For all readers who have ever lent an enthusiastic ear to a wonderfully well told tale, or tumbled gladly into pages that could transport them anywhere, now comes novelist Peter David's enchanting new work of fantasy. Action-packed and suspenseful, heart-tugging and wise, it weaves a spell both hauntingly familiar and utterly irresistible for those who have ever surrendered themselves to flights of fancy, and have whispered in their hearts, "I believe."
Paul Dear is a good and clever boy, doted on by a father who fills his son's head with tall tales, thrilling legends, and talk of fairy-folk, and by a mother who indulges these fantastic stories and tempers them with common sense. But Paul is 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. And at night in his room, a boy much like himself, yet not, beckons to Paul from the mirror to come adventuring. It's a happy life for Paul, made all the more so by the birth of his baby sister.
But everything changes when tragedy strikes, and Paul concludes that there's only one course of action he can take to dispel the darkness and make things right again. And like countless heroes before him, he knows that he must risk everything to save the day.
Thus begins a quest that will lead Paul down the city's bustling streets, 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, he 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.
Brimming with the sly humor and breathless excitement of a traditional Victorian bedtime story, deftly embroidered with its own unique wisdom and wonder, Tigerheart is a hymn to childhood's happiness and heartbreak, a meditation on the love, courage, sacrifice, and faith that shape us and define our lives, and a splendidly rendered modern fable-for readers of any age-that brilliantly proves itself a worthy brother to the timeless classic that serve as its inspiration.
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June 16, 2008
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Excerpt from Tigerheart by Peter David
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.