All is good in Neverland. So good, in fact, that Peter never expects to leave the wonderful island where he and the Mollusks reside. Most of the Starcatchers are old or have passed on, and the stardust that remains is well hidden from the rest of the world. Peter, Tink and the band of ever-young Lost Boys could not ask for a better situation. However, there is the presence of the infamous Captain Hook. Hook is stranded on the island with a few of his men, but he is sure to stay away from that "wretched flying boy." They live a kind of peaceful co-existence. But as new developments arise, that all is about to change.
In London, Queen Victoria's long reign has ended with her passing. Now her son, Edward, is the natural heir to the crown. But things do not go smoothly as the new king seems to be under some kind of spell. Forces are at work to keep him under the power of an evil band of men, led by the powerful Ombra, aka Von Schatten, a group that consists of the ferocious man/creature known only as the Skeleton:
"...his face, which was as hideously scarred as his hand, the shiny purplish skin drawn tight to the skull, hairless except for a few random tufts. A lone yellow eye glared from a deep socket; where the other eye would have been was only a hole. There was no nose; the mouth was a lipless cavern that could not fully close and thus revealed jagged teeth in a permanent mirthless grin."
This ruthless group is determined to get the tip of Curtana, which is Charlemagne's famous "Sword of Mercy." It is the Sword of Mercy that will give them the key to unlocking the chest that hides Stardust, the magical ingredient that grants immortality, youth and, of course, wealth.
While the Royal Family lies in peril, there are also strange happenings in the London Underground. People are disappearing, and James Smith -- once one of the Lost Boys himself -- has reason to believe that there is a conspiracy afoot. He stops one evening to visit with Molly and express his concerns, but too soon both James and Molly disappear. Now Wendy, Molly's 11-year-old daughter, is determined to locate her mother; to do that, she must first find Peter Pan. She has overheard enough of the conversation between her mother and James to know that only Starcatchers will understand the importance of this situation.
Thus begins one of Peter's most dangerous adventures ever.
Many familiar characters appear in this wonderful book: Wendy's Uncle Neville, a scientist and inventor of the Ornithopter, a flying machine that helps Wendy get to Neverland; Ammm, the porpoise leader (thank goodness Wendy speaks Porpoise); Lord Aster, Wendy's amazing grandfather; Shinning Pearl and Fighting Prawn, daughter and leader, respectively, of the Mollusk tribe; and, of course, the frighteningly determined Mr. Grin, the crocodile who mercilessly pursues Captain Hook.
In addition, some fun new personalities are introduced: Magill and his big bear, Karl; Patrick Hunt, a historian and specialist on the Sword of Mercy; Scarlet Johns, who, under the power of Von Schatten, works with the evil side; and the sniveling Simon Revile, traitor and servant of Von Schatten.
Between sinking ships, stardust, pirates, chomping crocodiles, sharp-toothed mermaids, ghosts, unexpected betrayals, and, yes, even some deaths, Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson continue with the high-quality, always exciting adventures of Peter, Tink and friends. When you're finished with this one, you'll be even more anxious for the next installment in this terrific series. James M. Barrie, the original author of PETER PAN so long ago, would be delighted.
--- Reviewed by Sally M. Tibbetts