I have a vague idea that I ran into this book series on this site, but I can't seem to locate it. The primary protagonist is a teenager and a genius hacker. He was either an orphan or wasn't fond of his parents. I think that, at the beginning of the book, he'd just exposed (or framed) them (or maybe foster parents) for embezzlement. He gets abducted and finds himself in a large mansion with several other kids with special talents. I want to say that one of them was a girl who was able to drive just about anything, whom the protagonist had a crush on. Another was a British boy with a glass eye, skilled at lockpicking, who hid a set of picks in his glass eye. I think he spoke in a Cockney accent, might have been named something like Basher. There was at least one other boy in the group, who I think was the athlete/fighter. They're all orphaned or otherwise estranged from their family. A man (I want to say he was described as gaunt and tall) tasks them with stealing things for him, paying them well, but making it clear that while they work for him, they're isolated from the rest of the world. The theme of the series had them stealing artifacts with magical reputations. I want to say that it was rumored that he was stealing them to help a terminally ill daughter.

I read the first book somewhere in early 2010, I think, English, paperback. The climax there involved a South American lost temple complete with ancient death traps. There was a scene involving monsters apparently animating from drawings on the wall, although this is later explained to be the result of hallucinogenic drugs in the traps. The temple winds up collapsing into the earth, but they make their way out with the artifact (which they had to fend of rivals of their patron to retrieve). I think I at least started the second book, which involved the protagonist trying to run away from the organization, but getting pulled back into it. I want to say there's at least one more book to the series, but I wouldn't swear to it.

I want to say that the guy who led them had a last name like "Pilgrim", but that's not definite in my head. It was implied that he used the artifacts to stay young and vital. The fantasy aspects, as noted above, were left ambiguous as to whether the artifacts really were magic.

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    I know you have the answer, but the description had a lot of similarities to Genius Squad by Catherine Jinks. It's the middle of a trilogy about Cadel and his friends.
    – eshier
    May 18, 2018 at 18:04

1 Answer 1


The Jonah Wish series by Stephen Cole.

Thieves Like Us

The Aztec Code

The Bloodline Cipher

Jonah Wish, a brilliant computer hacker, is the newest addition to an elite group of teen outlaws all hired by the same mysterious benefactor, Nathaniel Coldhardt. Each of them offers a unique talent: Patch is a one-eyed locksmith; Motti can dismantle any electrical system; Con's charm is truly mesmerizing; and Tye can detect a lie with more precision than a polygraph.

  • That is the one. Thank you. I just couldn't seem to get the right keywords.
    – FuzzyBoots
    May 18, 2018 at 3:38

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