The Child Thief is Brom’s third major publication and first full length novel. I was excited to hear about his dark retelling of the classic Peter Pan Myth. When I got my hands on the novel itself, I was very surprised. This wasn’t an illustrated story like his previous works The Devil’s Rose or The Plucker. This was a full length novel. As usual the story is illustrated, but the art takes a back seat for the writing with this venture.
Brom takes ownership of the classic story boldly. His Peter Pan is a cunning and dangerous being. He seeks out troubled and runaway children in modern day settings like New York City. But the children he claims won’t be playing games in Neverland… Deftly weaving in myths and threads from history, Brom creates his own dangerous magical world. Readers will be impressed by how neatly the themes of Avalon and the lost colony of Roanoke are sewn together.
Though there are many allusions, this story has Brom’s gothic and violent style all over it. This tale is not for the faint of heart. I think the amount of killing that happens in the novel may scare off readers expecting a more typical Pan story. This is a dark fantasy and needs to be read with this premise in mind.
For those already familiar with Brom’s work it is a memorable ride. Any who read The Child Thief will never see Peter Pan the same way. But when Peter gives you that mischievous smile, you’ll find yourself smiling back. For Peter’s smile is a most contagious thing.