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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 ...
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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.
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.
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Posted January 4, 2012
I've read this book multiple times and I each time i find that I enjoyed it more than the last. It is beautifully written and the chracters are defidentally not "bags of bones." I am a huge fan of books that make the "bad guy" out as not to bad after all (such as Memnoch the Devil by Anne Rice and many more) Isuggest this to book to anyone and everyone.
I also think that the song "I'm Not Okay" by My Chemical Romance sort of describes James, Roger and the rest of their underclassmen friends.
Posted January 22, 2010
i picked this book at the library and just couldn't put it down. i've read alot of books in my lifetime and this has been one of the best. It's different to the garbage that most teen and kids book have these days and i wish every single book was written like this. It shows Cap'n Hook as more than just a villain but as a person who has dreams and aspirations. James is an altogether interesting and amusing character. After reading this book you shall never look at Peter pan the same way again.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
I picked up this book out of curiosity and ending up not being able to put it down. I am 19 years old and was not expecting a children's book to thrill me like this one did; honestly I am happy to know that a book like this exists because it reestablishes my faith in young literature. Unlike the convoluted garbage present in most children's books, Hook demonstrates characters of exceptional development. While presenting situations of a fantastical nature (such as Hook's whistling spider Electra) it also progresses forwards with a strong sense of plot and a variety of realistic situations. <BR/><BR/>Hook is not simply a mindless villain cackling over the demise of those who stand in his path; he is a young man struggling to define himself amidst an extraordinary upbringing. He is intelligent but unrecognized for it because of his bastard birth; he falls in love with a Royal of high standing and is challenged by her protectors, forbidden to make contact. Retaining morals and humanity with a dark humor are all elements that make the book exceedingly charming. The only possible qualm with the prose is that it includes a lot of British slang and sailing terms that some children may not understand. Regardless, the book is an excellent read and should be approached so that children can define the difference between an antihero and a carbon-copy Disney villain.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 31, 2007
Posted September 5, 2007
i got this book out of pure curiosity, but i love it. i always thought captain hook was a heartless, evil, and just plain mean, but this book proves that you cant judge a book by the cover.James really does have a heart of gold which is weird because he was always consitered the bad guy. this book is possitivly brilliant, James is an amazing charater and very entertaining. This book is extremely funny and clever, it also has a little bit of love in it 'which shocked me!'. this book shows friendship, mischief, fighting, and suprises. so if you wonder what the notorious capt. hook was like when he was young read this, you wont regret it! but this is coming from a thirteen year old so if you listen it is really your falt. :) The End..Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 3, 2007
Posted June 30, 2007
Posted April 2, 2007
Most authors only manage to give us a story about the 'good guy'. Hook is refreshingly different. It gives us an astoundingly clear view of a villain's childhood. I reccomend this to any fan of Peter Pan. As J. V. Hart does not ruin the main story, only expounds on it, you will be very satisfied. I am eagerly awaiting the next book in the series.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 29, 2007
Posted November 11, 2006
Most Peter Pan based books are based on just that Peter Pan. This book deals with the notorious Captain Hook, but in a softer light. It shows the events of his life (from his father who was never there for him, to his classmates at Eton, who tormented the so-called 'bastard') and shows that his evil adulthood is not entirely his fault. When he falls in love with a foreign Sultana, many try to 'keep her safe' from him. But she returns his love, and, ever the adventurer, he forms a grand scheme which involves high-sea chases, and stealing his best (and only) friend's father's boat and re-naming it the Jolly Roger. From winning an unwinnable game, to playing pranks with a stolen spider, to standing up to the school bullies, James (or Jas. as his followers call him) will win the heart of any reader. Mr. Hart has created a world so full of fantasy and written in such a clever way readers will forget that they are reading, and only return to reality when the book comes to an end. This book is my favorite, but not for the weak of stomach. Suitable for children ages eight and up. Come, and join the thousands of people who have read this book. Come, and meet Hook.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 11, 2006
Posted June 5, 2006
Posted January 10, 2006
I was stuck for novels to read, and my mother found this one in the children's section. I didn't read it for a few days, but then one night I picked it up and couldn't put it down. The language is wonderfully Victorian, though I would have liked a glossary of the Eton slang in the back. I didn't think it was possible to love Hook more, but this book did it! Topping Swank, Mr. Hart!! Please write more novels for us!!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 4, 2005
This book grips you from the very beginning. As James Matthew shows his defiance of authority and becomes the hero of anyone who has ever experienced the abuses of aristocratic society and felt the sting of being judged by your class. He simply lifts you above the fact you know he will become the most murderous villian of stories to come. Must read must read must read!!!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 2, 2006
The author certainly has a command of the English vocabulary and the book is well-researched into the culture of Victorian England. But the story loses credibility when the future Captain Hook becomes an abolitionist on his royal father's slave ship. If Hook is so dedicated to evil, as is implied in the book, why would he be opposed to one of the great human evils of all time--slavery? Perhaps the author did not want to stress the quality of evil within his protagonist too strongly to his young readers, particularly a racially-charged one like black slavery.
0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 8, 2005
What a wonderful story and 'awfully big adventure'!! I enjoyed this tale of the young James Matthew and the eloquence by which it was written! The author really expanded MY vocabulary! Good form, Mr. Hart!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 27, 2005
Posted August 29, 2005
Hart's portrayal of Hook's youth is enthralling. His imagery is powerful and the tone leads the reader to learn Hook from the inside out. Each chapter was an adventure. However, I would question the recommended age bracket for reading, which is 9-12. There are some fairly serious themes running through this book, and many of them are highly sensitive.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 3, 2005
I can hardly describe how much I love this book. I've always liked twisted fairy-tales and stories where we see the antagonist's point of view and Hart did an excellent job on this one. Classy villains are always the most intriuging characters and King Jas. is no exception. He's witty, polite, devious and insane what's not to love?Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 23, 2008
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