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  • Tigerheart
  • Written by Peter David
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  • Tigerheart
  • Written by Peter David
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Written by Peter DavidAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Peter David

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On Sale: June 17, 2008
Pages: | ISBN: 978-0-345-50712-9
Published by : Del Rey Ballantine Group
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Synopsis|Excerpt

Synopsis

Paul Dear is a good and clever boy, but he’s special in ways that even his adoring parents could never have imagined. For by day, in London’s Kensington Gardens, he walks and talks with the pixies and sprites and other magical creatures that dwell among the living–but are unseen by most. Then everything changes when tragedy strikes–and a quest begins that will lead Paul to a curio shop where a magical ally awaits him and launches him into the starry skies, bound for a realm where anything is possible. Far from home, Paul will run with fierce Indian warriors, cross swords with fearsome pirates, befriend a magnificent white tiger, and soar beside an extraordinary, ageless boy who reigns in a boundless world of imagination.

Excerpt

Chapter One


The Bird WhoTold Him So

Young Paul Dear stared at his reflection one evening for a very long time. When his reflection began talking back to him, Paul began to think that perhaps he himself was actually The Boy of Legend.

In order to understand how that came to pass, it is important to learn of the events directly preceding the moment Paul’s reflection stuck its tongue out at him and threw several cocky and very saucy challenges his way.

Paul knew about pixies. He knew about elves and leprechauns. He knew about mermaids who dwelt beneath the chopping whitecaps from the times when his father and mother, Patrick and Colleen Dear, took him to Brighton on holiday. They would watch the surf and his father would tell him stories of such fancies as he knew. Sometimes Paul’s father would lean in and say softly, “Don’t look at your mum when I say this. But she is, in fact, part leprechaun, what with having the Irish in her blood. Hush! Are you not listening? If you look at her sidelong with a suspicious eye, she will disappear just out of the habit of her kind.”

“So I am part leprechaun as well?” Paul said eagerly. His father simply smiled in that puzzling way he had. It is, as we all know, the way that parents always smile when they want you to think they know the answers, and perhaps even want to convince themselves as well.

Paul did not press his father on the answers, knowing that he had learned all he was going to. However, if he had known that his father was going to go away, he might well have been more insistent in trying to determine the truths of the world in general and himself in particular. Paul did not know that his time with his father and mother was limited, for to all children time is an inexhaustible commodity and childhood an endless haze of day-after-day.

Paul was a fair-skinned boy, with short black hair cropped in neat, even bangs and the redness of cheeks that comes from adoring relatives pinching his face and saying, “Look at that lovely little face! Why, we could just EAT HIM UP, yes we could!” For a time, Paul lived in fear of being fattened up and devoured, and thus did everything he could to prevent himself from becoming a potentially tasty treat. This was a period which you and I would think of as Paul’s desperate and ongoing attempt to thwart some cannibals, but Paul’s parents simply referred to it as “That time when Paul was such a finicky eater, we have Absolutely No Idea how he managed not to starve himself to death, the poor lad—whatever is it that gets into children’s minds?”

Paul’s father, as we noted, was full of magic and mischief, while his mother was full of the ability to tolerate magic and mischief. As such they made a superb pair, with Paul’s mother smiling and shaking her head at her husband’s shenanigans. Paul was a bit unclear as to exactly what his father’s profession was. Patrick simply said that he was a paid, professional liar. Paul would ask various of his friends what a paid, professional liar was, and he would receive answers ranging from barrister to politician to writer to clergyman, depending upon the friend’s age and level of cynicism. His mother, all curls and patient amusement, mainly seemed to exist to say “Oh come now, my dear, really!” in an ongoing endeavor to bring Paul’s father up short. It never worked for long.

Paul’s sense of time, however, changed utterly, as did his world, with the arrival and startlingly quick departure of Bonnie.

Bonnie first made herself known to Paul when he was lying on the couch in the family drawing room, gazing at the blazing fire in the fireplace one chilly autumn London night. His head was resting on his mother’s lap, and she was gently stroking him about the shoulders and cooing soft words about what a kind and loving and excellent boy he was. It was at that moment that his mother’s stomach kicked him in the back of the head. This was an unusual occurrence in and of itself, augmented by his mother’s abruptly calling out for Paul’s father and announcing, “She kicked!” Paul was puzzled by his mother’s suddenly referring to her stomach as “she,” and his bewilderment only grew as his parents sat him down and explained to him that a baby was growing in his mother’s stomach. A baby girl, his mother insisted, although his father said that they didn’t know yet, but his mother said they did—or at least she did—and that was quite enough for her.

Paul gazed in wonderment at the passenger within his mother’s stomach. He was quite distressed to discover that she (for he had taken to calling her “she” since his mother seemed so confident) was bereft of clothing and toys, and at one point he came to his mother with some outgrown baby clothes of his and a rattle that he’d found during a walk in Kensington Gardens. He proffered the treasures to his mother and urged her to swallow them so the baby could clothe herself properly and have something to play with besides. This caused great laughter in his mother and his father, and for all those cannibalistic relatives whenever the story was told and retold. Paul never understood quite why it was funny, but since he liked bringing smiles to peoples’ faces, he never let it bother him too much.

He watched with continued fascination as his mother’s belly expanded in a manner that he never would have thought possible. As it did so, Colleen would spend inordinate amounts of time reading both to Paul and to his soon-to-be-sibling. It was not as if she had been stingy with her reading time before a baby had been placed into her stomach through mysterious means. But now she read far more often and even told Paul to join in. She said that it was wise to familiarize his little (probable) sister with the sound of his voice so she would not be completely bewildered as to who was who when she finally was removed from her place of residence by the doctor (through other equally mysterious means).

Colleen would read the tales of fancy that Paul’s father foisted upon them, although always with one eyebrow raised in grudging patience over such frivolousness. The aforementioned elves and leprechauns and mermaids—and jolly rousing adventures of piracy and wild Indians and such—paraded through the lad’s active imagination. And every day he would go out in the backyard and pass the tales on to whatever animals happened to be lounging about.

Still in all, Patrick’s practice of speaking tales pulled wholly from his memory rather than refracted through the prism of another storyteller were the ones that Paul truly adored, because they were more personal. And of all those, the tales of which he was the most fond were the ones involving the individual who had achieved fame far and wide as “The Boy.” The most splendid boy in the world, as he would not have hesitated to tell you given the slightest opportunity.

There was some confusion as to The Boy’s whereabouts, according to Paul’s father. He said that some claimed The Boy was an infant who rode on a goat in Kensington Gardens after lock-out, playing his pipes and cavorting with the woodland sprites that supposedly populated the area. Other times, The Boy was reputed to reside in a land called the Anyplace, which could be reached by flying to the third star on the left and continuing until morning. When Paul asked eagerly if his father had ever encountered The Boy personally, his father became very quiet and then seemed wistful, as if he was either remembering something he had accidentally forgotten or trying to forget something he had no desire to remember. Finally, instead of responding with a simple yes or no, he asked Paul if he thought he might have run into him in the course of his dreams.

Paul considered it for a time, and then said he had some vague memory, as a number of youngsters did, that had something to do with The Boy during one cloudless night. His mother had come into his room and woken him, and told him that he had been creating a frightful ruckus by clapping his hands together in his sleep and shouting, “I believe! I believe in pixies!” Paul had no recollection of doing so, and could not fathom why he might have; but his mother just sighed in some odd, knowing way and said, “It probably had something to do with the Anyplace,” and then settled him back down to sleep.

“Well, if the Anyplace was involved, there’s every likelihood that The Boy was as well. Maybe the pixie involved was his.”

“The Boy had a pixie!”

“Oh yes,” Patrick said. “And redskins who combated him and an enemy named Hack, a pirate with a hatchet instead of a right hand, who was so vile that even Long John Silver feared him. And others, but their names blur,” he said with a frown. “The memories one takes from the Anyplace are fluid at best, vapor at worst.”

The Boy sounded like a perfectly marvelous fellow to Paul. It was hard to dislike someone who flew and dispatched pirates and cavorted with redskins and pixies and such. Still, in some ways Paul disapproved of him; for, by all accounts, The Boy was a showy fellow, and uncaring, and really not all that heroic unless it suited his vanity. Paul was of the opinion that if one was going to be a hero, it should be from selflessness, not selfishness. His stated beliefs had prompted Colleen to say, “You are quite wise beyond your years, Paul. Well done and keep at it, and you shall be a grown-up in no time!”

When she said that, Paul felt a chill wind blow across his spine. He had no idea why that should be so.

That evening, lying in his bed in his nursery, he thought he heard something. A voice, perhaps, calling to him. It wasn’t speaking his name, though. Instead it was making sounds . . . animal sounds. A lion growling and then a clucking like a bird, followed by a crowing as if from a rooster. None of them sounded remotely like “Paul” and yet, in an odd way, they all did.

He slid out of his bed and crawled around upon the floor, looking under the bed to see if the sounds were originating from there. When he couldn’t find them, he stood and glanced around in the darkness, modified by only the illumination that came from the night-light his mother insisted be in his room.

Then he saw a movement in the mirror. His reflection, he would have thought, except he swayed back and forth experimentally and the reflection stayed right where it was, a smug grin on its face and an impish twinkle in its eyes.

Paul might have been dreaming or might not; he was in one of those places where the borders between the two became indistinguishably thin, but he did not know that. Slowly he crept toward the mirror, staring fixedly at it. His reflection continued to gaze back at him, chin pointed upward in a defiant manner.

“Hullo,” said Paul cautiously. “Are you . . . him?”

“Are you?” said the reflection. Then it stuck its tongue out at Paul, at which Paul was slightly taken aback. Paul was generally well behaved and well schooled, so it was odd to see himself acting in such a manner.

“I don’t think so,” Paul said.

“Then how am I supposed to know?”

Paul was mildly irritated at the vagueness of the exchange. “Look here,” he said firmly, “I asked you a question. You don’t have to play games.”

The reflection laughed. “If you think I don’t have to play games, then no wonder you don’t know if I’m him or you’re him. You don’t know anything important!”

“I do so,” Paul said defensively. “I know—”

“Stop,” said the lad in the mirror, holding up his hand in a preemptive manner. “Are you about to rattle off all sorts of things from school?”

“Well . . . yes.”

The reflection turned away, making a dismissive, snorting noise. Then Paul suddenly said, “Oh! And I know about gnomes and pixies and—and The Boy . . . which is who I think you are.”

The lad in the mirror snapped back and grinned, and then vaulted straight up, leaving a bewildered Paul craning his neck and trying to see where he’d gone. Then The Boy dropped back into view and bowed deeply. “So you are him,” Paul said.

“Am I truly marvelous?”

“Yes.”

“Then who else would I be?” said The Boy, flashing his pearly baby teeth. He leaned forward, motioning for Paul to do the same. For a moment, Paul thought The Boy was going to pull him right through the mirror. Instead The Boy looked him up and down and stroked his chin thoughtfully. Paul mimicked the gesture as if he were the reflection and The Boy the reality, which for all he knew might be the case.

“There is some me in you,” The Boy said at last, “although not much. A passing resemblance at most.”

“You think so?”

“Maybe. Or maybe I’m lying. I am, after all, half brother to Coyote, the trickster god.” The Boy always made boasts along those lines whenever his veracity was questioned. In this case, it was indeed a lie, because being Paul’s reflection, he was in fact identical. Then, his voice soft and edged with the echoes of a thousand crafty plans, he said, “Would you like to learn some things?”

“Yes, please.”

So The Boy taught him.

This happened repeatedly over a series of nights, although since Paul spent them in that delicate dividing line between sleep and dream, he lost track of how many and how often. His parents did not notice for the most part, although his father did look rather surprised when— while telling Paul about various adventures The Boy had had—Paul offered polite but firm corrections or clarifications. Plus there were other talents that Paul acquired, although it wasn’t so much acquiring them as discovering that he had always had them at his command and didn’t know until now, as if waking from a long sleep.
Peter David|Author Q&A

About Peter David

Peter David - Tigerheart

Photo © Kathleen O’Shea David

Peter David is famous for writing some of the most popular of the original Star Trek: The Next Generation novels, including Imzadi and A Rock and a Hard Place. His original works include the Arthurian novel Knight Life and the quirky werewolf story Howling Mad. He single-handedly revived the classic comic book series The Incredible Hulk and has written just about every famous comic book superhero. He collaborated with J. Michael Straczynski on the Babylon 5 comic book series, and with Bill Mumy, he created the Nickelodeon television series Space Cases. In his spare time, he writes movie screenplays, children's books, and TV scripts (including Babylon 5).

Author Q&A

Interview with Peter David author of Tigerheart


Question: What is the relation of Tigerheart to Peter Pan, exactly? And what inspired you to borrow Barrie’s voice and subject matter?

Peter David: Peter Pan had always been one of my favorite books (which is, I would think, the case with many people.) And as writers are wont to do when they’re wandering around in other people’s worlds, they start to wonder what they themselves would do there if they had the opportunity. As Peter Pan fell into public domain, I started working up a story. But as it developed, I started to realize that it was really Paul Dear’s story, not Peter Pan’s. And since Peter Pan’s monumental ego would certainly not allow a story to feature him as a supporting character, he slowly began to back away from it with a mild sneer and a mocking sweep of his nonexistent hat. So I decided that it would be better and fairer for all concerned to create pastiche versions of Peter and company. In a way, it allowed me the best of both worlds: To put the Barrie characters through their paces and have developments that might be considered surprising or even shocking if it were to happen to Pan and company…but because they’re actually original characters, there’s more leeway. Think of it as a sort of respectful distance. As for borrowing Barrie’s voice, the snarky answer is of course that he wasn’t using it, so why not? But really, it was just something that developed as the writing progressed. What made the original work in the first place was the dreamlike narrative that accompanied the dreamlike environment. To my mind, that was the only way to make it work; otherwise you rob Barrie’s world of what made it special.

Q: Does your Anyplace subsume Neverland? That is, could Neverland be found within the Anyplace?

PD: The Neverland and the Anyplace are different names for the same place. To me, that seems perfectly reasonable. Different cultures have always had different names for the same concept. Asgard or Mount Olympus, it’s still the home of the gods. Is the city that sank beneath the sea called Atlantis, as per Plato, or is it Tir na nÓg, as Irish legend would have it? One does not preclude nor replace the other. So it seems reasonable that a dreaming land should likewise have varied names.

Q: Some people might feel resentful at seeing yet another beloved classic either updated or re-spun. How do you respond to such criticisms?

PD: I would say that once upon a time, the tales of King Arthur and his knights were fairly new. And then subsequent authors and poets came along and produced their own twists and turns, their own quests and knights, and that continues to this day. This is how modern myths are built. Some characters become mythic figures as they weave their way into our consciousness. To all intents and purposes, they transcend their creators. Only the truly greatest literary figures manage to accomplish that feat. By producing continuing adventures in the vein of James Barrie and his creations, we’re simply continuing the tradition of myth building that goes back centuries.

Q: Why is Peter Pan an important book, and Peter an important character, for you personally–aside from your shared first name?

PD: It’s important because it meets the measure of any true classic: It speaks to new generations in new ways while retaining all the elements that made it great. Just as Sherlock Holmes is still recognizably Sherlock Holmes, even if he walks with a cane and goes by the name of “House,” Peter Pan is recognizable as Peter Pan no matter how he is reinterpreted. As for the personal connection, probably I got hooked on Peter Pan watching the annual airing of the musical starring Mary Martin. I looked forward to that every year. Youngsters nowadays, who can throw on a DVD of anything they feel like watching, really can’t quite understand what it was like to have the annual viewing of Wizard of Oz and, yes, Peter Pan. But for me it was a big deal. I lived for that moment when the windows would burst open and Peter would come hurtling through into the nursery.

Q: How does the Boy of Legend, a.k.a. The Boy, differ from the Boy Who Never Grew Up, a.k.a. Peter Pan?

PD: Although they begin from the same baseline of being self-obsessed, they have different priorities. Peter is interested purely in finding a mother figure, but The Boy is seeking something very different: He’s seeking a friend. He’s actually one step closer to growing up than Peter Pan was. Whether, of course, he does so is something you’ll have to read the book to discover.

Q: What did you think of the movie Finding Neverland? Did that at all influence the writing of Tigerheart? What about Spielberg’s Hook?

PD: I thought Finding Neverland was brilliantly put together, with great performances from all concerned. And I have to admit I was amused that Dustin Hoffman was the producer in Finding Neverland and then the title character in Hook. I enjoyed both films, but neither was really much of an influence on Tigerheart, except in the sense that in both Hook and Tigerheart there are twists on some of Barrie’s original dialogue.

Q: Is Paul Dear, the eponymous hero of Tigerheart, based on an actual boy?

PD: Well, he shares my initials. Also, when I was very little, my mother had a miscarriage. I was too young to know about it at the time, but when I was a bit older, maybe nine or so, my mother happened to mention it to me. And I thought about it a lot for a very long time at that age, because it was the first introduction to my young mind of the thought that not all pregnancies end well. So Paul’s experiences with what happens with his mother, plus some of the ways he views her pregnancy, are drawn from my own childhood. In some ways Paul is very naïve. But then, so was I, and as always, one should write what one knows.

Q: Many of the characters of Tigerheart are recognizable takeoffs on characters from Peter Pan. Captain Hack, for Captain Hook; Fiddlefix, for Tinkerbell; Gwenny, for Wendy, and so on. But the white tiger, which gives Paul his nickname of Tigerheart, seems like a new element. Where did you get the idea for the tiger?

PD: I’m honestly not sure. The White Tiger had his roots in the notion that there were wild beasts running around Neverland (later the Anyplace), but he just sort of developed as the story progressed. I wanted to have there be some tangible connection between Paul and the Anyplace, and the White Tiger was it. Originally he was just a character mentioned in passing, but he wound up becoming a dominant supporting character in the book. Everyone seemed to connect with him. Even my teen daughter, Ariel, did. She was the one who, after reading the book and we were kicking around possible titles (since the one I’d come up with turned out to be the same as another book being published around the same time), came up with the title Tigerheart. I liked it so much that I wound up doing rewrites on the manuscript so that the name would be incorporated into the body of the work, since it didn’t exist before in the book as such.

Q: It’s a stroke–if you’ll pardon the pun–of genius to bring a female pirate into the story: Captain Slash, the sister of Captain Hack. Tell us about Slash!

PD: Mary Slash (Peter/Paul/Mary, get it?) had her origins in a character mentioned in passing in the first chapter of Barrie’s original work: A little old woman with a crooked nose. We never see or hear of her again in the book, and somehow she just cried out to be built upon. Also, in most theatrical productions of Peter Pan, there is a direct link between the Darlings’ father and Captain Hook (typically it’s the same actor). So I wanted to draw a connection between Paul’s mother and a piratical character, and that all came together into Mary Slash.

Q: One difference between you and Barrie seems to be your take on growing up. With Barrie, one gets the sense that he very much envies Peter Pan. I don’t think that’s an accurate summation of your attitude toward the Boy. Could you talk a little bit about this aspect of the book?

PD: I’m coming at it from a different angle than Barrie. If historians are to be believed, Peter Pan has his origins in the fact that Barrie had a younger brother who died. He “never grew up.” The character that I most connect with, by contrast, is Paul (again, a solid reason why it shouldn’t be a “Peter Pan book” but instead a pastiche.) I think The Boy is in fact aware that he’s missing something by not growing up, which Barrie’s Pan never is. But his pride is too monumental, and his hurt by his perceived rejection by his parents (barring the window to his return) makes it impossible for him to embrace the notion of growing up. To him, adults are villains because of what was done to him, and if he grew up, he would become the enemy. He could never allow that. Perhaps he’s suffering from Peter Pan complex.

Q: At one point, when the Boy is at a low ebb, he is restored to vim and vigor after a night spent alone with Princess Picca. I don’t suppose you can reveal what really goes on in that tent between Picca and the Boy?

PD: Princess Picca demures by referring to it as “Indian Way.” I think out of respect to her wishes, I’ll keep silent about that.

Q: Will we see more of Paul Dear and the Boy of Legend?

PD: The door is certainly open for it. Perhaps someday we’ll step through it.


From the Hardcover edition.

Praise | Awards

Praise

“By far the most charming and clever reimagining of the Boy Who Never Grew Up story that I have ever encountered. Readers of all ages, prepare yourselves for a very big adventure.”—Terry Brooks, author of The Elves of Cintra

“Peter David sees the world a bit differently from everyone else–strangely, wonderfully, stunningly differently. Reading Tigerheart gave me the feeling of walking a comfortably familiar road, but seeing things from angles I never knew existed. A beautiful, delightful story.”—R.A. Salvatore, author of The Orc King

“David has blended the best of Victorian fairy tales with his own brand of originality, and produced a stunning novel. . . . The best book I’ve read in a long time.”—The Davis Enterprise

“The voice here is one of wonder and discovery. . . . Though elements of Tigerheart put one instantly in mind of Peter Pan, this is not a retelling of J. M. Barrie’s classic story. . . . If anything, it is more.”—January magazine

“Simply delightful, loaded with exotic and cunning characters . . . Tigerheart might be one of the most clever and charming books you’ll encounter this summer.”—Sarasota Herald-Tribune

Awards

WINNER 2008 School Library Journal Adult Books for Young Adults

  • Tigerheart by Peter David
  • May 12, 2009
  • Fiction - Fantasy
  • Del Rey
  • $12.00
  • 9780345501608

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