Capt. Hook: The Adventures of a Notorious Youth
  • Capt. Hook: The Adventures of a Notorious Youth
  • Capt. Hook: The Adventures of a Notorious Youth

Capt. Hook: The Adventures of a Notorious Youth

by J. V. Hart, Brett Helquist, Brett Helquist

View All Available Formats & Editions

With his long black curls, a shadowy family tree, and an affinity for pet spiders, James Matthew bears little resemblance to his starched-collar, blue-blooded peers at Eton. Dubbed King Jas., he stops at nothing to become the most notorious underclassman in the prestigious school's history. For James, sword fighting, falling in love with an Ottoman Sultana, and

…  See more details below


With his long black curls, a shadowy family tree, and an affinity for pet spiders, James Matthew bears little resemblance to his starched-collar, blue-blooded peers at Eton. Dubbed King Jas., he stops at nothing to become the most notorious underclassman in the prestigious school's history. For James, sword fighting, falling in love with an Ottoman Sultana, and challenging the Queen of England are all in a day's skullduggery. But when he sets sail on a ship with a mysterious mission, King Jas.' dream of discovering a magical island quickly turns into an unimaginable nightmare.

Screenwriter J. V. Hart traces the evolution of J. M. Barrie's classic villain from an eccentric outcast to the scourge of Neverland.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Swimming against the books-to-film tide, this novel from the screenwriter of Steven Spielberg's Hook attempts to explain how the captain's childhood made him the nefarious pirate he became. (It's his father's fault.) The author takes the scant details about Hook in J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan ("piercing" blue eyes, mustard-colored blood, a fondness for trends set by King Charles II) and spins them into a backstory beginning the day 15-year-old James, the illegitimate son of "Lord B," arrives at Eton. The upperclassmen, led by house captain Arthur Darling, identify him immediately as in need of comeuppance and hang him with the moniker James Matthew "Bastard." (Readers never learn James or Lord B's real last name-is the author suggesting Hook was Barrie?) A sharp student and accomplished swordsman, James relishes the notoriety. He and best friend, "Jolly Roger" Davies, become victims of vicious hazing, but perpetrators of equally nasty revenge. They triumphantly lead the underclassmen to victory against Darling's gang in a traditional Eton game, while the Queen and a visiting princess (for whom James falls) look on. James leaves Eton in a blaze of glory, but the story slogs on past this natural end. The author attempts to turn the heretofore conscienceless James into a hero when the fellow saves some Africans from a slaver's ship. The dialogue adds sparkle ("Topping swank!" is a compliment of the highest order) as do Helquist's occasional full-page black-and-white drawings, which emit an air of swashbuckling brio often missing from the text. Ages 10-up. (Sept.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
Gr 6 Up-Opening with young James's arrival at Eton and following him to the beginning of his life at sea, this is a disturbing and engaging portrait of a young villain. At school, he feuds with the young Arthur Darling and falls in love with the forbidden Sultana Ananova. After taking his revenge on Darling and pursuing Ananova, James and his friend Roger join the crew of the Sea Witch, a ragged ship with a cruel captain. When its identity as a slave ship is revealed, James sides with the slaves to earn his own name, Hook. Throughout the story, his dreams of finding a magical Neverland set the stage for his future role in Barrie's classic story. Hart, whose screenwriting credits include the movie Hook, has taken information from Barrie's Peter Pan, including his protagonist's attendance at Eton, his yellow blood, and his unusual appearance, and used it to create a character of his own. James's illegitimate status and its prominence in the story seems to be Hart's own invention, and while it provides ample motivation for James's actions, it takes away from the story's appeal to younger Peter Pan fans, who may also be confused by some aspects of British school life. This is a much darker Pan prequel than Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson's Peter and the Starcatchers (Hyperion, 2004). Helquist's illustrations add slightly to the text, but seem an attempt to appeal to "Unfortunate Events" fans. Overall, this is a detailed look both at Victorian life and what a young Hook may have been like.-Beth L. Meister, Pleasant View Elementary School, Franklin, WI Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
In a first novel only tangentially related to the film Hook (1991), for which he wrote the screenplay, Hart casts the renowned villain as a strong-minded teenager undergoing some early formative experiences both on and off the playing fields of Eton. It's actually two tales rammed together, passing without transition from a slang-thick, Tom Brown-style school story-"Topping swank good form, scugs!"-in which young James, a lord's unacknowledged illegitimate son, repeatedly gets the better of brutal upperclassman Arthur Darling, to a brisk nautical adventure aboard the slave ship Sea Witch . Surrounded by a supporting cast of "lost men and boys" that features chubby, steadfast school chum "Jolly" Roger and a surprisingly canny Smee, James cuts a dashing, dangerous figure from first to last. He's driven to violence by pride and anger rather than malice, and left at the end with a new moniker (but both hands), a newly liberated ship with which to search for the Neverland of his dreams and a yen for immortality. A thought-provoking character portrait, though modern readers will make heavy weather of the first part's dated references and dialogue. (Fantasy. 11-13)

Read More

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.25(d)
1020L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

Capt. Hook

The Adventures of a Notorious Youth
By J. Hart

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2005 J. Hart
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0060002212

Chapter One

Hook at Eton

It was his eyes. The color of blue forget-me-nots, piercing, like two novas in a sky of dying stars. Profoundly melancholy, yes. Except when James was angry, at which time two red spots appeared in them and lit them up horribly.

James stood before the Burning Bush at the Crossroads of the Eton campus. Lean and blackavised, his hair hanging in long, raven-dark curls, twisted like candles. Collegers and Oppidans in their Eton suits, consisting of long trousers, tail coats, tall stovepipe hats, and starched white collars, hurried by in all directions. A few wore brightly colored waistcoats, marking the privilege of membership in the Eton Society, or Pops, as they were called, their long tails flapping behind them as if propelling them along like fish fins. James studied their faces, all giving him the various as they passed by.

"How can God claim credit for this place? This is hardly Paradise. Hades. Bloody Hades. I hate Eton," he said.

"You were thinking maybe of Eden, Jimmy?" answered his aunt Emily. "Don't you be talking that nonsense and saying you hate it. Your father had to niffle you into this fine institution at great expense and greater risk to his reputation. You should be thankful."

James gazed at his aunt Emily and thought her beautiful. Gentlemen were forever turning to look back at her as they passed. James thought her worthy of a place in the Queen's court, worthy even to be the Queen herself.

Two upperclassmen, members of College Walk, reached out and thumped James' black curls cascading over his ears.

"And here I thought we were King's scholars, not Queen's," said one.

"If he scugs for me, he'll be bald soon enough."

Before Emily could stop him, James rapped his umbrella across the nearest Colleger's back. When the Collegers wheeled, James stood posed in the en-garde position, the tip of his umbrella in their faces like a sword. There was nothing playful about his action. His position and stance were those of a skilled swordsman. Survival was instinctive with James--that and a keen sense of good form.

"Oppidan," James corrected. "I am an Oppidan scholar. Honoris causa."

"Oh, an Oppidan and a Scholar? I've never met one of those," the lesser said.

"A little less noise there, Oppidan, when addressing your superiors." The tall Colleger with the dashing good looks directed the tip of James' umbrella toward his lesser colleague.

"Sorry, scummy-chum, but that O.S. after your name does not mean 'Oppidan Scholar.' In your case it clearly means 'Obnoxious Scug.'"

The lesser smiled with an apologetic bow to Aunt Emily, who, of course, immediately attempted to apologize for James, but he would have none of it.

"Might I have your names, as it is my first day and I want to remember everyone I meet," James asked ever so politely. The blues of his forget-me-not eyes were beginning to flash red, causing the Collegers to squirm. The lesser tried to hurry the taller one away, but he would not budge.

"Darling," the taller one replied. It was not a term of endearment but his name. "Arthur L. Darling. And yours, Oppidan? You do have a name?" James recalled the words of author Mary Shelley, the wife of the famed Eton graduate Percy B. Shelley, that his absent father had quoted in his letter informing James of his acceptance into this worthy institution: "Here were the future governors of England . . . the beings who were to carry on the vast machine of society; here were the landlord, the politician, the soldier . . . "

"James Matthew . . ." As his mouth moved to form the words of his father's name, his courage failed him. And in that split instant, the Darling boy suddenly knew to whom he was talking. Everyone had heard about Lord B's bastard son coming to Eton.

"Right, James. Well, you might have to add a 'B' to the 'O.S.' after your family name then, won't you?"

"B" for bastard? Bad form, James thought, watching Darling and his accomplice join the stream of Eton Blues.

James entertained the mental image of his umbrella passing cleanly through the Darling boy's brisket and out his backside with a perfectly executed cappo ferro thrust. The fencing master who had tutored James in the skills of the sword during his childhood would have applauded his good form. Even with an umbrella.


Excerpted from Capt. Hook by J. Hart Copyright © 2005 by J. Hart.
Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Read More

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >