The Child Thief by Brom
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Great book! The man is both a talented writer and an artist.He also has done his research in the pagan past of Europe and the result is a superb novel. The telling is not Disney like at all but rather a turn into a darker side of Peter Pan. Of , course these days Peter Pan is getting a bad wrap cinematically speaking. He seems to be the bad guy now and Captain Hook is the good guy. This holds true for this novel as well.
The story starts off with a young girl shivering in her bed, fear stricken over the abuse her step father is about to give to her. Then a shadow appears to save the day. but not only does the shadow save the young girl, but he also kills the stepfather. Of course after such a heroic rescue how could any any damsel refuse.
Next comes the real beginning of the story. Young Nick is on the run from some drug dealer who are renting a room from his grandmother's house. Nick's life is deteriorating around him as result. He is subjected to abuse and humiliation that leads to a permanent scarring of his arm. In revenge he steals a bunch of the drug dealers drugs and flees. In central park the dealers friends catch up with him and once again Pan comes to the rescue. He beats the tar out of the bad guys and leads Nick through the mist where they are assaulted by sluach. On the way through Nick realizes that not everyone who has traveled through the mist was lucky enough to make it alive. Once they make it to Devil Tree and meet the "Devil"( instead of lost boys). Nick realizes that Pan is recruiting fighters for a war against Flesh Eater. The daily regime is of hunting and martial arts training. Within the Devils there is Sekou, a warrior woman, Leroy, who is a bully and ultimate bad guy who brings down the devils. Nick has got to learn to get along with these 'Devils" despite his misgivings and find a way off the island.
The flesh eater are really adult pilgrims who landed on the Island. The Island is not Never Never Land but rather the mystical island of Avalon made famous from the King Arthur tales. This island is the last refuge of the fae. It is home to all sorts of mystical creatures. If children come when they are small they remain the same and never age. Adults become deformed into greyish skin and black haired being. The magic of fae does not agree with them. They are burning down the forest and brings a scourge upon the island.
So Peter is acting as a recruiter for the Lady of the Lake to fight against the flesh eaters. Pan himself is half fairy and half human. He knows who is mother is but not his father. When his human family find out that he is fae they abandon him to die in the woods. It is in the woods that he is befriended by a woodland fairy who teaches him how to hunt and kill wolves. Peter also learns that humans can never be trusted. This lesson is driven home when he plays with some boys in the village. Once the adults spot him they chase him into the forest and kill his friend. In fleeing these vicious humans Peter ends up going through the mists to Avalon.
In Avalon a whole new set of troubles begins. Peter is at once favored by Modron the lady of the lake who minds the sacred apple tree. Ulfger an elvish demigod legitimate heir of the horned god who lead the battle against the Flesh Eaters and drove them off , is immediately antagonistic towards Peter. This leads Peter to being banished to devil wood.
In the end Peter tries to ally all the fae forces of the island and bring down the flesh eaters. Treachery prevails and many devil are caught and killed. An atmosphere of the witch hunt prevails which takes the story to the streets of New York. If you enjoy dark tales and stories that involve European Pagan elements then this story is for you.
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