In by , Falco, a young man from the country, arrives in the port city of Tardocco with the ambition of becoming an apprentice to a master shadow thief.
Maestro Astolfo, whose mysterious powers of observation would rival those of Sherlock Holmes, sees Falco’s potential and puts him through a grueling series of physical lessons and intellectual tests. Falco’s adventures coalesce into one overarching story of con men, monsters, ingenious detection, cats, and pirates.
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