Thomas, Edwin 1977- (Tom Harper)

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Thomas, Edwin 1977- (Tom Harper)

PERSONAL:

Born 1977, in Frankfurt, West Germany; married; wife's name Emma. Education: Graduated from Lincoln College, Oxford.

ADDRESSES:

Home—York, England. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Novelist. Worked previously at an actuarial firm.

WRITINGS:

"MARTIN JERROLD" NOVELS

The Blighted Cliffs, Thomas Dunne Books (New York, NY), 2004.

The Chains of Albion, Thomas Dunne Books (New York, NY), 2005.

Treason's River, Thomas Dunne Books (New York, NY), 2007.

"DEMETRIOS ASKIATES" NOVELS; UNDER PSEUDONYM TOM HARPER

The Mosaic of Shadows, Thomas Dunne Books (New York, NY), 2005.

Siege of Heaven, Century (London, England), 2006.

Knights of the Cross: A Novel of the Crusades, Thomas Dunne Books (New York, NY), 2006.

SIDELIGHTS:

Edwin Thomas has successfully established two series of novels: one set during the Napoleonic wars, published under his real name, and the other set during the time of the Crusades, published under the pseudonym Tom Harper. Thomas was born in Frankfurt, West Germany, but raised in Belgium and in Connecticut. He attended college in England, where he met his future wife and continued to live after graduation. He aspired to be a novelist from the time he left school, but worked for a time at an actuarial firm. After entering a chapter of an unpublished book (one that was eventually published as The Blighted Cliffs) into a writing contest and making it to the runner-up spot in the competition, Thomas acquired an agent and his writing career took off.

The Blighted Cliffs became the first title in Thomas's tales of the Napoleonic era. His central character in these stories is Lieutenant Martin Jerrold. Jerrold is a rather reluctant hero, happiest when staying out of harm's way, yet thrust into adventures despite his instinct for self-preservation. By the time of the second book in the series, The Chains of Albion, Jerrold has been made a captain in the Royal Navy. He is pleased to have a relatively tame assignment, on a ship docked at Chatham, England, where it serves as prison for 800 captured French soldiers. This assignment turns out to entail more difficulty than Jerrold expects; one of his charges escapes, and he must chase the missing Frenchman across the British countryside. Even the royal family becomes involved in the hunt, which culminates in action at sea. "Thomas is a robust storyteller, with a shipshape plot that would please any mariner. Fast-moving, suspenseful fun," commented a Kirkus Reviews writer in a review of The Chains of Albion. In the next installment of the series, Treason's River, Jerrold must flee Britain for New York, as he has fallen out of favor in his native country. His adventures on the other side of the Atlantic show his creator to be "an action/adventure writer at the top of his game," according to another Kirkus Reviews contributor.

Thomas's books published under the Tom Harper pseudonym feature a sleuth named Demetrios Askiates, whose assignments include foiling assassination attempts and preventing the outbreak of war in eleventh-century Asia Minor. Demetrios, a widower with two intelligent and sarcastic daughters, has worked for years as a bounty hunter. Providing him with the brute force he sometimes needs are a band of hard-fighting Celts from England, who have ended up in Constantinople. While the politics of that era are complex, the author "resists the urge to stop the plot dead for lectures on the time and its curious geopolitical and religious entanglements," noted a Kirkus Reviews writer. Reviewing The Mosaic of Shadows, Booklist contributor Jennifer Baker credited Thomas with doing a skillful job evoking the setting, and added that the author "introduces likeable characters whose humorous foibles keep the story alive." Reviewing another installment in the series, Knights of the Cross: A Novel of the Crusades, a Publishers Weekly writer remarked: "Harper effortlessly draws the reader into an unfamiliar time."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, May 1, 2005, Jennifer Baker, review of The Mosaic of Shadows, p. 1524.

Kirkus Reviews, April 1, 2005, review of The Mosaic of Shadows, p. 388; August 1, 2005, review of The Chains of Albion, p. 813; November 1, 2006, review of Treason's River, p. 1101.

Publishers Weekly, May 16, 2005, review of The Mosaic of Shadows, p. 43; June 19, 2006, review of Knights of the Cross: A Novel of the Crusades, p. 43; October 23, 2006, review of Treason's River, p. 32.

ONLINE

Edwin Thomas Home Page,http://www.edwin-thomas.com (June 23, 2007).

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