(Reviewed by Ann Wilkes AUG 12, 2008)
Paul Dear talks with pixies and animals by day and roams the Anyplace in his dreams by night. He's fascinated by the tales his father tells him of The Boy who rules the Anyplace, the place between dreams and waking. One day, Paul Dear is visited by a reflection in the mirror not his own. Could he be The Boy from the tales his father tells him of the Anyplace? Or is Paul The Boy? He can't get a straight answer out of his reflection.
Grief over the loss of his baby sister upsets the balance of young Paul Dear's life. His mother becomes withdrawn and quarrelsome. His father leaves after charging Paul with the responsibility of being the man of the family in his absence.
"His first attempt to meet this vital need was to strut around and say, in what he fancied was as a most grown-up voice, 'Looks like it's going to be one of those, eh!' or 'I should say!' or 'Tut-tut' or 'Will we be attending that thing this evening?' "
Paul asks the animals in Kensington Park how he should fulfill his new role. They see the job description as a simple one: The adult male hunts to provide for the family. Paul had to tell the animals that the Dears did not hunt, that he himself had only "hunted" in the Anyplace in his dreams.
"Several of them loudly expressed their astonishment that [humans] had not simply starved to death long ago. Finally one noble mouse took pity on Paul and volunteered his services. Instructing Paul to take the mouse's tail ever so gently between his teeth, the mouse then dangled from Paul's mouth in an ever so convincing act of playing dead...
...the moment Colleen Dear turned around in the kitchen and saw her son with a seemingly dead mouse hanging from between his lips was so calamitous for all concerned that we would be best served if we glossed over it."
Paul then decides to obtain another girl baby for his grieving mother. His quest takes him to the Anyplace, where The Boy never grows up and pirates and Indians (the Native American kind) abound. While obviously a retelling of J. M. Barrie's Peter Pan , this unique version captivates the reader with the complex struggles of its characters. Paul must seek aid from the egocentric master of the Anyplace, The Boy, and discovers his own courage and leadership abilities in the process.
More than a good book to curl up with, Tigerheart is a tale told by a narrator who seems to be right at the reader's elbow.
"But take heart! If he is fortunate enough to survive all that is going to happen to him before we take our leave of him – and we must tell you that his survival is not remotely guaranteed – then his reward, such as it is, will be to become an adult man and still not understand women."
With most books, I'd call that author intrusion. With Tigerheart, it's delightful. The narrator is a character who makes the tale all the more fun to "hear" as you read. Brilliant!
- Amazon readers rating: from 18 reviews
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Bibliography: (with links to Amazon.com)
Knight Life books:
Sir Apropos of Nothing books:
Hidden Earth Chronicles:
- Darkness of Light (June 2007)
- The Highness of the Low
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- Official blogsite for Peter David
- Wikipedia page for Peter David
- SSFWorld review of Darkness of Light
- SSFWorld review of Tigerheart
- SciFi Weekly review of Tigerheart
- BlogCritics review of Tigerheart
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About the Author:
Peter David was born in 1956 in Fort Meade, Maryland. He is a prolific "writer of stuff" having written in every conceivable media: television, film, books (fiction, non-fiction, and audio), short stories, and comic books. He has had over fifty novels published. He is co-creator and author of the bestselling Star Trek: New Frontier series for Pocket Books. He has written several scripts for the Hugo Award winning TV series Babylon 5, and its sequel, Crusade, amongst many others.
He lives in Long Island, New York with his wife Kathleen.