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Tigerheart    by Peter David order for
by Peter David
Order:  USA  Can
Del Rey, 2008 (2008)
Hardcover, e-Book

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* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

In Tigerheart, Peter David gives us a whimsical fantasy that's also a most unusual coming of age story, and a rather startling sequel to J. M. Barrie's beloved tale of Peter Pan, the flying boy who lives in Neverland and refuses to grow up. Peter David refers to him in Tigerheart as The Boy of Legend, who resides in the Anyplace.

Paul Dear's happy family life - with an imaginative father (Patrick) who's a born storyteller and often tells his son stories of The Boy, and a loving mother (Colleen) who fondly tolerates their fanciful forays into fantasy - is tragically interrupted by the untimely death of Paul's infant sister Bonnie. Soon Colleen forbids Patrick's stories, saying that Paul 'must learn to accept the world for what it is, with all its unfairness and cruelty' and turns into 'a mere shade of herself'. She's angry all the time, and asks Patrick to move out.

Paul starts to make dreamtime excursions to the Anyplace, where he shares adventures with his spiritual guide, 'the merely magnificent snow tiger'. He finds a small, winged mummified figure in an odd store - and when he conjures her back to life through his belief, she turns out to be The Boy's erstwhile companion, the glowing pixie sprite Fiddlefix. In parallel with Paul's attempts to fix his family life (he hopes to bring back a new baby sister from the Anyplace and manages to get there with Fiddlefix's help), Gwenny (this book's version of Wendy) flies back there herself.

But things are very different in the Anyplace. It seems that The Boy has turned to the dark side. He's gathered to himself a sinister group of Vagabonds and pirates, and captains the Skull n' Bones, aided by an elderly crooked lady with a hooked nose. Also something's very wrong with The Boy's shadow once more, and repairing it's not simply a matter of a few stitches either. What has changed him? Readers find out, along with Paul, Fiddlefix and Gwenny when their paths cross over the ocean as cannons are fired. They then spend most of the story trying to correct the situation.

They ally with the Indians led by the formidable Princess Picca. Along the way, Paul sacrifices his childhood, and Picca dubs him Tigerheart for his actions. Paul and The Boy take the fight to the Noplace, where they are empowered by invoking belief and hope from the hopeless. Of course, they do win the day and Paul takes home a most surprising infant to his parents. Tigerheart, a remarkable tale that takes off from a classic, is destined to become a classic itself - it's a must read for fantasy lovers.

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