THE CHILD THIEF, Brom, Eos, 19.99, 486 pages, ISBN: 9780061671340, reviewed by Harriet Klausner.
Peter the elf persuades abused and runaway children that the mist covers the island of Avalon which is a haven for them unlike nearby Manhattan. The children always come because he has a silver tongue and primes them a refuge. He fails to warn the children until they arrive that the evil Flesh-eaters; men with scales and elongated claws led by the Captain want to kill them.
Peter and his youthful soldiers and the Captain and his beastly pirates have been at war for centuries. Each death causes Avalon to lose some of its magic as the power of the Lady is waning. Devoted to the Lady, Peter and his army the Devils prepare for combat, but a new recruit Nick objects and wants to return to the mean streets of Manhattan. Peter refuses until the latest battle is done.
THE CHILD THIEF is a much darker version of Peter Pan than the Williams or Disney movies or the J.M. Barrie original novel from a century ago. Peter is obsessed with saving the Lady and the island on which he has lived for a millennium as seen in flashbacks. To continue to do so he needs an army and thus must charm throwaway children to voluntarily come with him. They always do, but Nick changes the equation when one dares to say he wants off the island. Well written, but extremely bleak and filled with gore, blood, and violence throughout, this trip to Never-Neverland spins the classic fairy tale into a realm in which war is hell. // I have admired Brom’s artwork for many years and now I have had the chance to sample his writing. He is a multi-faceted artist and the illustrations show his creativity in both fields. This is a wonderful adult rendering of a childhood favorite. Don’t miss this. Barry //