Baldwin, John 1944-

views updated

Baldwin, John 1944-


Born July 22, 1944.


Agent—John Talbot, Talbot Fortune Agency, 980 Broadway, Ste. 664, Thornwood, NY 10594.




Ice Pick, William Morrow (New York, NY), 1983.

(With John S. Marr) The Eleventh Plague: A Novel of Medical Terror, Cliff Street Books (New York, NY), 1998.

(With Ron Powers) Last Flag Down: The Epic Journey of the Last Confederate Warship, Crown Publishers (New York, NY), 2007.


The Eleventh Plague is under option for film by Fox.


John Baldwin is a writer whose first book, Ice Pick, was published in 1983. In 1998, Baldwin collaborated with John S. Marr, a physician, to write The Eleventh Plague: A Novel of Medical Terror. The novel concerns a dire threat of biological warfare and a diverse group of colleagues who band together to stop it. The story's protagonist is Dr. Jack Byrne, a dashing and rugged scientist with a mysterious past. Byrne's nemesis, and the instigator of the plagues in the book's title, is rival scientist Dr. Ted Kameron. Kameron, steadily becoming more unhinged, believes he hears the voice of God telling him to recreate the fabled ten plagues of Biblical times. With his medical and epidemiological knowledge, Kameron is easily able to do so, with deadly and terrifying effects. Even worse, Kameron is able to add another, eleventh plague, more frightening than the other ten. Soon, Byrne finds himself in a life-and-death battle of wits and knowledge against the deranged Kameron. Joining Byrne in his battle against the plagues and their creator are gorgeous journalist and former girlfriend Vicky Wade; a young Orthodox Jewish boy with intricate knowledge of the online world; and a variety of FBI agents and family members. Baldwin and Marr draw upon many real-world resources to add realism and depth to their story, including references to the ProMED system, a database and reporting system used to report and research outbreaks of new diseases. A reviewer deemed the book "well done and expertly written," while Todd Richmond, writing on SF Site, called it a "a very enjoyable book" that is "sure to spark interest in the fascinating, if horrifying, topic of infectious disease and bioterrorism/biowarfare." The novel turns a "convincingly rendered probability into a very entertaining story," commented Booklist reviewer Raul Nino, resulting in a novel that is "compelling reading that leaves a frightening echo."

Last Flag Down: The Epic Journey of the Last Confederate Warship, written with Ron Powers, is a "fast-reading Civil War true adventure saga," remarked a Publishers Weekly reviewer. The novel focuses on the adventures of the Shenandoah, "the daring Confederate raider that preyed on Yankee whaling and merchant ships as far away as the Indian, Pacific and Arctic oceans," noted BookPage Web site reviewer John David Smith. In an additional nod to reality, much of the story is told from the point of view of naval lieutenant Conway Whittle, who was an ancestor of author Baldwin. In the novel, Baldwin and Powers describe the Shenandoah's role in the Civil War. Once named the Sea King, the ship was rechristened as the Shenandoah and was outfitted to serve as a Confederate warship. The authors indicate how it sailed from London disguised as a merchant ship and how it spent the war attacking Yankee merchant vessels and whalers. Conditions on board the ship were often troubled, especially since Captain James Waddell could prove difficult to communicate with and placed little trust in his subordinate officers. On the high seas, Whittle and the Shenandoah's crew were cut off from timely communication, and for that reason, they continued their raiding and destroying mission until August, 1865, nearly five months after the end of the Civil War. In total, they were involved with seizing or sinking more than three dozen Union ships. Finally, Waddell was convinced that the war was truly over and ordered the ship returned to England, evading capture by the Americans, who were intent on putting the crew on trial for piracy, and hoping for a peaceful end to their wartime escapades. "Baldwin and Powers recount their tale in a lively, evocative style," commented the Publishers Weekly critic. A Kirkus Reviews contributor called the book "a stirring adventure, smoothly recounted."



Booklist, December 1, 1997, Raul Nino, review of The Eleventh Plague: A Novel of Medical Terror, p. 587.

JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association, June 3, 1998, Anand P. Panwalker, review of The Eleventh Plague, p. 1751.

Kirkus Reviews, April 1, 2007, review of Last Flag Down: The Epic Journey of the Last Confederate Warship.

Library Journal, January 15, 1983, review of Ice Pick, p. 144.

Publishers Weekly, November 26, 1982, review of Ice Pick, p. 54; July 22, 1996, "Plagues," p. 145; December 15, 1997, review of The Eleventh Plague, p. 50; March 19, 2007, review of Last Flag Down, p. 55.


BookPage, (November 27, 2007), John David Smith, review of Last Flag Down., (August 4, 2005), review of The Eleventh Plague.

Program for Monitoring Emerging Diseases (ProMED) Web site, (November 27, 2007).

SF Site, (November 27, 2007), Todd Richmond, review of The Eleventh Plague.

About this article

Baldwin, John 1944-

Updated About content Print Article