave in the mines outside of Rome, is forced to enter a sealed cavern containing the lost treasures of Julius Caesar, he finds much more than gold and gemstones: He discovers an ancient bulla, an amulet that belonged to the great Caesar and is filled with a magic once reserved for the Gods -- magic some Romans would kill for.

Now, with the deadly power of the b
Kindle Edition, 352 pages
Published February 24th 2015 by Scholastic Press
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
I listened to this as an audiobook with my two kids, and I have to say, I really enjoyed it.

We recently finished listening to the audiobooks of the Ascendance Trilogy and so we moved on Neilson's newest series, Mark of the Thief. This is a fast-paced middle grade fantasy adventure set in Ancient Rome. The story combines historical fiction with light fantasy elements and it works quite beautifully.

However, I think what really made the whole thing so enjoyable for me, and for my kids, was the ex
Jan 30, 2014 marked it as to-read
Oooooooooh.... Jennifer Nielsen + Ancient Rome + Magic = Certain Awesomeness.
See? I can be good at math. Cuz that answer is almost definitely RIGHT.
Whitley Birks
Apr 03, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2015
I wasn’t really feeling this one. It had potential, to be sure, but everything about it was too rushed and too fractured to really do it for me.

The first half of the book (at least, possibly more) was just one long series of unfortunate events that knocked the hero hither and yon. A couple of those are fun, sure, but when it’s one after another after another after another? And that point you’re just avoiding the plot. It was impossible to get things actually moving when everyone gets bowled over
Mar 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya, fantasy-sci-fi
Another enjoyable read by this reliably good author. The characters are well developed, the story moved quickly and the setting of ancient Rome was nicely illustrated, lending the book that extra air of intrigue. It's a fairly mild fantasy novel, but I didn't mind, mostly because I thought Nic was a solid character, who was brave but not arrogantly unafraid, and thus a figure I could root easily for. Nielsen, I think, will never produce very grim, twisty fantasy novels in the vein of Holly Black ...more
May 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: middle-grade, fantasy
Urg, this book has me tied in knots. I never knew how anything was going to played out. Then you get all cozy, safe in your nest then WHAM! Nielsen knocks you out of whatever comfort zone you may have fallen in to and your racing against the clock with Nic as he fights his way out of another jam.

Nic is a young mine slave, working through the dark mines. One day Nic is forced into going into a sealed cavern. Then under a Griffin paw's a bulla that once belong to Julius Caesar, a bulla with loc
This is the author who has written my favorite children’s book series. Queen of the Plot Twists.

I was, of course, excited to read this series, which I have been holding off for a few years.

Here are some of my thoughts:
• I love the mythology, historical context, and GRIFFINS. Seriously, that griffin, is just the cutest, crankiest thing!
• I like Nic. I also can’t help but compare him to Sage from The False Prince who is my absolute favorite. Sage is one of the must clever and lovable characters
Nenia ✨ Queen of Literary Trash, Protector of Out-of-Print Gems, Khaleesi of Bodice Rippers, Mother of Smut, the Unrepentant, Breaker of Convention ✨ Campbell

Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || Pinterest

Buddy read with TL. You can check out her review here.

I recently read and loved THE FALSE PRINCE - it was amazing! TFP was a high-stakes fantasy thriller about a young boy who is competing with several other young boys, Hunger Games-style, to impersonate a long-lost prince & save a kingdom from rebellion. I finished that sucker in a single sitting, blown away by the non-stop action and surprise twists. Immediately, I told myself that I
Cait • A Page with a View
2.5 stars. I like this author's other series, but this one was realllly hard to get into. I just didn't particularly care about or connect with the main character (or any of them). Everything felt very simplistic and I was pretty bored, honestly...
Jan 26, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Buddyread with
Nenia :)

Read Nenia's review here

Now, I loved False Prince from this author, it is still one of my favorite books (would make a great movie in my opinion.. hint hint Hollywood!).. the sequel wasn't to my taste but I would still go back to the magic of the first one.
A Night Divided was great as well.
That being said, I was excited to finally tackle this one.. even stayed away from most reviews beforehand though I did hear inklings from other people... put that out of my head and
By all rights, I should have adored this. It has so many components that I love: ancient Rome, mysteriously powerful tokens, the Greek/Roman pantheon, espionage, escape ... and yet.

I felt like there was a wall dividing me from this book. It was a curious sensation. Like I was watching all of the action unspool in front of me, but I couldn't reach out and engage; I couldn't be fully immersed. It's unsettling, to say the least. I struggled to engage and to read every word and follow the action dil
Faye, la Patata
Dec 24, 2015 rated it liked it
Kinda like a milder Red Rising... set in Rome, with modern language.
Mar 09, 2013 marked it as to-read
Shelves: new-for-2015
Okay—Ancient Rome, secret magic, and everything epic.
Then: Expected publication, 2015

Benjamin Thomas
I have not read the author’s previous YA series, the “Ascendance” series but I have heard of its success and so I came to this one with fairly high expectations. Unfortunately, those expectations may have backfired on me. I really wanted to like this one. After all, how can you go wrong with a plot involving a young escaped slave in the later Roman era, treasures of Julius Caesar, Roman gladiator-style action, political backstabbing-intrigue, and a griffon companion?

For most readers to really ge
Come into Roman Empire and watch the fighting of gladiators. No, they don't fight by using spears, they uses magic.

Nick is a young slave in the mine outside of Rome. He is forced to steal Julius Caesar's bulla *the one you saw on the cover*, the ancient powerful bulla which contain the magic from a Goddess and give it to a General of Roman Empire. Finally, Nick winds up keep it himself instead and then the adventure begins.


I haven't read much of YA book in Roman period so it's quite interesting
m a r y l i z
OKAY SO I HAD A MINOR INTERRUPTION. This book was due back at the library and I just got it back today. Thanks, library. :P

Honestly, I had hoped for more from this book but it was just kind of "meh." I liked Nic and Aurelia okay, but they really didn't stand out to me a whole lot. The setting wasn't my favorite since I'm not really big on Roman history. The writing also felt sub-par compared to her other books...but maybe that's just me being biased. I DON'T KNOW. xD

My one major concern was all
Apr 05, 2014 marked it as waiting-for-more  ·  review of another edition
Just finished reading the amazingly spectacular The False Prince and it has most definitely guaranteed the wonderful Jennifer Nielsen as a writer on my Forever Fave list.
Apr 02, 2018 rated it liked it
Andrea C
Oct 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014-2015
it was a fun adventure through roman times! i look forward to the next one in the series.
Colleen Houck
If Gladiator had magic and was YA then you'd have Mark of the Thief. This one is for all you history geeks who love ancient Rome. Love the griffin and the way the magic is imbued on the hero. Favorite scene was the final battle in the Colosseum.
Avery (ThePagemaster)
4.75 our of 5 Stars!

I finished this book, literally, minutes after midnight and as much as I wanted to talk about this book, I needed to sleep on this book. Now, with a cup of coffee, I'm ready to talk about Mark of the Thief.

So the book starts off with Nic, and for the past five years, he's been a slave, in a mine, in search or Ceasar's bulla--what you see on the cover, an amulet of sorts. Life's not good to him; the only family he has is his sister. That is, until it is Nic who discovers the b
Jul 03, 2014 rated it liked it
3 1/2 I loved Ms Nielsen's False Prince trilogy, it completely took my by surprise and I loved every minute of reading all three books. I was eager to read her follow up "Mark of the Thief". I enjoyed this book but not nearly as much as I did the previous series. The book was a quick read and it did entertain but I never felt the connection to slave turned into magic user Nic. I loved the griffin and the parts of the novel which deal with the events in the stadium. I didn't connect with some oth ...more
Dec 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
And Jennifer Nielsen does it again! Another fast paced, page turning first book in a new trilogy that middle grade readers are going to love!
Zane Jones
Sep 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars. Although I absolutely loved the Ascendance Trilogy by the same author, Mark of the Thief, although enjoyable, fell a little flat for me. There was some annoying info-dumping going on, and, overall, the writing wasn't as good. Still a fun, quick read, and I want the next book now. That cliffhanger though. ;)
Cool action!

Again, Jennifer Nielsen wrote an amusing, full of action and witty book just like The False Prince. I wouldn’t say that The Mark of the Thief was very similar to the other books the author had written. On one point, this book wasn’t as humorous as False Prince nor had a too cunning character and surprising turn of events.

However, The Mark of the Thief is very creative, exciting and interesting.

The story was set in at the time of the Roman Empire. At what BC or AD,
Terry (Ter05 TwiMoms/ MundieMoms)
This author's Ascendance Trilogy beginning with The False Prince is a favorite of mine - loved all three books and thus I bought this newly released book. I wanted to love it but just did not. It was an action packed interesting take on Roman times post Caesar with a fiction twist thrown in - Magic! Nic is a young slave in the mines, and this is his story. It's a story of escape, court intrigue, and one escapade after another as he finds him self with a mark on his shoulder and an ancient Bulla ...more
Adrianna [SypherLily]
Rome, ancient magic, gods... what can go wrong?!

I feel like if I explained all that this book is about, you'd raise your eyebrow at me and think I'm silly for not loving this.

This is action packed! You're thrust onto this adventure with Nic, a slave who has lived in the mines for most of his life.

There's a griffin - a beast of the gods, an amulet - a bulla hidden among Caesar's treasure that is rumored to bestow magical power, and an impending war - one that can only be stopped with before ment
Dawn Abron
Nov 08, 2014 rated it liked it

Nic is a slave in Ancient Rome and on a mission to raid Julius Caesar’s tomb, he finds Caeser’s bulla. After he puts the bulla around his neck, he gains world ending powers that are coveted by the good and the bad.

Dang, That Was Good
•Neilsen’s writing style is similar to the Ascendence Trilogy. ◾Strong, quick witted male protagonist.
◾Non-stop action
◾Just enough middle grade appropriate sexual tension.
◾Unpredictable plot twists

•It’s set in Ancient Rome and it’s pretty historical
Dec 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
it was a great book and the last word was just horrible it makes you want the secound book right away we were lucky though we were the first to see the book and one of the first to ever get it its a fantastic read
Dec 28, 2015 rated it did not like it
Some of the worst characterization I've seen in a book in a long time. No one is remotely consistent (well, except that the female characters are weak idiots who are trusting under really stupid circumstances), no one is plausible, no one is human. They are paper cutouts in various shapes being shoved around a set.
Sam L
Oct 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book was the best book I read this year! That is saying something. I finished the book on the day it came out! This book is the best fantasy book I have ever read! :)
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Mark of The Thief: is it worth continuing to the sequal? 5 19 Dec 15, 2017 07:08PM  
HMSA Summer Reading: Book Review: Mark of the Thief 1 2 Oct 11, 2017 10:58PM  
HMSA Summer Reading: Book Review 2 5 Aug 16, 2017 03:10PM  
Bolivar Class of ...: Mark of the Thief, by Jennifer A. Nielsen 1 9 Aug 12, 2016 06:01PM  
  • The Mark of the Dragonfly
  • Jinx's Fire (Jinx #3)
  • Dragon on Trial (Menagerie, #2)
  • Omega City (Omega City, #1)
  • Frostborn (Thrones & Bones, #1)
  • Diary of a Mad Brownie
  • The Fog Diver (The Fog Diver, #1)
  • Deadweather and Sunrise (The Chronicles of Egg, #1)
  • The Eighth Day (Eighth Day, #1)
  • Chasing Secrets
  • The Boys of Fire and Ash
  • The Blackthorn Key (The Blackthorn Key, #1)
  • The Hero's Guide to Storming the Castle (The League of Princes, #2)
  • Woven
  • Jack: The True Story of Jack and the Beanstalk
  • Hide and Seek (Silver Jaguar Society Mysteries #2)
  • Mars Evacuees (Mars Evacuees #1)
  • Masterminds (Masterminds, #1)
Jennifer lives at the base of a very tall mountain in Northern Utah with her husband, three children, and a naughty puppy. She loves the smell of rainy days, hot chocolate, and old books, preferably all at once. She is a former speech teacher, theater director, and enjoyed a brief but disastrous career as a door-to-door pollster. In her spare time, Jennifer tends to panic, wondering what she has f ...more
More about Jennifer A. Nielsen

Other books in the series

Mark of the Thief (3 books)
  • Rise of the Wolf (Mark of the Thief, #2)
  • Wrath of the Storm (Mark of the Thief, #3)

Fantasy & Science Fiction Deals

  • Bright Smoke, Cold Fire (Bright Smoke, Cold Fire, #1)
    $3.99 $0.99
  • The Gold-Son
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Trail of Dead (Scarlett Bernard, #2)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Regulars
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Childhood's End
    $8.99 $1.99
  • The Mirror
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Nyxia (The Nyxia Triad, #1)
    $10.99 $1.99
  • The Voyage to Magical North (The Accidental Pirates)
    $5.67 $2.99
  • Raven's Peak (World on Fire, #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • That Hideous Strength: (Space Trilogy, Book Three) (The Space Trilogy 3)
    $14.99 $1.99
  • Swords and Deviltry (Lankhmar, 1)
    $17.99 $1.99
  • Rebel Wing (Rebel Wing #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Snow Like Ashes (Snow Like Ashes, #1)
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Garden of Stones (Echoes of Empire, #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Dracula [Kindle in Motion]
    $1.99 $0.99
  • The Dark Tower: And Other Stories
    $7.99 $1.99
  • The Autumn Republic (Powder Mage #3)
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Thickety: A Path Begins
    $6.24 $1.99
  • Stinger
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Lost Voices
    $5.99 $2.99
  • The Blade Itself (The First Law, #1)
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Out of the Silent Planet (Space Trilogy, #1)
    $5.74 $1.99
  • Extracted (Extracted Trilogy #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • This Savage Song (Monsters of Verity, #1)
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Dragon Haven (Rain Wild Chronicles, #2)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Isle of Blood and Stone
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Spirit Hunters
    $6.99 $1.99
  • Loved (House of Night Other World #1)
    $11.00 $0.99
  • The Terranauts
    $10.99 $1.99
  • Haven (War of the Princes, #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Immortal Circus (Cirque des Immortels, #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Howl's Moving Castle (Howl's Moving Castle, #1)
    $3.99 $0.99
  • Brilliance (Brilliance Saga, #1)
    $5.49 $1.99
  • The Immortal Circus: Act Two (Cirque des Immortels, #2)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • A Better World (Brilliance Saga, #2)
    $5.49 $1.99
  • Written in Fire (Brilliance Saga, #3)
    $5.49 $1.99
  • The Immortal Circus: Final Act (Cirque des Immortels, #3)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Secret of the Sirens (The Companions Quartet, #1)
    $3.99 $0.99
  • Ocean of Storms
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Sword of Shannara Trilogy (Shannara, #1-3)
    $19.99 $2.99
  • Artful
    $3.99 $0.99
  • Till We Have Faces: A Myth Retold
    $8.99 $1.99
  • Beautiful Darkness (Caster Chronicles, #2)
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Chains of Command (Frontlines, #4)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Angles of Attack (Frontlines, #3)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Lines of Departure (Frontlines, #2)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Now I Rise (The Conqueror's Saga #2)
    $10.99 $1.99
  • Into the Dim
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Terms of Enlistment (Frontlines #1)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Fury (Blur Trilogy #2)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Midnight Robber
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Taken (Taken, #1)
    $2.99 $0.99
  • City
    $7.99 $1.99
  • The Chocolate Touch
    $6.99 $1.99
  • Storm (Elemental, #1)
    $6.99 $1.99
  • A Perfect Blood (The Hollows, #10)
    $6.99 $1.99
  • Mama Day
    $17.99 $1.99
  • Dreamfall (Dreamfall #1)
    $8.99 $1.99
  • Imitation (Clone Chronicles #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Infinite
    $5.99 $2.49
  • Boundary Lines (Boundary Magic, #2)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Mermaid's Sister
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Space Between Heartbeats (Betwixt #1)
    $3.99 $0.99
  • Boundary Crossed (Boundary Magic, #1)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Boundary Born (Boundary Magic, #3)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Kissed by Darkness (Sunwalker Saga, #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Dragon Marked (Supernatural Prison, #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Blood Kissed (Lizzie Grace, #1)
    $3.99 $1.49
  • A Glimmer of Hope (The Avalon Chronicles #1)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Celia and the Fairies
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Best Served Cold (First Law World, #4)
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Valor (The Faithful and the Fallen, #2)
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Genesis
    $11.99 $1.99
  • To Honor You Call Us (Man of War, #1)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Hunter's Trail (Scarlett Bernard, #3)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Wool: The Graphic Novel
    $7.99 $2.99
  • And I Darken (The Conqueror's Saga, #1)
    $8.99 $1.99
  • Ticker
    $3.99 $0.99
  • Barsk: The Elephants' Graveyard (Barsk, #1)
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Dead Spots (Scarlett Bernard #1)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Concealed (Lakewood, #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
“When we drew up to the soldiers, Felix told them who he was and about the griffin he was bringing in. A soldier eyed me. “You have new slaves too?” 1 likes
“If I was going to fight this beast — regardless of how poor my chances were — I needed the use of both hands, so I put the bulla around my neck.

A wind swirled up around me when I did. “It isn’t yours,” the wind seemed to say. “It will curse you.”

The threat didn’t bother me — my present situation was worse than any curse from a dusty amulet. My bigger concern was that the wind spoke to me at all.”
More quotes…