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Robson, Lucia St. Clair 1942–

Robson, Lucia St. Clair 1942–

PERSONAL: Surname is pronounced "Rob-son"; born September 24, 1942, in Baltimore, MD; daughter of Robert McCombs and Jeanne (Savage) Robson; married. Education: Palm Beach Junior College, A.A., 1962; University of Florida, B.A., 1964; Florida State University, M.L.S., 1974.

ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Author Mail, Forge Books, 175 5th Ave., New York, NY 10010. E-mail[email protected]

CAREER: Writer, novelist, and librarian. U.S. Peace Corps, volunteer worker in Caripito, Venezuela, 1964–66; teacher at public school in Brooklyn, NY, 1966–68; Hialeah Public Library, Hialeah, FL, librarian, 1968–69; teacher of English in Japan, 1969–71; Fort Jackson Library, Columbia, SC, librarian, 1971–72; Anne Arundel County Public Library, Annapolis, MD, librarian, 1975–82; writer, 1981–.

MEMBER: American Association of University Women, Western Writers of America, Authors' Guild.

AWARDS, HONORS: Golden Spur Award for best historical novel, Western Writers of America, 1982, for Ride the Wind.

WRITINGS:

HISTORICAL NOVELS

Ride the Wind, Ballantine (New York, NY), 1982.

Walk in My Soul, Ballantine (New York, NY), 1985.

Light a Distant Fire, Ballantine (New York, NY), 1988.

The Tokaido Road, Ballantine (New York, NY), 1991.

Mary's Land, Ballantine (New York, NY), 1995.

Fearless: A Novel of Sarah Bowman, Ballantine (New York, NY), 1998.

Ghost Warrior, Forge (New York, NY), 2002.

Shadow Patriots, Forge (New York, NY), 2005.

SIDELIGHTS: Historical novelist Lucia St. Clair Robson bases much of her fiction around the lives of real women, many of whom were prominent in their time but have been neglected by history. A Kirkus Reviews contributor commented that Robson's novels are populated by a "phosphorescently magnificent gallery of forgotten women." In another Kirkus Reviews piece, a critic observed that "few novelists working now have a better grasp of early American history than Robson."

Fearless: A Novel of Sarah Bowman, tells the story of Sarah Borginnis Bowman, known as the "Great Western," a beautiful, physically striking redhead who became an important civilian worker for the U.S. Army in Mexico in the mid-1800s. The wife of a military man, she and her husband follow Zachary Taylor's army to Corpus Christi, Texas, in 1845. There, her husband is killed before her eyes; rather than succumb to her tragedy, Bowman musters her courage and throws herself into a life of helping the army. She works tirelessly for the military men around her, cooking, doing laundry, providing medical care, offering card games, and even helping acquire sexual favors for the soldiers. On occasion, she participates in combat herself. Physically imposing at six feet tall, Bowman intimidated many men, but her honesty, courage, strength, and forthrightness impressed those who encountered her. "Robson vividly portrays this enticing legend of the Old West in a refreshingly frank, sometimes shocking, manner" that renders her realistic down to the smallest details, commented Booklist reviewer Melanie Duncan.

Ghost Warrior is a "vivid story of the last days of the Apache," noted Kliatt contributor Barbara McKee. Lozen is a female Apache shaman, good with horses and gifted with healing abilities, farsightedness, and precognition. The unmarried sister of Chiricahua Apache chief Victorio, she earns a reputation not only as a wise-woman, but as an indispensable advisor to Victorio. After her brother's death, Lozen joins legendary chief Geronimo, where she becomes a horse thief and accompanies warriors on their raids. Courageous and strong, Lozen earns the respect of the male warriors and becomes legendary as a battle-seasoned fighter in her own right. A Kirkus Reviews critic remarked that Robson's book contains "a great main character, immense moral tragedy, all sung with full lungs."

In revolutionary-era New York, a Quaker clan feels the tumult of their time as the protagonists of Shadow Patriots. The daily realities of city administration are overwhelming, and powerful military forces and spies strive to see the revolution quelled and royal governance restored. Quaker merchant Rob Townsend does not seem interested in preventing this until he hears the proclamation of the Declaration of Independence, after which he becomes dedicated to the revolutionary cause. Compatriots Seth Darby and his seventeen-year-old sister Kate also give their full support to the revolution, which pleases Rob, who is romantically attracted to Kate. Unfortunately for Rob, the sophisticated Major Andre is also attracted to Kate, who seems more interested in the suave spy. The notorious Benedict Arnold also takes an interest in Kate, but has to contend with Peggy Shippen, a real-life historical figure who eventually became Arnold's wife and who may have also been passing information to the British before meeting Arnold. A Kirkus Reviews contributor called the book "wholly believable, confidently realized, attention-holding historical fiction."

Lucia St. Clair Robson told CA: "Writing historical fiction is as close as I can come to the career I really would like to pursue—being a time travel agent."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, July, 1998, Melanie Duncan, review of Fearless: A Novel of Sarah Bowman, p. 1860.

Kirkus Reviews, March 1, 2002, review of Ghost Warrior, p. 289; March 15, 2005, review of Shadow Patriots, p. 311.

Kliatt, September, 2003, Barbara McKee, review of Ghost Warrior, p. 22.

Library Journal, June 15, 1998, Kathy Piehl, review of Fearless, p. 108.

Publishers Weekly, January 11, 1991, Sybil Steinberg, review of The Tokaido Road, p. 92; June 26, 1995, review of Mary's Land, p. 87.

Washington Post, July 15, 1985, Vic Sussman, review of Walk in My Soul, p. B3.

ONLINE

Lucia St. Clair Robson Home Page, http://www.luciastclairrobson.com (January 1, 2006).

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