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The Child Thief
HarperCollins Eos, 480 pages

The Child Thief
Brom first won acclaim illustrating for TSR's Dark Sun role-playing world. He has since lent his distinctive vision to all facets of the creative industries, working on such notable titles as Magic the Gathering, Diablo and Batman comics. He is the author of two other illustrated horror novels, The Plucker and The Devil's Rose. Brom is currently kept in a dank cellar somewhere just outside of Seattle.

Brom Website
ISFDB Bibliography

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Sandra Scholes

This will be what fans will be waiting for from the award-winning fantasy artist Brom. His foray into writing concerns Peter, an elfin character who breezes into the lives of children, but not just any ordinary children. His other novels, The Devil's Rose and the acclaimed The Plucker have ensured Brom has a firm place in the literary world of dark fantasy just as he had carved a place for himself with this provocative and insightful artwork.

The story begins with a young girl whose mother has ended her own life with pills surviving each day in the shadow of a cruel stepfather who abuses her. Her terror ends the night she is rescued from her fate by a boy who enters her bedroom window to free her from her bonds. She has no idea who he is, yet she goes with him to whatever adventure he might promise. The setting is a dull area of Brooklyn, New York where all the evil and cruelty in that world seem to exist.

In The Child Thief, Peter scours the streets watching, observing children who are unhappy with their lot in life and focuses on young Nick, a boy on the edge, and running from a gang who burned him before. He has all he needs to run away from his awful life along with a stash of very expensive drugs he is looking to sell in the hope his life will get better. Nick concentrates too much on disappearing as he gets found out by the other gang members who plan to beat him up once he is caught. Cue Peter to the rescue again who gets rid of the kids and tells him he has just the place for him to go to where all the other unwanted children flock -- Avalon, the land of fairies, goblins, trolls and other assorted creatures. There they can all play in harmony.

The cover art sports an elfin child with auburn hair, freckled cheeks, golden eyes, pointed ears a scarlet jacket and black lower garments flying between skyscrapers showing his otherworldly status. Brom, formally an army kid spent his years honing his skills in art, becoming a full-time illustrator at the age of twenty with his gothically dark art of highly muscular men and women for book covers and games like Doom 2 and World of Warcraft. He has also worked on movies doing concept art for Galaxy Quest, Van Helsing and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. The other two novels he has written are all fully illustrated by him as well.

For those who want to see more of his work they can visit his website,, where his pieces are there for all fans and even non-fans to see. It features his cyber shop, information centre, gallery and the latest news on the artist's progress with current projects.

Many will see that this is a modern day reworking of Peter Pan, with the Peter in this novel being a much darker individual than the other character of the same name. Bringing the central character into modern times is an interesting twist to the original story, then the inevitable taking of the children to a far away land of make-believe where they are supposed to live happily ever after. Far from being a fairy tale, this is more of an urban street story at the beginning and is certainly not meant for children due to the serious subject matter of drugs, prostitution and gangland in modern day USA.

Copyright © 2009 Sandra Scholes

Sandra writes for Active Anime and FantasyBookReview when she isn't writing short, fictional stories. She is currently working on a manga short and some interesting Lovecraftian type poetry that just came out of nowhere.

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