Hook's Tale

Hook's Tale

Being the Account of An Unjustly Villainized Pirate Written by Himself

Book - 2017 | First Scribner hardcover edition
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"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 readers 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"--
Publisher: New York :, Scribner,, 2017
Edition: First Scribner hardcover edition
ISBN: 9781501161056
Branch Call Number: FIC Piel
Characteristics: 275 pages
Additional Contributors: Barrie, J. M. (James Matthew), 1860-1937


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FindingJane Aug 09, 2017

Modern-day stories purporting to tell the “other side of the tale” abound. Whether it’s Jon Scieszka’s version of what really happened to the three little pigs (okay, the wolf did eat them but it wasn’t deliberate murder—he just had a really bad cold) or the 2014 “Maleficent”, writers would have us believe that even villainous people aren’t as black as they’re painted.

This version of Hook is a thrill to read. Erudite, well spoken, blessed with a fine memory, gifted with wonderful handwriting and a yearning to know an absent father, James Cook the Third (or Fourth) comes off as being a very personable fellow. He’s angry at the scurrilous lies that have been written by him by a certain author whom he refers to only as a d—ned Scot and is determined to set the record straight.

What this gives us is a lively tale of 19th-century England and other parts abroad. We see James grow up, very rapidly indeed, and his encounter with the forgetful but unforgettable Peter Pan. Peter is an amoral, vivacious, curious boy, doomed to be forever young and forever forgetting.

The story is filled with the characters we know and quite a few others, including the crocodile with a clock in its belly, Tiger Lily, Smee, Wendy, her brothers and her mother. Cook learns that his beloved father isn’t what he seems and that Peter’s gleeful side has a darker, more sinister edge.

Cook is forced to face painful facts about himself, his family and the harsh nature of revenge. The journey that he takes through his life is fraught with pain, joy, love and sacrifice. James comes off therefore as being far more engrossing a figure than his one-note flying companion who would prefer to spend his day cavorting with mermaids and flying with the fairies.

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