Title: Peter and the Secret of Rundoon
Author: Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson
Narrator: Jim Dale
Pages: 482 pages
Discs: 9 CDs, 11 hours
Publisher/Date: Disney Editions Hyperion Books for Children, (Brillance Audio), c2007.
Peter felt it on the outside of his right thigh just above the knee, a sharp pain like a bee sting. He looked down, fearing he would see an arrow in his flesh. His fear turned to relief when he saw that the arrow had merely grazed him. He was bleeding, but it wasn’t a serious wound, just a scrape . . .
Peter grunted as the muscles in his right leg suddenly contracted in violent cramps, which almost immediately spread to the rest of his body. He doubled over in excruciating pain, and, unable to control his flight, began to tumble from the sky.
He could hear Tink shouting as she flitted around him, but he couldn’t answer her, couldn’t do anything except moan in agony as he tumbled through the air while waves of cramps racked his body. It was the poison, he knew. The arrow had barely scraped him, but still the pain was almost unendurable. Fighting Prawn had warned him. He had not heeded. And now . . .
Peter’s mates on the island are growing discontent with their life on the island, but their quiet existence is soon shattered by the invasion of a fighting tribe known as the Scorpions. In the heat of battle, Peter is wounded and he and the boys are kidnapped first by Captain Hook and then by a mysterious group in a strange sea craft. Meanwhile, Molly and her father receive information that indicates Lord Ombra might still be alive, and head to the island, only to find Peter missing and in need of rescuing from King Zarboff (the Third) and his pet snake, Kundalini. With flying carpets, flying camels, flying carpets, and flying boys, there’s got to be a way home, if only they are able to get ahold of enough starstuff.
This action packed third installment of the series will not disappoint fans. With three and sometimes four plots going at once, it can get confusing at times. But the plots seem to intersect and disconnect almost effortlessly, leading me to believe there has to be a master timeline available somewhere that they constantly consulted while writing the book.
Peter is actually vulnerable in this one, getting hit by an arrow at one point in the story and losing his ability to fly. I won’t ruin it for readers and telling what happens next, but it’s nice to see that he does need help on occasion. There are some tough choices to be made as well, which separate the gang at points in the story. It’s a nice detour from the normal presentation of the Peter, George, and Molly being like the “Three musketeers,” regardless of the fact that George and Peter work together only reluctantly. Peter’s “mates” also find some backbone, which is refreshing because I did wonder how they would react to the prospect of … well, you’ll just have to see, because again I don’t want to spoil it. I did see the “writing on the wall” so-to-speak, and predicted what would happen in the end.
One complaint I did have was I wish some of the minor characters had more personality and distinguishing characteristics. I won’t go into more detail than that, but there are two groups (one of them being the pirates in Hook’s gang) that quite often are lumped together because that is how Peter or someone else met them. I would hope in the next book they evolve into their own people, similar to what happened with James, Prentice, Thomas, and Tubby Ted between books one and two. I kind of doubt it though, since overall they are minor characters and the cast is rather large at this point already. The other complaint was the explanation of how Peter’s shadow gets separated from him, which I felt was somewhat of a disappointment in comparison to all the amazing and well-thought out plot points. But again, those are minor quibbles.
Jim Dale, as always, does an amazing job narrating, and I wish I could do even half the number of voices he has consistently maintained throughout the three books. In this one he continues to impress, with the addition of sound effects, including booming cannons and swift arrows firing through the air.