I'm looking for a book that I read as a child. I don't remember too much about it, and I could be fuzzing up the details with other books I read in that time.
- The main characters were a boy, possibly his younger brother and I think a sister/female friend. They were either orphans or runaways who were on the run from BadGuy. I don't think BadGuy worked for any organization or anything, but there were several people after the main characters.
- The setting seemed Victorian/Edwardian London, and I think there might have been steampunk elements to it, but I can't think of any specific examples.
- Hot air balloons featured in the book. I think BadGuy used them, and towards the end the protagonists did too
- At one point, the scene I remember most, is that the kids are on a train. They either snuck aboard or they snuck something aboard. An uncle is with them and is either revealed to be working for BadGuy or else he's been with BadGuy all along and they're hiding from him. While on the train, there's a trunk with an object inside. The bad guys make off with the trunk, but the kids secretly got the object out before that happens. They get away, and this may be when the hot air balloon comes into play.
I read the book (possibly the first in a series) sometime between 2000 and 2006, I was between 8 and 13 years old and the book was targeted towards that age group. It was written in English, and I think it was a new book but it could just have been a recent print. Physically, I remember a book with a blue cover, I believe with a hot air balloon and the city below. I think it was about as thick as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.
It's not The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke, but it is in a similar vein.