Sington, Philip 1962–

views updated

Sington, Philip 1962–

(Patrick Lynch, a joint pseudonym)


Born January 16, 1962, in Cambridge, England; son of Peter and Dorothy Sington. Education: Trinity College, Cambridge, B.A., M.A. (with honors), 1983.


Home and office—London, England. Agent—Peter Straus, Rogers, Coleridge & White, Ltd., 20 Powis Mews, London W11 1JN, England. E-mail—[email protected]


Novelist. Euromoney Publications, London, England, financial journalist and editor, 1986-95. Also read history at Trinity College, Cambridge, England.


Zoia's Gold (novel), Scribner (New York, NY), 2006.

Also author of plays and screenplays.


The Annunciation, Heinemann (London, England), 1993.

The Immaculate Conception, Heinemann (London, England), 1994.

Carriers, Random House (New York, NY), 1995.

Omega, Dutton (New York, NY), 1997.

The Policy, Dutton (New York, NY), 1998.

Figure of Eight, Dutton (New York, NY), 2000.

Carriers and Omega have been published in Japanese, German, Italian, Spanish, Czech, Slovak, Polish, and Danish editions.


The film rights for Omega were optioned by Universal Studios.


Philip Sington is the author of a number of suspense novels, including Omega and Figure of Eight, written in collaboration with Gary Humphreys, under the joint pseudonym Patrick Lynch. Sington has also published the solo novel Zoia's Gold, a work of historical fiction.

Sington once told CA: "In the Patrick Lynch thrillers, as in everything else I write, it is the characters and their experiences which are paramount. The thrillers all contain elements of contemporary science—genetics, medicine—focusing on the impact that developments in these fields can and will have on our lives; but these elements are always woven into a human drama. Although our research is always as meticulous as we [Sington and Humphreys] can make it, Patrick Lynch is definitely not a techno-thriller writer. It is people that interest us, and the new worlds they may find themselves entering in the near future.

"The Patrick Lynch collaboration operates in four broad stages. It begins with ideas and a storyline, which the two of us hammer out during intensive sessions over a year or two. When the story has been worked out in some detail, we embark upon research to test our ideas, fill in areas of detail, and thoroughly familiarize ourselves with the environments we are concerned with and the people that inhabit them: a Los Angeles inner city hospital, a genetic sciences company, a film studio, and so on. Then the writing begins. This is the least collaborative part. We write separately, taking different elements of the story and following them through. Then, armed with a first draft, the final editing stage begins, in which both of us comment on, edit, and sometimes re-write each other's work. This requires understanding, mutual respect, and a willingness to see the whole as belonging equally to both. Creatively speaking, the most valuable element of the collaboration is probably the first: during the generation of ideas and stories. Bringing slightly different qualities and perspectives to the exchange is very stimulating.

"Writing alone is very different. The work I do there tends to be simpler, more personal—and more playful—and is rewarding in a different way. The aim, though, is ultimately the same: to produce a story that is both compelling and thought-provoking."

In 1993 Sington published The Annunciation, his first novel with Humphreys, and the duo followed that a year later with The Immaculate Conception. In their third effort, Carriers, botanist Jonathan Rhodes discovers an outbreak of an ebola-like virus in the jungles of Sumatra. When Rhodes and his twin daughters go missing, a team of medical experts is sent in to control the epidemic and locate the scientist and his family. "High-tech medical detail boosts realism," a critic in Publishers Weekly noted. Mary Frances Wilkens, writing in Booklist, called the novel "a fast-paced, exciting read."

Omega, deemed an "imaginative and chillingly realistic thriller" by a reviewer in Publishers Weekly, concerns a team of medical professionals combating a deadly strain of drug-resistant bacteria. When his daughter falls ill, Dr. Marcus Ford learns that the cure may be a genetically engineered antibiotic named Omega. According to the Publishers Weekly critic, "the excitement rarely falters and the story hits the jugular nerve." A young actuary uncovers scandal and murder in The Policy. Alexandra Tynan, an employee of Rhode Island insurance company ProvLife, finds her own life in danger after she stumbles across a brilliant scam involving genetic testing. "Lynch builds his suspense within a diabolically clever plot and sustains the tension in a credible way throughout," noted Thea Davis on the Mystery Reader Web site. A Publishers Weekly reviewer stated that "cold corporate games, masquerading as camaraderie, cast an icy menace throughout the proceedings." In Figure of Eight, private investigator Pete Golding is hired to protect former world champion ice-skater Ellen Cusak from a mysterious stalker. "Lynch has a talent for suspense tinged with horror and this fast-paced ride appeals," noted a contributor in Publishers Weekly.

Zoia's Gold, described as "part thriller, part biography, and wholly engrossing" by Entertainment Weekly contributor Rebecca Ascher-Walsh, appeared in 2006. Loosely based on the life of Madame Zoia, a Russian artist, Zoia's Gold focuses on Marcus Elliott, a disgraced art dealer who is hired to write a catalog for an exhibition of Zoia's paintings. As he delves into her personal papers, Elliott becomes obsessed with the artist, believing that a portrait she painted holds the key to his mother's suicide. According to Chicago Tribune Books reviewer Dick Adler, Sington "turns Elliot into a credible guide through the fictional—but no less amazing—part of his exceptionally diverting and involving thriller." In the work, the author "digs deep into the documents left behind by Zoia Korvin-Krukovsky—last-known survivor of the Romanov court, femme fatale, emigre artist," wrote Katherine Shonk in the Moscow Times. "In doing so, he not only melds the best elements of biography and fiction to create a tale that is at once expansive and intimate, but offers compelling insights into both his own creative process and that of his subject."



Booklist, August 1, 1995, Mary Frances Wilkens, review of Carriers, p. 1910; September 15, 2006, Michael Gannon, review of Zoia's Gold, p. 32.

Entertainment Weekly, November 24, 2006, Rebecca Ascher-Walsh, review of Zoia's Gold, p. 113.

Kirkus Reviews, August 1, 2006, review of Zoia's Gold, p. 750.

Library Journal, August 1, 2006, Edward Cone, review of Zoia's Gold, p. 73.

Moscow Times, December 15, 2006, Katherine Shonk, "Bewitched," review of Zoia's Gold.

Press (York, England), January 21, 2006, review of Zoia's Gold.

Publishers Weekly, July 31, 1995, review of Carriers, p. 71; August 4, 1997, review of Omega, p. 63; July 27, 1998, review of The Policy, p. 54; November 1, 1999, review of Figure of Eight, p. 72; September 25, 2006, review of Zoia's Gold, p. 44.

Tribune Books (Chicago, IL), December 3, 2006, Dick Adler, "A Gallery of Familiar Criminals, Cops," review of Zoia's Gold, p. 8.

Washington Post Book World, October 2, 1997, review of Omega.


Mystery Reader, (March 1, 2006), Steve Nemmers, review of Omega; Thea Davis, review of The Policy.

Zoia's Gold Web site, (February 19, 2007).