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Authors: Malorie Blackman

Thief!

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About the BookYou’re the new girl in school. You’re just trying to fit in – and it’s not working.Then someone accuses you of theft, and you think things can’t get any worse. Until you get caught in a freak storm …The next thing you know, you’re in the future. Being shot at for being out after curfew. You barely recognise your hometown.And you’re heading for a confrontation from your worst nightmare.Praise for Malorie Blackman:Noughts & Crosses‘A book which will linger in the mind long after it has been read’ObserverKnife Edge‘A powerful story of race and prejudice’Sunday TimesCheckmate‘Another emotional hard-hitter . . .bluntly told and ingeniously constructed’Sunday TimesDouble Cross‘Blackman “gets” people . . . she “gets” humanity as a whole, too. Most of all, she writes a stonking good story’GuardianBoys Don’t Cry‘Shows her writing at its best, creating characters and a story which, once read, will not easily go away’IndependentPig-Heart Boy‘A powerful story about friendship, loyalty and family’GuardianHacker‘Refreshingly new . . . Malorie Blackman writes with such winsome vitality’TelegraphA.N.T.I.D.O.T.E.‘Strong characterisation and pacy dialogue make this a real winner’IndependentThief!‘. . .  impossible to put down’Sunday TelegraphDangerous Reality‘A whodunnit, a cyber-thriller and a family drama: readers of nine or over won’t be able to resist the suspense’Sunday Timeswww.malorieblackman.co.ukAlso by Malorie Blackman:The Noughts & Crosses sequenceNoughts & CrossesKnife EdgeCheckmateDouble CrossA.N.T.I.D.O.T.E.Boys Don’t CryDangerous RealityDead GorgeousHackerPig-Heart BoyThe Deadly Dare MysteriesThe Stuff of NightmaresThief!Unheard Voices(An anthology of short stories and poems, collected by Malorie Blackman)For junior readers, published by Corgi Yearling Books:Cloud BustingOperation Gadgetman!Whizziwig and Whizziwig ReturnsFor beginner readers, published by Corgi Pups/ Young Corgi Books:Jack SweettoothSnow DogSpace RaceThe Monster Crisp-GuzzlerAudio editions available on CDs:Noughts & CrossesKnife EdgeCheckmateDouble CrossThief!Malorie BlackmanCORGI BOOKS

THIEF!AN RHCB DIGITAL EBOOK 978 1 446 45379 7

 

Published in Great Britain by RHCB Digital,an imprint of Random House Children’s BooksA Random House Group Company

 

This ebook edition published 2011

 

Copyright © Oneta Malorie Blackman, 2011

 

First Published in Great Britain

 

Doubleday 97803854041 2011

 

The right of Malorie Blackman to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

 

This ebook is copyright material and must not be copied, reproduced, transferred, distributed, leased, licensed or publicly performed or used in any way except as specifically permitted in writing by the publishers, as allowed under the terms and conditions under which it was purchased or as strictly permitted by applicable copyright law. Any unauthorized distribution or use of this text may be a direct infringement of the author’s and publisher’s rights and those responsible may be liable in law accordingly.

 RANDOM HOUSE CHILDREN’S BOOKS61–63 Uxbridge Road, London W5 5SA www.kidsatrandomhouse.co.ukwww.totallyrandombooks.co.ukwww.randomhouse.co.uk Addresses for companies within The Random House Group Limited can be found at:www.randomhouse.co.uk/offices.htm 

THE RANDOM HOUSE GROUP Limited Reg. No. 954009

 

A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.

 For Neil and Lizzy with loveContents CoverAbout the BookPraise for Malorie BlackmanAlso by Malorie BlackmanTitle PageCopyrightDedication Chapter One: A Decision To MakeChapter Two: Daniel HensonChapter Three: I Don’t Have ItChapter Four: Believe MeChapter Five: Tell The TruthChapter Six: It BeginsChapter Seven: The Message SpreadsChapter Eight: The AccidentChapter Nine: The GetawayChapter Ten: A Change In The WeatherChapter Eleven: HensonvilleChapter Twelve: AnswersChapter Thirteen: MikeChapter Fourteen: Captured!Chapter Fifteen: The MeetingChapter Sixteen: It’s A LieChapter Seventeen: Mrs JoyceChapter Eighteen: Traitor!Chapter Nineteen: You’re Still My SisterChapter Twenty: A Lesson In HatredChapter Twenty-One: To The MoorsChapter Twenty-Two: Old LydiaChapter Twenty-Three: Back At SchoolChapter Twenty-Four: With A Little Help About the AuthorChapter OneA Decision To Make‘Anne, I can’t do it. It’d be stealing.’ Lydia Henson stared at her friend. Then she smiled uncertainly. ‘You’re joking – right?’Anne narrowed her eyes. ‘I might have guessed. I said to the others you’d be too much of a coward. You London folk are all the same. All talk and no action.’‘That’s not fair,’ Lydia protested.The two girls watched each other. The silence in the assembly hall was deafening.‘Look, it’s not really stealing,’ Anne said with exasperation. ‘All you have to do is keep the sports cup in your locker until this time tomorrow. Then just put it back and no one will ever know you took it in the first place.’Lydia stared at her own reflection in the glass-fronted cup cabinet. Black plaits tied back in a pony-tail and round, worried, dark-brown eyes shone back at her. Just an average face at the best of times, but right now it looked nervous – almost scared. Lydia looked past her reflection into the cabinet. Small silver-coloured cups for swimming, individual achievement, teamwork and a host of other school activities decorated the wall cabinet’s three shelves. And there, holding pride of place in the middle of the cabinet, was the best all-rounder’s sports cup.‘If I take it, someone’s bound to spot it’s missing,’ Lydia said unhappily.‘No, they won’t. We’ve each taken it for a day and no one has ever even noticed,’ Anne replied. ‘Besides, no one’s going to bother with a sports cup in the middle of the winter term.’‘But it’s stealing,’ Lydia whispered.‘Not if you only take it for one day. Besides, do you want to be in our group or don’t you?’ Anne frowned, folding her arms across her chest.And that was the problem, because they both knew that Lydia wanted to belong. She wanted to belong to the Cosmics very much indeed. And Anne was the leader of the Cosmics, so she had the final say as to who could join and who couldn’t.Lydia looked at the sports cup which glinted in the fluorescent lights of the assembly hall.‘So each of you has already done this?’ Lydia said, chewing slowly on her bottom lip.‘I’ve already said that, haven’t I? Frankie has. Maxine has. So has Bharti. I have.Everyonehas. Now, are you going to do it or not?’ Anne flicked her wavy, blond hair out of her eyes with an impatient hand. She began to stroll up and down, casting Lydia a studied, watchful look.‘Anne, I . . . I’m not sure . . .’The sudden noise of one of the assembly hall doors opening was like the crack of a whip behind them.Anne scooted to the side of the nearby stage and ducked down – only just in time. Lydia wasn’t so lucky. Old Baldie, the caretaker, popped his head round the door, looking first one way then the other.‘Oi! What’re you doing in this hall? You know it’s out of bounds after school.’ Old Baldie entered the hall and stood by the door glaring at Lydia.He was a tall man, as thin as a noodle and with a face that was so sallow it was just about the same colour. His grey-white hair – what there was of it – waved and wandered all over the sides of his head. Flecks of black here and there in his hair made it look as if black pepper had been sprinkled liberally onto a mound of salt.‘Well? What are you waiting for? Christmas?’ snapped Old Baldie.Lydia glanced at Anne who was squatting down at the side of the stage. Anne placed a finger over her lips and shook her head.‘Sorry, Mr Balding,’ Lydia said quickly.‘Shift then!’ Old Baldie said with impatience.Lydia quickly headed for the door furthest away from the caretaker. If he chose to report her, Lydia knew she’d be in major trouble but she couldn’t regret the interruption. Luckily it seemed as if she was going to get away with it. Old Baldie switched off the lights. Lydia made her way along the quad perimeter towards the school gates. She glanced over her shoulder as she walked. Old Baldie was still watching her, his arms folded and a scowl deepening the lines of his face. Then he crossed the quad and walked away in the opposite direction. Lydia slowed down but didn’t stop. She heard the assembly hall doors click open behind her.‘Lydia! Lydia, wait!’ Anne hissed from behind her.With a silent sigh, Lydia stopped walking and turned around. Anne ran up to her.‘Old Baldie’s a real long streak of misery,’ Anne muttered.
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