San Diego, CA (PRWEB) October 15, 2013
Peter: The Untold True Story, a new novel by author Christopher Mechling, promises new historical perspective on the fairy tale of Peter Pan, Wendy and Hook. Connecting the real-life figure of Peter the Wild Boy with the fictional character of Peter Pan, the story paints an enchanting picture of 18th century Germany and England. Bringing to life historical figures such as George I, George II, Caroline of Ansbach and the Royal Family, Jonathan Swift, Daniel Defoe, Lord Hervey and other, the epic tale spans more than seventy years, exploring the real personalities and events that may have provided inspiration for James Barrie's classic fairy tale.
James Barrie hinted in his own writing that the legend of Peter began long before the fairy tale was written. Mysteriously, in the introduction to his published work, James Barrie suggested that he could not recall writing Peter Pan, his most famous character. Perhaps that is because before Peter became a fictional character, he was a real-life Wild Boy, who lived more than a century before Barrie wrote his fairy tale.
Barrie wrote in the story of Peter Pan that before going to Neverland, Peter resided at Kensington Gardens amongst the fairies. The history of the fairies at Kensington Gardens traces back to an 18th century poem by Thomas Tickell called "Kensington Gardens." The epic poem featured an infant boy who was adopted and raised by fairies. Interestingly this poem was written in 1722, only a few years before Peter the Wild Boy came to London. As a guest of the Royal Family, Peter occasionally roamed Kensington Gardens' hundreds of acres. Peter the Wild Boy was a charming, intuitive feral child discovered living alone in the German forest of Hamelin. Peter's innocent spirit won King George's interest and appreciation. The King and his family hoped to educate the Wild Boy, helping him to grow up and become a proper English gentleman.
It is hard to imagine that Barrie would not have been aware of the historical Peter on some level. The era in which Peter the Wild Boy lived was one that surely would have interested Barrie. It was the end of the Golden Age of Piracy, when pirates clashed with the naval power of the British Empire. It was also a time in which Indians from America were visitors to the Royal Court. It was the Age of Enlightenment, when science and reason were conquering the unknown, the mysterious and the wild. In the midst of this era, Peter the Wild Boy stood in the Royal Court as a prominent, curious anomaly.
The Wild Boy was quite a celebrity in the 18th century. He was the subject of poems, essays, short stories, scientific studies and other works by many notable figures including Daniel Defoe, author of Robinson Crusoe and Jonathan Swift, author of Gulliver's Travels. So popular was Peter in his day that Swift wrote of the Wild Boy, "...there is scarcely talk of anything else."
When King George I died, the Royal Family did not cease their patronage of the Wild Boy. In fact, while he lived through the reigns of three Kings (all named George) Peter enjoyed the support of the Royal Family until his own passing in 1785. Certainly he was a beloved figure to several generations of the Royal family, and Christopher Mechling's engaging narrative make it easy to appreciate why he was so loved.
About Peter's nemesis, Barrie wrote, "Hook was not his true name. To reveal who he really was would even at this date set the country in a blaze." Christopher Mechling invites readers to read his book and discover the authentic figure whom he believes may have been Barrie's inspiration for the infamous villain.
Peter is a magical, poignant tale full of humor, love, and courage in the face of life's difficulties. It will make you laugh, cry, dream and remember what it means to be young. Available in hardcover from Barnes and Noble, Amazon, and at the author’s website (where signed copies are currently offered). It is also available as an e-book through the Apple iBookstore and Amazon Kindle.