James Alexander Thom Books In Order

Standalone Novels In Publication Order

  1. Let the Sunshine In (1976)
  2. Spectator Sport (1978)
  3. Long Knife (1979)
  4. Follow the River (1981)
  5. From Sea to Shining Sea (1984)
  6. Staying Out of Hell (1985)
  7. Panther in the Sky (1989)
  8. The Children of First Man (1994)
  9. Red Heart (1997)
  10. Sign-Talker (2000)
  11. Warrior Woman (2003)
  12. Saint Patrick’s Battalion (2006)
  13. Fire in the Water (2015)

Non-Fiction Books In Publication Order

  1. The Spirit of the Place (With: Darryl L. Jones) (1995)
  2. The Art and Craft of Writing Historical Fiction (2010)
  3. Once Upon a Time It Was Now (2017)

Standalone Novels Book Covers

Non-Fiction Book Covers

James Alexander Thom Books Overview

Spectator Sport

Indianapolis’ 500 Mile Race, ‘the world’s greatest sports spectacle,’ was rained out three consecutive days in 1973, and marred by lethal wrecks. Thousands of drunken race fans made the Speedway a vast encampment of garbage, misery and debauchery. The event is vividly recreated through a dozen fictional characters, their lives interwoven in crisis. A true study in violence and voyeurism.

Long Knife

Two centuries ago, with the support of the young Revolutionary government, George Robers Clark led a small but fierce army west from Virigina to conquer all the territory between the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. Here is the adventure, the romance, the struggle, and the betrayal of his life. Rich in the heroic characters, meticulously researched detail and grand scale that have become James Alexander Thom’s trademarks, Long Knife, his first historical epic, is simply unforgettable. From the Paperback edition.

Follow the River

Mary Ingles was twenty three, married, and pregnant, when Shawnee Indians invaded her peaceful Virginia settlement, killed the men and women, then took her captive. For months, she lived with them, unbroken, until she escaped, and followed a thousand mile trail to freedom an extraordinary story of a pioneer woman who risked her life to return to her people. From the Paperback edition.

From Sea to Shining Sea

Thom tells the story with humor and eloquence, and a thumping good tale it is, too.’THE WASHINGTON POSTIn one generation, the Clark family of Virginia fought for our nation’s independence, and explored, conquered, and settled the continent From Sea to Shining Sea. This powerfully written book recreates the warm life of the family, the dangers of the battlefield, the grueling journeys across an untamed wilderness, and the soul stirring Lewis and Clark Expedition. This mighty epic is a fitting tribute to the wisdom and courage of Ann Rogers Clark, her husband John, and the ten sons and daughters they nurtured and inspired. From the Paperback edition.

Panther in the Sky

‘Thom shows how, in honest, capable hands, fictionalized biography can add verisimilitude to the life and times of this extraordinary America…
. The dialogue has the ring of reality about it…
. Thom is able to get into the thoughts and emotions of his characters…
.’DEE BROWNLOS ANGELES TIMESRich, colorful and bursting with excitment, this remarkable story turns James Alexander Thom’s power and passion for American history to the epic story of Tecumseh’s life and give us a heart thumping novel of one man’s magnificent destiny to unite his people in the struggle to save their land and their way of life from the relentless press of the white settlers.

The Children of First Man

‘MASTERFULLY RESEARCHED AND WRITTEN, The Children of First Man IS A FEAST OF A NOVEL. James Alexander Thom’s sweeping saga of Welsh colonization in prehistoric America is loaded with wonderful characters and events, some so poignant I had to stop reading now and then to reflect.’ Linda Lay ShulerAuthor of She Who RemembersWith its beautifully written and deeply felt descriptions of the feelings the first white settlers and Native Americans had for each other, The Children of First Man tells the fascinating story of a European people gradually absorbed into the Amerindian culture until their literacy was lost and their Christian religion submerged in the legend of a Welsh Prince named Madoc, the First Man. Sweeping from the blood soaked castles of medieval Wales to the landmark expedition of Lewis and Clark, from the hushed beauty of virgin wilderness to Mandan villages of domed earthen lodges, The Children of First Man is a triumph of the storyteller’s art.’TERRIFICALLY ENTERTAINING…
A highly imaginative novel that combines an old legend with historical fact to create an epic tale of America starting some three hundred years before Columbus arrived.’ Booklist

Red Heart

In his most beloved, bestselling book, Follow the River, James Alexander Thom wrote the captivating story of a woman kidnapped by the Shawnee who struggled to return to her family. Now, in The Red Heart, Thom once again brings to vivid life the true story of a woman and her captivity with the Lenape Indians. The Slocums of Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania, are the best of the white settlers, peace loving Quakers who are unique for their time in believing that the Indians hold the Light of God inside. It is from this peaceful world that Frances is abducted. Soon she is immersed in the sacred work and beliefs of her adoptive mother and of all the women of these Eastern tribes. It is the women’s responsibility to teach the children and speak in Council, to plant and harvest life giving crops, to heal the sick and midwife new lives, to celebrate with the men in the yearly Thanksgiving ceremonies with dancing and drums. Frances becomes Maconakwa, the Little Bear Woman of the Miami Indians, and a woman who keeps the good of her people at the center of her heart. Long after the Indians are beaten, and their last hope, Tecumseh, is killed, the Slocums hear word of their long lost daughter. The family’s grown rich by destroying the land to mine anthracite coal,and they head out to the Ohio territory to meet their beloved Frances. But for Maconakwa, it is a moment of truth, the test of whether she truly has a Red Heart
. Rich in historical detail, alive with Indian life and a time gone forever, The Red Heart is the kind of magnificent novel of American life that only Jim Thom can write.


In his extraordinary body of work, James Alexander Thom does more than bring the past to life; he makes us experience history as if we were witnessing it for the first time. Thom’s new novel is an enthralling adventure with fascinating real life characters and a heart grabbing narrative that casts a vivid light on a momentous chapter in American history. Flint and Steel begins just after the Louisiana Purchase. Thomas Jefferson has sent Meriwether Lewis and William Clark to penetrate the newly acquired territory, journey up the Missouri River, cross the Rocky Mountains, and reach the glimmering sea in the far West. To survive, the two captains need an extraordinary hunter who will be able to provide the expedition with fresh game, and a sign talker to communicate with the native tribes. They choose George Drouillard. It is Drouillard, an actual historical figure, who becomes our eyes and ears on this unforgettable odyssey. Drouillard, a metis raised among the Shawnee, cannot fathom what drives the two men. Nor can he help but admire their ingenuity and courage as they tackle the journey into the unknown. Along the way, he watches as they shrewdly shape and discipline their force, adding French Canadian rivermen to guide the expedition up the Missouri and an Indian woman, Sacagawea, who will play a crucial role in negotiations with the Western tribes. After plunging into an unforgiving land and near madness, the triumphant achievement of two captains will be eclipsed by an overwhelming tragedy that will touch not only Meriwether Lewis and the frontier tribes but George Drouillard himself. A magnificent tale told with intelligence and insight, Flint and Steel is full of song and suffering, humor and pathos. James Alexander Thom has created the rarest reading experience: one that entertains us even as it shows us a new vision of our nation, our past, and ourselves. From the Hardcover edition.

Warrior Woman

A bestselling master of historical fiction, James Alexander Thom has brought unforgettable Native American figures to life for millions of readers, powerfully dramatizing their fortitude, fearsomeness, and profound fates. Now he and his wife, Dark Rain, have created a magnificent portrait of an astonishing woman one who led her people in war when she could not persuade them to make peace. Her name was Nonhelema. Literate, lovely, imposing at over six feet tall, she was the Women’s Peace Chief of the Shawnee Nation and already a legend when the most decisive decade of her life began in 1774. That fall, with more than three thousand Virginians poised to march into the Shawnees home, Nonhelema s plea for peace was denied. So she loyally became a fighter, riding into battle covered in war paint. When the Indians ran low on ammunition, Nonhelema s role changed back to peacemaker, this time tragically. Negotiating an armistice with military leaders of the American Revolution like Daniel Boone and George Rogers Clark, she found herself estranged from her own people and betrayed by her white adversaries, who would murder her loved ones and eventually maim Nonhelema herself. Throughout her inspiring life, she had many deep and complex relationships, including with her daughter, Fani, who was an adopted white captive…
a pious and judgmental missionary, Zeisberger…
a series of passionate lovers…
and, in a stunning creation of the Thoms, Justin Case a cowardly soldier transformed by the courage he saw in the female Indian leader. Filled with the uncanny period detail and richly rendered drama that are Thom trademarks, Warrior Woman is a memorable novel of a remarkable person one willing to fight to avoid war, by turns tough and tender, whose heart was too big for the world she wished to tame. From the Hardcover edition.

Saint Patrick’s Battalion

In a monastery built by Franciscan monks on the site of an Aztec war god’s temple, a rogue battalion of cannoneers prepares to make its final stand along a strategic road to Mexico City. Reviled by its enemies and lionized by its allies, Saint Patrick s Battalion will fight under an emerald green flag with the fury of the proud and the damned. And as James Alexander Thom s extraordinary new novel reaches a shattering climax, the reader hurtles into a collision between true loyalty and true betrayal and between the best and basest reasons for war. Narrated by two soldiers on opposite sides of the Mexican American War of 1846, Saint Patrick s Battalion tells the true but little known story of an Irish immigrant who deserted from the U.S. Army and was joined across enemy lines by hundreds of comrades. Driven by the abuses of Protestant West Point trained officers and the realization that they were attacking fellow Catholics, John Riley and his San Patricios abandoned their adopted country and took their place proudly alongside the dashing Hidalgo horseme*n and stolid native Indians who were being used by the Mexican army as cannon fodder against the foreign invaders. Though hopelessly misled by the vainglorious Santa Ana, and facing such future military legends as a brooding young Ulysses S. Grant and the brilliant captain Robert E. Lee, Riley and his fighters were responsible for an enormous number of American casualties and would eventually pay a brutal price for their treachery. Its narrative foreshadowing America s Civil War, Saint Patrick s Battalion asks haunting questions about American expansionism, racism, and the machinations of a war that began before it was declared. From horrific depictions of cannonade warfare to the quiet corners of doubt, courage, and love in men s hearts and minds, James Alexander Thom s novel takes us on an astounding adventure into beautiful, harsh Mexico and dramatically chronicles a crucial, bloody chapter in the making of America.

The Spirit of the Place (With: Darryl L. Jones)

At Walden Pond, Thoreau found the setting which would inspire his famous musings on the nature of existence and the foibles of society. Jones and Thom take similar inspiration from the Southern Indiana hill country where they live and work, and in consort provide a beautiful and insightful meditation on the meaning of place and the value of community. 50 color photos.

The Art and Craft of Writing Historical Fiction

The historical novelist has a responsibility to make his fiction both meaningful and accurate. ‘The Art & Craft of Writing Historical Fiction’ offers comprehensive instruction on everything from conducting research to character development and world building to navigating matters of historical license. Author James Thom instructs readers on how to find and use historical archives; conduct physical and field research; re create the world of their novel, as the book’s characters knew it; and, seamlessly weave historical fact with their own compelling plot ideas.

Once Upon a Time It Was Now

The historical novelist has a responsibility to make his fiction both meaningful and accurate. ‘The Art & Craft of Writing Historical Fiction’ offers comprehensive instruction on everything from conducting research to character development and world building to navigating matters of historical license. Author James Thom instructs readers on how to find and use historical archives; conduct physical and field research; re create the world of their novel, as the book’s characters knew it; and, seamlessly weave historical fact with their own compelling plot ideas.

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