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Publisher's Summary

A rollicking debut novel from award-winning playwright and screenwriter John Pielmeier reimagines the childhood of the much maligned Captain Hook: his quest for buried treasure, his friendship with Peter Pan, and the story behind the swashbuckling world of Neverland.

Long defamed as a vicious pirate, Captain James Cook (a.k.a Hook) was in fact a dazzling wordsmith who left behind a vibrant, wildly entertaining, and entirely truthful memoir. His chronicle offers a counter narrative to the works of J.M. Barrie, a "dour Scotsman" whose spurious accounts got it all wrong. Now, award-winning playwright John Pielmeier is proud to present this crucial historic artifact in its entirety for the first time.

Cook's story begins in London, where he lives with his widowed mother. At thirteen, he runs away from home, but is kidnapped and pressed into naval service as an unlikely cabin boy. Soon he discovers a treasure map that leads to a mysterious archipelago called the "Never-Isles" from which there appears to be no escape. In the course of his adventures he meets the pirates Smee and Starkey, falls in love with the enchanting Tiger Lily, adopts an oddly affectionate crocodile, and befriends a charming boy named Peter - who teaches him to fly. He battles monsters, fights in mutinies, swims with mermaids, and eventually learns both the sad and terrible tale of his mother's life and the true story of his father's disappearance.

Like Gregory Maguire's Wicked, Hook's Tale offers a radical new version of a classic story, bringing listeners into a much richer, darker, and enchanting version of Neverland than ever before. The characters that our hero meets - including the terrible Doctor Uriah Slinque and a little girl named Wendy - lead him to the most difficult decision of his life: whether to submit to the temptation of eternal youth, or to embrace the responsibilities of maturity and the inevitability of his own mortality. His choice, like his story, is not what you might expect.

©2017 John Pielmeier. (P)2017 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved. Recorded by arrangement with Scribner, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

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The Scottish Author Would Be Proud

This isn't your Disney's Hook and Peter, and estimably so.... You gotta love the story perspective, and the alternate explanations throwing an entirely different slant on PP, who apparently was a lil bit of a sociopath... The tale is beautifully paced and metered,and is often poetically descriptive... Love the real skinny on Daisy, The Roger, and the literary and historical references... Hook certainly is a sympathetically tragic hero afflicted by numerous run-ins w/ Murphy's Law.... Fun and humorous w/ a dash of reality thrown in here and there... a smooth and fresh performance tops it off...

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Dr.
  • LOS ANGELES, CA, United States
  • 10-11-17

Witty, Funny, Clever and All Good

What a wonderful retelling of the classic, but from Hook's point of view. It turns out Peter Pan isn't all he was cracked up to be. Riveting, brilliant, not to be put down!

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Pantastic!

Would you consider the audio edition of Hook's Tale to be better than the print version?

Absolutely. Don't pass up the chance to hear JLP perform his own work.

Any additional comments?

I am no Pan fan (file me as indifferent), but I’m a Pielmeier partisan after having seen him perform his one-person show ”Willi” several years ago at Penn State University near his native Altoona. That was captivating in both writing and acting, and so is ”Hook’s Tale.” I’m sure that many Panficianados would appreciate this story even more deeply than I did. JLP somehow manages to present grounded human emotion within the Pantastical setting. I enjoyed the sly winks to many works of literature and music. I'm certain that others went over my head as if sprinkled with flying sand.