Hook's Tale

Hook's Tale : Being the Account of an Unjustly Villainized Pirate Written by Himself

3.92 (654 ratings by Goodreads)

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A rollicking debut novel from award-winning playwright and screenwriter John Pielmeier reimagines the childhood of the much maligned Captain Hook: his quest for buried treasure, his friendship with Peter Pan, and the story behind the swashbuckling world of Neverland.

Long defamed as a vicious pirate, Captain James Cook (a.k.a Hook) was in fact a dazzling wordsmith who left behind a vibrant, wildly entertaining, and entirely truthful memoir. His chronicle offers a counter narrative to the works of J.M. Barrie, a "dour Scotsman" whose spurious accounts got it all wrong. Now, award-winning playwright John Pielmeier is proud to present this crucial historic artifact in its entirety for the first time.

Cook's story begins in London, where he lives with his widowed mother. At thirteen, he runs away from home, but is kidnapped and pressed into naval service as an unlikely cabin boy. Soon he discovers a treasure map that leads to a mysterious archipelago called the "Never-Isles" from which there appears to be no escape. In the course of his adventures he meets the pirates Smee and Starkey, falls in love with the enchanting Tiger Lily, adopts an oddly affectionate crocodile, and befriends a charming boy named Peter-who teaches him to fly. He battles monsters, fights in mutinies, swims with mermaids, and eventually learns both the sad and terrible tale of his mother's life and the true story of his father's disappearance.

Like Gregory Maguire's Wicked, Hook's Tale offers a radical new version of a classic story, bringing readers into a much richer, darker, and enchanting version of Neverland than ever before. The characters that our hero meets-including the terrible Doctor Uriah Slinque and a little girl named Wendy-lead him to the most difficult decision of his life: whether to submit to the temptation of eternal youth, or to embrace the responsibilities of maturity and the inevitability of his own mortality. His choice, like his story, is not what you might expect.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 288 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 30mm | 435g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 1501161059
  • 9781501161056
  • 3,283,490

Review quote

"A dazzling coming of age story about a boy who too swiftly learns much about life, love and betrayal. Little James Hook is a loner, continuously let down by relatives and friends alike, but he finds easier friendships with fairies, mermaids and a loyal crocodile. Hook's Tale is the moving story of one boy's crazy hurtle into manhood and the difficult circumstances that shape him on that journey. A glorious, alternate look at the forming of the notorious Captain Hook."-Nuala O'Connor, author of Miss Emily "A riveting tale so vivid you'll wonder if it was imagined. The world-building is complex and intriguing, appealing to the treasure hunter in us all. Without question, John Pielmeier has his A-game on."-Steve Berry, New York Times bestselling author of The Templar Legacy and The 14th Colony "John Pielmeier's Hook's Tale is an instant classic, written in an elegant Victorian/Edwardian style deliciously in the spirit of J.M. Barrie. The purported memoir of Captain Hook (aka James Cook) is exquisite and exuberant; the tale is swashbuckling yet poignant. What a gift to readers, who yearn for more adventures in Neverland and inspired new plot twists-even a newborn crocodile. At every turn, Pielmeier offers a spine-tingling surprise; an homage to J.M. Barrie which displays his knowledgeable sensitivity to the literary provenance. This lost boy's version of a timeless villain entertains as it enlightens."-Laura Shaine Cunningham, author of Beautiful Bodies and Sleeping Arrangements
"In discovering and bringing to light this record of Peter Pan's nefarious doings in Neverland, John Pielmeier has done the world a great service and righted a great literary wrong. James Cook's account sets the record straight on a number of important points, not only exonerating the mis-portrayed (and mis-named) one-handed sea captain, but also revealing the Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up as the kidnapping psychopath he truly was. Cook (aided perhaps by his intrepid editor, Pielmeier) is a masterful storyteller and a playful wordsmith, and his (completely true) memoir is a ripping yarn."--Forrest Leo, author of The Gentleman "Rollicking . . .[Hook's Tale] satisfyingly upends all the familiar elements of Barrie's children's story. A splendid yarn." -Publishers Weekly
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About John Leonard Pielmeier

John Pielmeier is a three-time Emmy- and Golden Globe-nominated playwright and screenwriter. His successful plays, television movies, and miniseries include Agnes of God, Gifted Hands, Choices of the Heart, The Memory Keeper's Daughter, and successful screen adaption of Ken Follett's The Pillars of the Earth. He has received the Humanitas Award (plus two nominations), five Writers' Guild Award nominations, a Gemini nomination, an Edgar Award, the Camie Award, and a Christopher Award. He is married to writer Irene O'Garden and lives in upstate New York. Hook's Tale is his first novel.
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Rating details

654 ratings
3.92 out of 5 stars
5 29% (190)
4 42% (273)
3 23% (149)
2 5% (32)
1 2% (10)
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