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Peter and the Shadow Thieves
Peter and the Shadow Thieves is a children's novel that was published by Hyperion Books, a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company, in 2006. Written by humorist Dave Barry and novelist Ridley Pearson, the book is a sequel to their book Peter and the Starcatchers, continuing the story of the orphan Peter and his latest adventures with the Starcatchers. Peter and the Secret of Rundoon and Peter and the Sword of Mercy continue the Starcatchers books, which serve as prequels to J. M. Barrie's classic novel Peter and Wendy. It was illustrated by artist Greg Call. Hyperion has also begun a series of chapter books by these creators, which spin off from the series, called the Never Land Books. In May 2008 the writers announced a fourth book: Peter and the Sword of Mercy.
The book starts three months after the end of Peter and the Starcatchers. Slank returns to the island with more of the Others, including a certain Lord Ombra, to reclaim the trunk of starstuff lost in the previous book. When they learn that the Starcatchers have taken the trunk back to England, they set sail for London. Peter follows, fearing for Molly's safety, and with Tinker Bell's help conceals himself on their ship.
Once in London, Peter does not know where to find Molly. After unpleasant encounters with beggars, traders and the police, Peter finally gets directions from J. M. Barrie to Lord Aster's house, and rescues Molly from Lord Ombra in the nick of time. However, Louise Aster - Molly's mother - has been kidnapped by the Others, and the children must find Lord Aster who is guarding the starstuff.
Meanwhile, back on the island, the pirates are hunting the Lost Boys. They capture the boys to use as bait for Peter, not knowing he is not on the island.
Many of the characters from Peter and the Starcatchers are back for this sequel. However, a few characters are also mentioned in Peter and Wendy, and some were created exclusively for Peter and the Shadow Thieves.
- Peter - Peter, because of exposure to starstuff, has gained the permanent ability to fly, and to never grow older. Growing cocky from his new abilities, he torments Captain Hook. When Hook captures one of Peter's friends, Peter vows to become more mature. So, when he learns his friend Molly is in trouble back in London, he immediately sets out to save her. He is more than a little disturbed that she has a male friend named George Darling. Peter is accompanied in his adventures by his guardian Tinker Bell, a small fairy or "birdgirl", who is very protective of Peter.
- Tinker Bell - Tinker Bell, who was created from a bird and a bag of starstuff, is the guardian of Peter. She hates when she is called a fairy, because she would much rather be called "birdgirl" because it supports her heritage. She is super protective of Peter, she supremely dislikes when Peter pays attention to any girl other than herself and she calls the mermaid, Teacher, "a big, fat, grouper", and tends to hope she gets eaten by an octopus, and Molly Aster as "a stupid fat cow". She is able to emit a very bright light, this helps Peter many times against Lord Ombra, this technique often ends in her exhaustion and sometimes fainting.
- Molly Aster - Molly Aster, daughter to the great Starcatcher Leonard Aster, returns for this book. When her father leaves to look after a great amount of starstuff, she is left behind as company for her mother. Soon Molly learns that her house is invaded by spies, and that the creature Lord Ombra wants to steal her family's shadows. Molly sets off with Peter to continue protecting the starstuff, even at the cost of her mother's life. Molly lives in a mansion near Kensington Gardens, and she is friends with George Darling.
- The Lost Boys - The Lost Boys (first called Lost Boys in Peter and the Shadow Thieves) were originally orphans from St. Norbert's Home for Wayward Boys. James is leader to Thomas, Prentiss, and Tubby Ted when Peter is not around. The Lost Boys discover their underground home in this book - they are also captured and nearly killed by Captain Hook, but manage to escape.
- Captain Hook - Captain Hook, formerly Black Stache, is a disgusting, filthy pirate, captain of the ship the Jolly Roger. As his left hand was cut off by Peter, he replaced it with a hook-shaped dagger, earning his nickname from Peter. Annoyed by Peter's constant teasing, Hook tries unsuccessfully to use the Lost Boys as a ransom. He can not bear to leave his newly-built fortress, for fear of being eaten by the crocodile, Mr. Grin.
- Slank - Mr. Slank is the evil sailor from the Never Land, returning from the first book. Slank is one of the "Others" who use starstuff corruptly, and he has joined forces with the creature Lord Ombra to avenge his humiliation by Peter. In Starcatchers, Slank had a sidekick named Little Richard. Slank had to kill Richard and eat him in order to survive for months in an adrift rowboat. His fate is unknown after the encounter with Starcathchers.
- Lord Ombra - Lord Ombra is the new villain in this novel. He is part man, part shadow, and he moves like liquid. He causes a chill to come over anyone he nears, because he is able to steal their shadow or possess them to read their thoughts and enslave them. Ombra is afraid of the light, but it aids him in capturing shadows. He is one of the greater "Others". Lord Ombra is supposedly destroyed by a brilliant flash of light that breaks him into millions of tiny shadows. The name Ombra is derived from the French word for "shadow".
- Captain Nerezza - Nerezza is captain of the ship Le Fantome, and he is one of the "Others" who uses starstuff for evil. Nerezza takes Lord Ombra and Slank from England and back again in search of starstuff. One important feature of Nerezza is he has no nose - it was cut off in Africa, but replaced by a wooden nose carved from blackwood and held on with a leather strap. Nerezza is able to smell by lifting the false nose and breathing through a hole in his face. The name Nerezza is derived from the French word for "nose".
- George Darling - George Darling is Molly Aster's London friend, and he grows up to become the father of Wendy, John, and Michael. George apparently has feelings for Molly, but he finds her changed since she returned from her voyage at sea. He is very loyal, and allows even Peter to stay in his room without his parents' knowledge. George is most likely featured in this novel because in Disney's 1953 film, Mr. Darling mentions seeing a cloud version of the Jolly Roger "a long time ago, when I was very young".
- Lord Leonard Aster and Lady Louise Aster - Molly's parents are Leonard and Louise Aster, who live in a mansion near Kensington Gardens. Molly's father is an ambassador to King Zarboff III of Rundoon, but he is secretly one of the greatest Starcatchers. Leonard jeopardizes the mission of returning the starstuff at Stonehenge, because his wife and daughter are about to be killed. Leonard himself is shot in Shadow Thieves, but Peter heals him with a bit of starstuff. Louise Aster is Molly's mother, who is left behind with her daughter when her husband leaves to look after the starstuff. Lady Aster's shadow is stolen by Lord Ombra, and her corpse-like body is used to lure Molly out of hiding. Louise Aster's shadow is returned by the end of the novel.
There is one point in the book where the authors introduce J. M. Barrie. He gives Peter directions to Molly's house by saying "...it's the second path to the right and straight on until you hit the white house with two towers." This plays on the directions to Never Land in Peter and Wendy, "..the second to the right and straight on till morning."
- Wikipedia: Peter and the Shadow Thieves
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