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James Alexander Thom Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Let the Sunshine In (1976)Description / Buy at Amazon
Spectator Sport (1978)Description / Buy at Amazon
Long Knife (1979)Description / Buy at Amazon
Follow the River (1981)Description / Buy at Amazon
From Sea to Shining Sea (1984)Description / Buy at Amazon
Staying Out of Hell (1985)Description / Buy at Amazon
Panther in the Sky (1989)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Children of First Man (1994)Description / Buy at Amazon
Red Heart (1997)Description / Buy at Amazon
Sign-Talker (2000)Description / Buy at Amazon
Warrior Woman (2003)Description / Buy at Amazon
Saint Patrick's Battalion (2006)Description / Buy at Amazon
Fire in the Water (2015)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

The Spirit of the Place (With: Darryl L. Jones) (1995)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Art and Craft of Writing Historical Fiction (2010)Description / Buy at Amazon
Once Upon a Time It Was Now (2017)Description / Buy at Amazon

Author James Alexander Thom was born in the year 1933 in Gosport, Indiana. He graduated from Butler University with a BA in journalism and later served in the United States Marine Corps during the Korean War. He once was a professor of journalism at Indiana University, and contributed to The Saturday Evening Post.

In the spring of 2014, he was inducted into the Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame, since he was a magazine and newspaper journalist before he became a full time author.

He feels that when he begins writing a new book, he is reborn into a whole other world.

“The Art and Craft of Writing Historical Fiction” was picked by the Indiana State Library in the year 2011 as Best Book on Nonfiction. He was also picked in the year 2009, as the first winner of the yearly Indiana Author’s Award, National Category.

“Follow the River” was adapted into a television movie in the year 1995, with the same title.

Dark Rain Thom, James’ fifth wife, was once a member of the Shawnee United Remnant Band until it broke up. She has also co-written some of his books with him, called “The Shawnee: Kohkumthena’s Grandchildren” and “Warrior Woman”.

His debut novel, called “Let the Sunshine In”, was released in the year 1976. Thom’s books are from the western and nonfiction genres. James sets his work during the colonial American era. His books are noted for their historical accuracy that is borne from his painstaking research.

“Long Knife” is a stand alone novel, which was released in the year 1979. The book is set from 1777 to 1779. Two hundred years ago, with the young Revolutionary government’s support, George Rogers Clark led a fierce but tiny army west from Virginia. Their mission was to conquer all the land between the Ohio and the Mississippi Rivers. This is the romance, the adventure, the struggle, and the betrayal of his entire life.

This historical novel is an enjoyable, excellent, and well written. It is also very accurate to the period, and exciting, holding the attention of the reader very well. For some this shines a light on a part of American history they hadn’t thought about much.

“Follow the River” is a stand alone novel, which was released in the year 1981. Mary Ingles was married, pregnant, and twenty-three years old when the Shawnee Indians invaded the quiet Virginia settlement. They killed the women and the men before they took Mary captive. For months, she lived with these people, unbroken, before she escaped and followed a long one thousand mile journey to her freedom. It is an extraordinary tale of a pioneer woman that risked her very life to be able to return to her own people.

This is historical fiction done well. It is a true story that grabs your attention right from the very start. The events are exciting, making the book tough to put down for very long. Thom delivers a realistic and powerful retelling of an outstanding and moving true story. At times, it is rather stark and severe, showing how much Mary suffers.

“From Sea to Shining Sea” is a stand alone novel, which was released in the year 1984. In just a single generation, the Clark family of Virginia battled for the independence of our nation, and conquered, explored, and settled the whole continent from sea to shining sea.

This novel recreates the family’s warm life, the grueling expedition over an untamed wilderness, and the dangers on the battlefield.

Even though this is a longer book, fans still did not want it to end, as readers were captivated from start to finish. Thom brings the story of the Lewis and Clark expedition to life in these pages, proving he is one of the greats historical fiction writer. Readers also enjoyed reading about all of the extraordinary Clark family, and not just William and George.

“The Children of First Man” is a stand alone novel, which was released in the year 1994. This tells the story of a European people that are gradually absorbed into the Amerindian culture until they lose their literacy. Then their Christian religion is submerged within the legend of Madoc, a Welsh Prince, and the First Man.

Going from the blood-soaked castles of medieval Wales right to the landmark expedition of Lewis and Clark. From the quiet beauty of virgin wilderness to the Mandan villages of the domed eastern lodges, the book is a triumph of the storyteller’s art.

Thom, as always, masterfully researched and wrote this one and provides readers with the story equivalent of a feast. This book is terrifically entertaining, one that is highly imaginative and combines historical fact with an old legend in order to create an epic tale of America’s beginning three centuries before Columbus’ arrival.

“The Red Heart” is a stand alone novel, which was released in the year 1997. The Slocums of Northeastern Pennsylvania are the perfect white settlers, made up of peace-loving Quakers that believe Indians have the light of God inside them. From this good-hearted family that a little girl named Frances is abducted from during the Revolutionary war.

While the child’s terror eases, she is slowly pulled into the sacred work as well as the beliefs of her adoptive mom and of all the women in these Eastern tribes. Frances transforms into Maconakwa, or the Little Bear Woman of the Miami Indians. Long after the Indians have been defeated and Tecumseh, their last hope, is killed. The Slocums hear about their long missing daughter and go off to Indiana to meet up with their beloved Frances. For Maconakwa, it really is a moment of truth, a test of whether her heart is actually a red one or not.

The book is serious historical fiction, that is long and descriptive, yet definitely worth the effort to read it. Thom is able to stay true to history and still bring excellent stories to life. Besides being an entertaining read, this also teaches the reader about a part of history not many readers know too much about.

Book Series In Order » Authors » James Alexander Thom

One Response to “James Alexander Thom”

  1. Kris Pyle: 1 year ago

    Have read most of J.A. Thom’s wonderful tomes since the 1990s. Just had a “tea” with several ladies who’d recently discovered him. Consensus was favorite book CHILDREN OF FIRST MAN. But all others were well loved. FOLLOW THE RIVER was the book that introduced me to Mr. Thom’s writings. Would like to express my thanks & admiration to him for them all. Reading of the endurance these historic people put forth in their lives – overcoming hardships, etc. has given me so much encouragement in my own daily battles that seem so minor in comparison.


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