Synopses & Reviews
With his long black curls, a shadowy family tree, and an affinity for pet spiders, James Matthew bears little resemblance to his starched-collar, blue-blooded peers at Eton. Dubbed King Jas., he stops at nothing to become the most notorious underclassman in the prestigious school's history. For James, sword fighting, falling in love with an Ottoman Sultana, and challenging the Queen of England are all in a day's skullduggery. But when he sets sail on a ship with a mysterious mission, King Jas.' dream of discovering a magical island quickly turns into an unimaginable nightmare.
Screenwriter J. V. Hart traces the evolution of J. M. Barrie's classic villain from an eccentric outcast to the scourge of Neverland.
"Swimming against the books-to-film tide, this novel from the screenwriter of Steven Spielberg's Hook attempts to explain how the captain's childhood made him the nefarious pirate he became. (It's his father's fault.) The author takes the scant details about Hook in J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan ('piercing' blue eyes, mustard-colored blood, a fondness for trends set by King Charles II) and spins them into a backstory beginning the day 15-year-old James, the illegitimate son of 'Lord B,' arrives at Eton. The upperclassmen, led by house captain Arthur Darling, identify him immediately as in need of comeuppance and hang him with the moniker James Matthew 'Bastard.' (Readers never learn James or Lord B's real last name is the author suggesting Hook was Barrie?) A sharp student and accomplished swordsman, James relishes the notoriety. He and best friend, 'Jolly Roger' Davies, become victims of vicious hazing, but perpetrators of equally nasty revenge. They triumphantly lead the underclassmen to victory against Darling's gang in a traditional Eton game, while the Queen and a visiting princess (for whom James falls) look on. James leaves Eton in a blaze of glory, but the story slogs on past this natural end. The author attempts to turn the heretofore conscienceless James into a hero when the fellow saves some Africans from a slaver's ship. The dialogue adds sparkle ('Topping swank!' is a compliment of the highest order) as do Helquist's occasional full-page black-and-white drawings, which emit an air of swashbuckling brio often missing from the text. Ages 10-up. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"[S]ome determined, sophisticated readers will be pulled in by the magical, tall-tale details; James' triumph over bullies; the exciting adventures; and the thought-provoking portrait of a villain who is capable of both murder and great sympathy." Booklist
Renowned screenwriter J.V. Hart traces the evolution of J.M. Barrie's classic villain from Peter Pan from his younger days as a student at Eton, the most prestigious school in England, where he decides to make a name for himself and will stop at nothing to become the most notorious student there. Illustrations.
About the Author
J. V. Hart has written the screenplays for several feature films, including Bram Stoker's Dracula, Hook, Tuck Everlasting, Contact, and Muppet Treasure Island. He lives in New York with his wife. His two children, ages twenty-two and twenty-five, are also writers. Capt. Hook is his first novel. In the spirit of the Peter Pan charitable legacy, a portion of the author's royalties will be donated to the Peter Pan Children's Fund, an organization that supports children's hospitals through youth philanthropy programs (www.peterpanchildrensfund.org).