Thompson, Eldon 1974(?)–
Thompson, Eldon 1974(?)–
PERSONAL: Born c. 1974; son of Tim Sturdivant and Dagne Thompson. Education: Western Oregon University, received degree; also attended University of California, Los Angeles. Hobbies and other interests: Football.
CAREER: Writer. Has worked as a technical writer.
The Crimson Sword (first novel in "Legend of Asahiel" series), Eos (New York, NY), 2005.
WORK IN PROGRESS: The Obsidian Key and The Divine Talisman, books two and book three of "Legend of Asahiel" series.
SIDELIGHTS: Although Eldon Thompson has been writing fantasy-tinged stories since he was in the second grade, his initial career choice involved a different type of armor and larger-than-life struggles on a stylized battlefield. Growing up in California, Thompson gravitated toward football. While in college, he balanced his literary education with plenty of time on the playing field, training for a shot at a National Football League quarterback slot. However, knee surgery, repeated dislocations of his throwing shoulder, and other injuries eventually dashed those hopes, noted a biographer on the author's home page. An early interest in attending dental school also dimmed, but Thompson's desire to write remained as strong as ever. While working for several years as a technical writer—a natural path for someone interested in making a living writing—Thompson continued to work on his fiction and revise existing works with an eye toward publication.
Early on, Thompson struggled with trying to come up with a fresh concept that would rock the fantasy world with its originality. However, while attending the Maui Writers Retreat and Conference one year, he received some cogent advice from one of his literary heroes, Terry Brooks, author of the noted "Shannara" fantasy novels. The "best advice Eldon received, he believes, was to stop trying to invent something so original that it would redefine the cosmos," reported Thompson's online biographer. "There's no such thing as a truly original story. And if there were, by definition, no reader would be able to relate to it." Brooks advised him to write a standard coming-of-age adventure story, but within the framework of a fantasy world, and with his own voice and perspective. The result of Thompson's efforts is his debut novel, The Crimson Sword, a "richly detailed world of shadow assassins, demon queens, and magical swords," commented Library Journal reviewer Jackie Cassada.
Though the book is a fantasy novel, Thompson wanted to approach it differently than traditional fantasy, reversing the now-familiar icons and character roles, as he noted in an interview on the Fantasy Book Spot Web site. "While so many of us dream of being superheroes or some form of 'Chosen One,' rarely have I met such a person in real life," he stated. "In this tale, I wanted to have a little fun with that."
When King Sorl, the iron-fisted ruler of Alson, is murdered, the kingdom is thrown into turmoil as the task of choosing a successor degenerates into chaos. The king's murderer, a dreaded figure known only as the Shadow, was hired by Soric, the king's eldest son, who has become a powerful, but evil, wizard, intent on claiming the kingdom as his birthright. To prevent this woeful possibility, the widowed Queen Ellebe turns to her younger son, nineteen-year-old Torin, whose death she faked years earlier in order to save him from his murderous father. Torin has lived since birth under the identity of Jarom, the son of a mushroom farmer, and is unaware of his royal heritage. Once he is convinced of his true identity as a prince of Alson, Jarom agrees to overthrow Soric. To do so, he must embark on a quest for a powerful artifact that may or may not exist, the Crimson Sword, a talisman once held by a powerful race of elven lords. Accompanied by his loyal friend Allion and a young assassin named Kylac, Jarom faces the manifold perils standing between him and the fabled Crimson Sword, and the throne of Alson itself.
"Though the basic plot here is pretty standard fare, there are interesting variations, plenty of bloodthirsty action … and some interesting characters," remarked Hilary Williamson on the Book Loons Web site. A Publishers Weekly critic called the novel an "earnest fantasy debut" and "kindhearted book [that] employs all the familiar fantasy tropes." A reviewer on the Collected Miscellany Web site commented that"Thompson shows remarkable imagination. There are a variety of characters and they are well drawn for the most part. The plot is suspenseful and has enough twists and turns to keep the reader interested."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Forest Grove News-Times (Forest Grove, OR), June 15, 2005, Rebecca Mayer, "Dreams of Adventure Come True for Eldon Thompson."
Hillsboro Argus (Hillsboro, OR), June 14, 2005, JoAnn Boatwright, "Fantasy: A Local Writer Hits the Big Time with the First Book in a Fantasy/Adventure Trilogy."
Library Journal, May 15, 2005, Jackie Cassada, review of The Crimson Sword, p. 112.
Publishers Weekly, April 11, 2005, review of The Crimson Sword, p. 38.
Book Loons, http://www.bookloons.com/ (October 23, 2005), Hilary Williamson, review of The Crimson Sword.
Collected Miscellany, http://collectedmiscellany.com/ (May 3, 2005), review of The Crimson Sword.
Eldon Thompson Home Page, http://www.eldonthompson.com/ (October 23, 2005).
Fantasy Book Spot, http://www.fantasybookspot.com/ (October 23, 2005).
Romantic Times, http://www.romantictimes.com/ (October 23, 2005), Natalie A. Luhrs, review of The Crimson Sword.