Peter and the Sword of Mercy
by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson
About the book: The year is 1902—it’s been twenty-three years since Peter and the Lost Boys returned from Rundoon. Since then, nobody on the island has grown a day older, and the Lost Boys continue their friendship with the Mollusk tribe and their rivalry with Captain Hook. Meanwhile, in London, Molly has married George Darling and is raising three children: Wendy, Michael, and John. One night a visitor appears at her door; it’s James, one of Peter’s original Lost Boys. He is now working for Scotland yard and suspects that the heir to England’s throne, prince Albert Edward, is under the influence of shadow creatures. These shadow creatures are determined to find a secret cache of starstuff, which fell to London many centuries ago. The starstuff is hidden in an underground vault, which has only one key: the Sword of Mercy, a legendary weapon kept with the Crown Jewels. Molly is determined to help keep the starstuff safe, but when she suddenly goes missing, it is up to her eleven-year-old daughter, Wendy, to keep it out of the Others’ clutches. Wendy has heard her mother’s stories of a flying boy named Peter Pan, and he may be her only hope to save the world from a shadowy doom…
About the authors:
Dave Barry is a Pulitzer-Prize winning author of more than two dozen books, including Dave Barry’s History of the Millennium (So Far); The Shepherd, the Angel, and Walter the Christmas Miracle Dog; Dave Barry’s Money Secrets: and Big Trouble. Along with Ridley Pearson he is the coauthor of Peter and the Starcatchers, Peter and the Shadow Thieves, Peter and the Secret of Rundoon, Escape from the Carnivale, Cave of the Dark Wind, Blood Tide, and Science Fair.
Ridley Pearson, in addition to coauthoring the Peter and the Starcatchers series with Dave Barry, is the award-winning author of Kingdom Keepers—Disney After Dark, Kingdom Keepers II—Disney at Dawn, and Steel Trapp. He has also written more than twenty best-selling crime novels, including Killer Summer, Killer View and Killer Weekend. He was the first American to be awarded the Raymond Chandler/Fulbright Fellowship in Detective Fiction at Oxford University.
Greg Call has illustrated the entire Peter and the Starcatchers series. He has worked for clients in music, entertainment, and publishing. His work has garnered many honors, including the ADDY Award.
What happened in the last Starcatchers story that you read? Who were the bad guys? In the end, who won and how?
- Explain what happened in the opening scene of the novel. Why do you think the authors decided to start the story this way?
- What is happening in London to passengers who ride the District Line Underground? Would you be willing to risk it?
- What does the Skeleton desire? How does he get the information he needs? Can anyone resist him? What two things must come together for him to regain immense power for the Others?
- Who is von Schatten? How has James Smith made discoveries about his influence over the king? Why won’t Scotland Yard believe him? What happens to James? Whose help does he seek? Why is this more difficult than it once would’ve been?
- What does Peter first do as he appears in the story? Do you think he is being hoodwinked by the sailors? What clues are given?
- What happens to Molly as she investigates the disappearance of James? Before she leaves how does she empower her own daughter, Wendy, to help? Would you believe your mom if she told you such a fantastical story?
- What is happening on the island with O’Neal and the other “shipwrecked” sailors? How and when does the reader learn their true intentions for their visit? Why does Fighting Prawn suspect them from the beginning? How doe she plan to rid the island of them? Is it wise for him to get involved with his oldest enemy or not?
- What is the cache? How is it protected? Who is working to uncover it and what do they hope to gain by doing so? What would you do if you knew about a terrible plot such as this?
- Who ends up as prisoners under the Others? What are they using them for? How does Molly finally figure out what to do? What can you do if someone is holding you against your will?
- Describe the adventure that Wendy takes to find Peter and the island. What was the most exciting part of her adventure? Would you be courageous enough to try an untested contraption like she did? Why or why not?
- How does Captain Hook plan to rid himself of the pesky Peter once and for all? How is his plan foiled? When does he learn he’s been tricked?
- How is Peter convinced to come back to England with Wendy? What adventures do they have along the way? What was the most exciting part for you as the reader? How does Tink help?
- Describe Captain Hook’s first voyage in twenty years. How does it go? What ends up to the Jolly Roger?
- Which of the enemies are your favorite in the story? Why? What qualities make the perfect nemesis?
- How does the Starstuff give Lord Aster one last stand to save his family? What would you do with the Starstuff?
- What is heavenstone? Why is it so important? How must they use it? Does it work in the way they need it to? How do these same tools end up being used against the Others?
- Wendy says, “I never asked to be a Starcatcher. I’d rather be a regular English schoolgirl, sitting in my regular English home having a regular English supper with my regular English family.” (p. 360) Would you rather be regular or a Starcatcher? Why?
- How do Shining Pearl and Little Scallop save the children on the island? What happens to them? How does Mr. Grinn play an important role in this part of the adventure? In the end who is outsmarted?
- Explain what happens in the tunnel near Westminster Abbey at climax of the novel. How does the battle erupt between the two? In the end what happens to the cache and to the Starcatchers?
- Which part of the novel was your favorite? How does it compare to the other books in the series? What would you tell your best friend about these books?
Peter may never age, but of course you will over time. Write a letter to yourself twenty years into the future. What do you want to remember but how it feels to be this age? What do you hope never changes about you? What do you hope to become, believe, see, do? Give a copy of the letter to your parents (sealed, if you like) and ask them to give it back in twenty years.
Sketch, paint, or create a collage based on your favorite scene in the novel. Explain why you chose this scene in a brief artist’s statement on the back and explain your use of shape, color and texture.
Create a playlist for the movie adaptation of the book. What songs should be played during what scenes? Why? Choose at least five scenes and five songs and explain your choice in a journal.