Perdue, Lewis 1949- (Ian Ludlow)

views updated

PERDUE, Lewis 1949- (Ian Ludlow)


Born 1949, in Greenwood, MS; married; wife's name Megan; children: William, Katherine. Education: Attended University of Mississippi; Corning College, A.S. (biology; summa cum laude), 1970; Cornell University, B.S. (communications and biophysics; with distinction), 1972.


Office—462 West Napa St., Suite 201, Sonoma, CA 95476. E-mail—[email protected].


Journalist, writer, entrepreneur, and educator. Wines West, founder; Manning, Selvage and Lee, managing director, 1985-86; Renaissance Communications, founder, 1986-90; Wine Business Publications, founder and publisher of Wine Business Insider and Wine Business Monthly, 1991-96; SmartWired, Inc., founder, chairman, CEO, and publisher of Smart Wine, 1996-97; IdeaWorx, principal and consultant, 1997—;, Inc., cofounder, CEO, CTO, and board member, 1999-2000. Ithaca Star Journal, Ithaca, NY, and Elmira Star-Gazette, Elmira, NY, reporter; taught journalism at UCLA and Cornell University; Ottoway, Dow-Jones, and States News Services, Washington, DC, White House and congressional correspondent; Gannet Newspapers, columnist; Internet technology, business, and finance journalist, 1997-2001. Served as a top aide to a U.S. senator and a state governor.


Nominee, Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing; Los Angeles Press Club Award for business journalism; Clarion Award; Laurel Award, 1999, for column in



The Trinity Implosion, Manor (New York, NY), 1976.

The Delphi Betrayal, Pinnacle (New York, NY), 1981.

Queens Gate Reckoning Pinnacle (New York, NY), 1982.

The Da Vinci Legacy, Pinnacle (New York, NY), 1983.

The Tesla Bequest, Pinnacle (New York, NY), 1984.

The Linz Testament, Donald I. Fine (New York, NY), 1985.

Zaibatsu, Worldwide Library (New York, NY), 1988.

Daughter of God, Forge (New York, NY), 2000.

Slatewiper, Forge (New York, NY), 2003.

Also coauthor, writing as Ian Ludlow, with Lee Goldberg, of three books in ".357 Vigilante" series, Pinnacle (New York, NY), 1985. Wrote screenplays for .357 Vigilante for New World Pictures, and The Delphi Betrayal.


(With Robin Moore and Nick Rowe) The Washington Connection, Condor (New York, NY), 1977.

The Country Inns of Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia, Washingtonian Books (Washington, DC), 1977.

Supercharging Your PC: A Do-It-Yourself Guide to Expanding the PC, Osborn/McGraw Hill (Berkeley, CA), 1987

High Technology Editorial Stylebook, Dow-Jones/Irwin (Homewood, IL), 1991.

(With Keith Marton and Wells Shoemaker) The French Paradox and Beyond: Living Longer with Wine and the Mediterranean Lifestyle, Renaissance (Sonoma, CA), 1992.

The Wrath of Grapes: The Coming Wine Industry Shakeout and How to Take Advantage of It, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1999.

EroticaBiz: How Sex Shaped the Internet, Writers Club Press (San Jose, CA), 2002.

Perdue's articles have appeared in newspapers, magazines, and online journals, including Forbes, ASAP, Barron's, Wall Street Journal Online, CBS Marketwatch,, California Business, California Magazine, Los Angeles Magazine, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Boston Globe, Washington Monthly, Nation, PC World, DigitalAge, Computer Currents, Smart Wine, VINOfile, and Travel and Leisure, among others. Editor of PC Management Letter.


The Perfect Killer, a novel.


Lewis Perdue is a former investigative reporter, an entrepreneur, and a writer whose nonfiction books have explored topics as diverse as wine, technology, science, business, and travel, and whose novels deal with international intrigue and suspense. Perdue's 2000 novel Daughter of God posits the deeply kept secret of a female messiah, while his 2003 thriller Slatewiper looks at the malevolent side of gene therapy. As Perdue told Killian Melloy on Wigglefish. com, "I wrote my first thriller because I came up with some interesting stories that I couldn't prove [as a journalist], and I thought, well, heck, just go ahead and write a novel about it."

A fifth-generation Mississippian, Perdue left his native state and his family, tired of "having dead men run my life," as he noted on the Slatewiper Web site. He was referring to the ghosts in his own family: his great-grandfather was a senator from Mississippi and also a chief justice of that state's supreme court who was responsible for establishing Jim Crow laws perpetuating segregation of blacks and whites. Moving to New York, Perdue worked his way through Cornell University—where he studied biophysics—by working as a journalist. After graduating and working as a correspondent in Washington, D.C. for several news services, he helped break the Koreagate story in the 1970s that involved a highly placed person in the South Korean government who was bribing U.S. congressmen to vote for legislation that was favorable for his country. Perdue recorded this scandal in his first nonfiction title, The Washington Connection.

In his second novel, 1981's The Delphi Betrayal, Perdue established a trusted plot formula that would reoccur in his later work: two lovers uncover a powerful secret that puts them in jeopardy from those who want to discover the secret or who want it kept private. In this case, ex-police officer and attorney Beckett Snow becomes involved with Tracy Reynolds, who has found microfilm and a strange metal box in the briefcase of the man for whom she formerly worked—the recently assassinated U.S. vice president. Beckett and Tracy play a dangerous game of cat and mouse with the Delphi Commission, an international cartel anxious to retrieve these artifacts and thereby establish global financial hegemony. Barbara Bannon, reviewing the novel in Publishers Weekly, felt that Perdue "attempts a great deal in this complex thriller and, for the most part, succeeds." Bannon further noted that Perdue's novel had ample helpings of "surprises" and "graphically described bloodshed."

In his next thriller outing, Queens Gate Reckoning, Perdue turns to the world of espionage with his super-powered and well-born CIA operative Nathaniel Everett Lowell Worthington IV. Nat, as he is called, manages to mole his way into the KGB and work his way out of what seem impossible situations. His chief nemesis is an outsized, one-handed Arab. According to Sally A. Lodge, writing in Publishers Weekly, their "escalating strategies twist into plots and counterplots that boggle the mind."

Several further thrillers from Perdue employ the dangerous-secret motif. In The Da Vinci Legacy the secret is ecclesiastical and deals with the supposed illegitimate offspring of St. Peter. In The Tesla Bequestinventor Nikola Tesla has left behind a trove of research documents for development of a death ray. Powerful parties vie for control of these papers, and Jay Fleming and Alexandra Downing unwittingly get in their way in this "stolid, less than compelling thriller," as Sybil Steinberg described the work in Publishers Weekly. The Linz Testament once again turns to religion for its secret. In this take, Perdue postulates that the Nazis were able to blackmail the Vatican and Pope Pius to remain silent about the Holocaust or else they would reveal the shroud of a female messiah they had found. Again, a romantic couple is put in harm's way by discovering this secret. For Steinberg, again writing in Publishers Weekly, the novel began "slowly," but midway through "one is hooked." Steinberg also called Perdue "the master of the art of gruelingly violent suspense." Library Journal's Barbara Conaty praised Perdue's "superb technical detail [and] …great sense of place."

The Delphi Commission is reprised as the villains in Zaibatsu, and they are again trying to control the global economy. Mark Stanton, a financial trader, aided by computer guru Coleen Davis, must stop them before it is too late. With Daughter of God, Perdue again looks at the idea of a church secret involving a female messiah and a Nazi plot to keep the Vatican quiet during World War II. In this plot incarnation, art historian Zoe Ridgeway is kidnapped in Switzerland after learning of the existence of a relic that could prove damning to the Catholic Church. During World War II the Nazis had found a shroud belonging to the female messiah, Sophia, who was later killed—along with her entire village—by Constantine, who was fearful that she would prove too dangerous to Christianity. Zoe's husband, Seth, an ex-cop and current religion professor, sets out on the hunt for his wife and the secret shroud in this thriller that is "spun around a religious coverup so devastating it could topple the Vatican and crush Western religion," according to a reviewer for Publishers Weekly. Budd Arthur, writing in Booklist, found the book an "outstanding thriller on every level." Perdue was not the only one reworking this religious idea, the author later felt. In 2003 he pointed out a string of similarities between his own Daughter of God and the then best-selling thriller by Dan Brown, The Da Vinci Code. "There are far too many parallels between the two books for it to be an accident," Perdue told Kathy McCormack of the Chicago Sun-Times.

Meanwhile, Perdue was busy bringing yet another title of his own to publication. Slatewiper, which initially was self-published electronically, was brought out in soft cover in 2003. It tells the story of bio-terrorism and the attempted eradication of unwanted elements of society. A mysterious disease hits Japan, killing off only its Korean inhabitants. When it turns out that this is the first testing of a bioweapon—a deadly gene that can be aimed at certain genetic groups—bidding begins internationally. The Saudis, for example, want it to be rid all the Jews in Israel. Genetic engineer Lara Blackwood must get to the bottom of the genetic weapon before time runs out for the entire world. Booklist's David Pitt commended this bio-thriller, noting that it "deftly combines hard science and narrative panache." Similarly, Jeff Zaleski, writing in Publishers Weekly, felt the book delivered "rich research" and "science/action thrills."

Perdue's nonfiction has also been commended by critics. In addition to his book on Koreagate, he has written on personal computer upgrades and other high technology topics. His book on health and alcohol, The French Paradox and Beyond: Living Longer with Wine and the Mediterranean Lifestyle, was a bestselling title, while The Wrath of Grapes: The Coming Wine Industry Shakeout and How to Take Advantage of It was a "well-written, amusing and compelling list of the problems that beset the industry," according to Orley Ashenfelter in Barron's.



Reginald, Robert, Science Fiction & Fantasy Literature, 1975-1991, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1992, p. 759.


Barron's, October 4, 1999, Orley Ashenfelter, review of The Wrath of Grapes: The Coming Wine Industry Shakeout and How to Take Advantage of It, p. 57.

Booklist, March 1, 1992, review of The High Technology Editorial Guide and Stylebook, p. 1307; January 1, 2000, Budd Arthur, review of Daughter of God, p. 885; May 15, 2003, David Pitt, review of Slatewiper, p. 1649.

Chicago Sun-Times, June 12, 2003, Kathy McCormack, "Author Claims to Have Cracked Copycat 'Code,'" p. 47.

Inc., February, 1989, Hal Plotkin, "Chinese Checkers," p. 21.

Kirkus Reviews, June 1, 2003, review of Slatewiper, p. 776.

Library Journal, September 15, 1985, Barbara Conaty, review of The Linz Testament, p. 94.

M2 Best Books, June 17, 2003, "Author Claims Dan Brown's 'Da Vinci Code' Is Similar to His Own."

Magazine for Magazine Management, June 1, 1997, Jennifer Sucov, "A Web-ripened Launch from SmartWired."

National Catholic Reporter, May 5, 2000, Judith Bromberg, review of Daughter of God, p. 37.

Newsweek, June 9, 2003, Seth Mnookin, "Page-Turner: A Stolen 'Da Vinci'—or Just Weirdness?," p. 57.

PC Week, December 15, 1987, Bruce Brown, review of Supercharging Your PC: A Do-It-Yourself Guide to Expanding the PC, p. 85.

Publishers Weekly, May 8, 1981, Barbara Bannon, review of The Delphi Betrayal, pp. 250-251; June 4, 1982, Sally A. Lodge, review of Queens Gate Reckoning, p. 65l; June 22, 1984, Sybil Steinberg, review of The Tesla Bequest, p. 97; July 26, 1985, Sybil Steinberg, review of The Linz Testament, p. 153; September 23, 1988, Sybil Steinberg, review of Zaibatsu, p. 67; January 10, 2000, review of Daughter of God, p. 47; June 23, 2003, Jeff Zaleski, review of Slatewiper, p. 48.


IdeaWorx, (November 7, 2003).

Official Lewis Perdue Web site, (November 7, 2003).

Slatewiper Web site, (November 7, 2003), "Lewis Perdue.", (March 30, 2000), Killian Melloy, "Twenty Questions with Lewis Perdue."*