Bookmarks Issue: 
Peter David
Award Year: 

A-TigerheartPeter David is well known in SF/F for his work in comics (The Incredible Hulk, Babylon 5, Captain Marvel), the Star Trek novel franchise, and his Sir Apropos of Nothing trilogy. In Tigerheart, he puts a new spin on the J. M. Barrie classic Peter Pan.

The Story: When an unthinkable tragedy befalls the Dear family, the lonely Paul, who has spent his childhood listening to his father’s tales of fairy folk and frolicking in London’s Kensington Gardens, seeks an escape. When his reflection in the mirror begins "talking back to him, Paul [begins] to think that perhaps he himself [is] actually The Boy of Legend." Paul’s journey in the fantasy world of Anyplace, a pastiche of J. M. Barrie’s Peter Pan, comes complete with Indian warriors, pirates, pixies, a white tiger, and a boy who needs some help of his own. But can Paul’s adventures help him come to grips with his own loss?
Del Rey. 290 pages. $22. ISBN: 0345501594

Fantasy Book Critic 4.5 of 5 Stars
"Tigerheart is easily one of the most charming novels I’ve ever read and is an instant favorite—the kind of book you just want to read over and over again while sharing the wonderment with as many people as possible." Robert Thompson

Sci Fi Weekly 4.5 of 5 Stars
"This novel—perfectly cast so as to appeal to both ‘mature’ and young adults—is Peter David’s homage and slantwise sequel to J. M. Barrie’s tales of Peter Pan. … David manages to dig at the implications of Barrie’s cosmos and original characters in novel ways." Paul Di Filippo

SFFWorld 4 of 5 Stars
"Peter David … is one of the most versatile storytellers in speculative fiction today. … The tongue-in-cheek similarities to [the author’s] Apropos series of novels is a pleasant reminder of David’s talents at varying methods of humor." Rob H. Bedford

Fantasy Book Spot 3.5 of 5 Stars
"Mr. David writes in a lyrical prose that is a work of art. Unfortunately, the structure and cadence of the writing serves to separate the reader from the story, keeping the reader from participating in the fantasy, experiencing the wonder alongside Paul."

Critical Summary

Peter David’s vast experience in comics and media tie-ins is apparent in Tigerheart, a good old-fashioned Victorian story all the more appealing because it will resonate with adults and younger readers alike (though as Paul Di Filippo points out, "I don’t recall the original Tinker Bell swearing quite as much as Fiddlefix"). Tigerheart is by turns whimsical, poignant, and touched with humor. The suspense and adventure make up for any thought that the book tries to be too many things at once: a coming-of-age tale, an adventure, a parable. David is a versatile storyteller and an accomplished stylist, and he hits all the right notes here. The novel won’t replace Barrie’s original, but it will make a nice companion piece to that beloved classic.