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Peter and the Shadow Thieves is a children's novel that was published by Hyperion Books, a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company, in 2006. Written by humorist Dave Barry and novelist Ridley Pearson, the book is a sequel to their book Peter and the Starcatchers, continuing the story of the orphan Peter and his latest adventures with the Starcatchers.[1] The "Starcatchers" series is an epic story of a battle between good and evil, incorporating a reimagined version of characters and situations from J.M. Barrie's classic novel Peter and Wendy. It was illustrated by artist Greg Call.

Peter and the Shadow Thieves
AuthorDave Barry
Ridley Pearson
IllustratorGreg Call
PublisherHyperion Books for Children
Publication date
July 2006
LC ClassPZ7.B278 Pdh 2006
Preceded byPeter and the Starcatchers 
Followed byPeter and the Secret of Rundoon 

The series continues in Peter and the Secret of Rundoon, Peter and the Sword of Mercy, and The Bridge to Never Land. Hyperion also released a series of short short chapter books by the same authors, detailing daily misadventures of the Lost Boys.

Plot summaryEdit

The book starts three months after the end of Peter and the Starcatchers.[2] Slank returns to the island with more of the Others, including Lord Ombra, to reclaim the trunk of starstuff lost in the previous book. When they learn that the Starcatchers have taken the trunk back to England, they set sail for London. Peter follows, fearing for Molly's safety, and with Tinker Bell's help conceals himself on their ship.

Once in London, Peter does not know where to find Molly. After unpleasant encounters with beggars, traders and the police, Peter finally gets directions from J. M. Barrie to Lord Aster's house, and rescues Molly from Lord Ombra in the nick of time. However, Lady Louise Aster (Molly's mother) has been kidnapped by the Others, and the children must find Lord Aster who is guarding the starstuff.

Meanwhile, back on the island, the pirates are hunting the Lost Boys. They capture the boys to use as bait for Peter, not knowing he is not on the island.

After Molly and Peter's escape, Molly takes Peter to her old best friend's house, where she introduces Peter to George, who soon become acquaintances. They begin to search for the site of which the "Return", a ritual where fallen starstuff is returned to the sky, occurs. Molly, Peter and George eventually go by themselves due to Aster's cautions, and are all nearly killed by the presence of pure starstuff. In the end, Louise is rescued and the Return takes place, and Peter inadvertently destroys Ombra in the process. He eventually returns to his island and rescues the Lost Boys from Hook's capture.


Many of the characters from Peter and the Starcatchers are back for this sequel. However, a few characters are also mentioned in Peter Pan and Wendy, and some were created exclusively for Peter and the Shadow Thieves.

  • Peter has gained the permanent ability to fly and to never physically grow older because of his exposure to starstuff. Peter has red hair. Growing cocky from his new abilities, he torments Captain Hook. When Hook captures one of Peter's friends, James, Peter vows to become more mature. So, when he learns his friend Molly will be in danger, because Lord Ombra will use her to exchange the starstuff, stating that fathers have soft spots for their daughters, he immediately sets out to save her. He is more than a little disturbed that she has a male friend named George Darling. Peter is accompanied in his adventures by his guardian Tinker Bell, a small fairy or "birdwoman", who is very protective of Peter.
  • Tinker Bell was originally a green-and-yellow-coloured bird put in a bag of starstuff and was made into the guardian of Peter by Molly's father, the famous starcatcher, Lord Leonard Aster. She hates when she is called a fairy, because she would much rather be called "birdwoman" because it supports her heritage. She is very protective of Peter, she supremely dislikes when Peter pays attention to any other female, she calls the mermaid, Teacher, "a big fat grouper", tends to hope she gets eaten by an octopus, and Molly Aster as "a stupid fat cow". She is able to emit a very bright light. This helps Peter many times against Lord Ombra, though this technique often ends in her exhaustion and sometimes fainting.
  • Molly Aster, daughter to the great Starcatcher Leonard Aster, looks a lot like her mother, with long brown hair, but inherited her father's startling green eyes. London society views her as a beautiful child, but also unusual, seeing as she is not interested in the things girls her class are into, and appears have her mind is always thinking of something else. When her father leaves to move a great amount of starstuff to a safe location, she is left behind as company for her mother. Soon, Molly learns that her house is invaded by spies, and that the creature Lord Ombra wants to steal her family's shadows. Molly sets off with Peter to continue protecting the starstuff, even at the cost of her mother's life. Molly lives in a mansion near Kensington Gardens, and she is a childhood friend to George Darling. They both have feelings for each other, as hinted in this book, and don't know how or whether to express their feelings. It is hinted she also has feelings for Peter.
  • The Lost Boys were originally orphans from St. Norbert's Home for Wayward Boys. James is leader to Thomas, Prentiss, and Tubby Ted when Peter is not around. The Lost Boys discover their underground home in this book — they are also captured and nearly killed by Captain Hook, but manage to escape.
  • Captain Hook, formerly Black Stache, is a disgusting, filthy pirate, captain of the ship, the Jolly Roger. As his left hand was cut off by Peter, he replaced it with a hook-shaped dagger, earning his nickname from Peter. Annoyed by Peter's constant teasing, Hook tries unsuccessfully to use the Lost Boys as a ransom. He can not bear to leave his newly built fortress, for fear of being eaten by the huge crocodile, Mr. Grin.
  • Mr. Slank is the evil sailor from the Never Land, returning from the first book. Slank is one of the "Others" who use starstuff corruptly, and he has joined forces with the creature Lord Ombra to avenge his humiliation by Peter. In Starcatchers, Slank had a sidekick named Little Richard. Slank had to kill Richard and eat him in order to survive for months in an adrift rowboat. His fate is unknown after the encounter with Starcatchers.
  • Lord Ombra is the new villain in this novel, and Peter's arch-nemesis. He is part man, part shadow, and he moves like liquid. He causes a chill to come over anyone he nears, because he is able to steal their shadow or possess them to read their thoughts and enslave them. Ombra is afraid of the light, but it aids him in capturing shadows. He is one of the greater "Others". Lord Ombra is destroyed by a brilliant flash of light that breaks him into millions of tiny shadows. The name Ombra is derived from the Italian word for "shadow".[citation needed]
  • Captain Nerezza is captain of the ship Le Fantome, and he is one of the "Others" who uses starstuff for evil. Nerezza takes Lord Ombra and Slank from England and back again in search of starstuff. One important feature of Nerezza is he has no nose — it was cut off in Africa, but replaced by a wooden nose carved from blackwood and held on with a leather strap. Nerezza is able to smell by lifting the false nose and breathing through a hole in his face. The name Nerezza is derived from the Italian word for "blackness".[citation needed]
  • George Darling is Molly Aster's London friend, and he grows up to become the father of Wendy, John, and Michael. George apparently has feelings for Molly, but he finds her changed since she returned from her voyage at sea. He is very loyal, and allows even Peter to stay in his room without his parents' knowledge. George is most likely featured in this novel because at the end of Disney's 1953 film, Mr. Darling implies that he has met Peter Pan "a long time ago, when I was very young".
  • Lord Leonard Aster and Lady Louise Aster, Molly's parents, live in a mansion near Kensington Gardens. Molly's father is an ambassador to King Zarboff III of Rundoon, but he is secretly one of the greatest Starcatchers. Leonard jeopardizes the mission of returning the starstuff at Stonehenge, because his wife and daughter are about to be killed. Leonard himself is shot in Shadow Thieves, but Peter heals him with a bit of starstuff. Louise Aster is Molly's mother, who is left behind with her daughter when her husband leaves to look after the starstuff. Lady Aster's shadow is stolen by Lord Ombra, and her corpse-like body is used to lure Molly out of hiding. Louise Aster's shadow is returned by the end of the novel.
  • Mr Magill is a Starcatcher who own tame wolves and a tame bear. He can communicate with them and uses them to protect a home that the Starcatcher own. He also helps keep the Others away while Peter completes the Return. He also returns in Sword of Mercy and is mentioned in Bridge to Never Land.
  • J.M. Barrie - a nice young man who rescues Peter from being beaten by a gang of hooligans in London. In Bridge to Never Land, it is revealed that Barrie wrote his Peter Pan stories within the series universe, suggesting he somehow had contact with Starcatchers and learned a semi-accurate version of the truth, but the details of how this happened are not addressed.

There is one point in the book where the authors introduce J.M. Barrie.[3] He gives Peter directions to Molly's house by saying “You want the second path to the right, then straight on ‘till you see a row of fine mansions." It plays on the directions to Neverland in Peter and Wendy, "Second to the right and straight on till morning."

Differences from the works of BarrieEdit


  1. ^ "Peter and the Shadow Thieves". Retrieved 2010-06-25.
  2. ^ Chapter 13
  3. ^ Chapter 54