Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Patriote Peril by Thomas Thorpe - Interview, excerpt | Historical Mystery

Genre: Historical fiction, Mystery Price: $16.95

Published: Black Rose Writing

Release Date: November 2011

Inventory Status: Ingram distributor

ISBN 978-1-61296-066-1

Format: Paperback, 223 pages

Following the return of an empty carriage, Elizabeth Darmon begins a harrowing pursuit of her family's kidnappers. Alone, scared on the frontier of New Brunswick, she trails the kidnappers through deplorable conditions along the St. Lawrence River to Quebec City where she finds a woman posing as Elizabeth with another husband.

Near the scene of the abduction, her brother-in-law, Charles, recovers from a gunshot wound and is led to the Patriote Party's fanatical element of Reformers. He is swept into a rebellion, recruiting Americans at clandestine hunting lodges. Family members cross paths attempting to unravel conspiracy and murder before a tumultuous assault on the governor's palace.

Historically accurate events, non-stop suspense.

Available at Barnes & Noble PaperbackNook, Amazon Paperback, Kindle, Ingram,


Enter below for chance to win a PDF copy of Patriote Peril.
This giveaway ends Feb 11  11:59PM Central Time. 


At last, dark outlines of three islands rose ahead of his canoe. With only an hour of daylight remaining, William eagerly pulled the oar to his destination. The hour was not a concern since he planned to make the return trip under cover of darkness to avoid detection by Indians.

Nine days after his fateful swim to the shore of Lake Champlain, William ran the boat up onto a small rocky beach. He jumped to the ground.

"Emily! Victoria!"

William ran to the cave.

He stopped dead. It was empty. Bundles of food remained just as they were when he left—enough for a week’s survival.

He turned on booted heel, left the cave and climbed the boulders to survey the other islands. They, too, appeared deserted. His anxious gaze examined the ground for tracks, but the rock was too firm to show any markings.

Chest heaving with exertion, he ran back to inspect the cave’s walls for any sign; perhaps some hastily scratched message left by his sisters.

He found nothing. Not a trace of their existence. Did they try to swim on their own?

A chilling thought flitted about the edges of his mind; Indians could have come to the island while he was in Rochester. His shoulders sank in dread as he gazed at the distant shore.

He shook his fist with futile anger at the land around him, and slumped to the earth inside the cave.

They had vanished, perhaps victims of a hideous fate devised by the aborigines. In gathering darkness, he was suddenly overcome by the feeling of loss. He must return to Burlington and organize a search party, yet he could not make himself leave the place where they were last together.


Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where you live, your occupation, your family, etc.

Before retiring, I was the Project manager for NASA's Mars Global Surveyor Mission at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Much like the captain of an ancient seafaring expedition, over the years, I helped guide reconnaissance of the Mars frontier on missions such as Mars Observer, Viking, Mariner 9. I also taught astronomy at Glendale College and live in Sylmar, California twenty miles north of Los Angeles.

When and how did you become interested in writing?

Since the age of eleven, an avid interest in astronomy led me to read lots of science fiction. Favorite authors included Robert Heinlein, Poul Anderson and Phillip K. Dick. Historical and science fiction share a common thread: confronting the unknown. It is a circumstance that both frightens and fascinates. Our vision of exploration comes from experiences of our ancestors who tamed wildernesses and created colonial outposts. Imagine being plopped onto a foreign shore during the early 1800's. The physical environment is tough and tasks we take for granted today were overwhelming obstacles. Beyond these trials came threats from indigenous cultures, disease such as cholera, lawless frontiersmen and regimes on the verge of collapse.

How did you come up with the idea for "Patriote Peril?"

The Darmon series is about two couples struggling to survive and resolve mysteries outside their normal surroundings. The characters are rooted in aristocracy similar to that described in Jane Austen's novels, but the demanding settings strip away mannerisms of the period and only their cunning can help save them.

The 1830's were a turbulent time in many countries. Nations struggled with self-government, having just emerged from colonialism or repressive monarchies. America, Greece, Brazil, Canada, India, Russia and France faced demands for unprecedented freedoms. The idea of democracy was spreading and threatening the economic engines provided by slaves, sepoys, serfs and peasant farmers. Tensions flared between the royal traditionalists and the young radicals who tried to free themselves from the repression of landowners dating back to feudalist middle ages. As a result, conspiracies abounded within governments and murders were common.

I wonder why in the title is Patriote spelled the way it is?

“Patriote” refers to the French spelling of Patriot. During the 1830’s French Canadians formed the Patriote Party within Lower Canada’s House of Assembly in opposition to the British Governor’s Executive Council and Legislative Council governing Quebec. These reformers became increasingly radical in response to England’s refusal to acknowledge their grievances. Rebellion finally broke out in the Fall of 1837. Protestors, calling themselves Patriotes, often poorly organized, took up arms against the English army. Several battles followed between British troops and two thousand Patriotes under the direction of Robert Nelson along with some invited volunteer Americans before the uprisings were eventually put down. Many villages were pillaged and burned. 1500 Patriotes were arrested, 108 put on trial, 60 deported and 12 were hanged.

Today, French Canadians commemorate the Rebellions of 1837-1838 on May 25 under the name: "National Day of the Patriots" or “La Journee Nationale des Patriotes.”

What audience do you anticipate for your book?

Anyone who wants adventure, insight into history, mysteries to solve and the story of a married couple facing adversity on an equal footing while struggling with the customs of different ways of life.

Any comments for your readers?

Historical events are often ignored when presented in textbooks. People sometimes think our ancestors were primitive because they lacked today's technology. Unless one experiences the reality of past circumstances through the eyes of contemporary characters, their relevance may be missed. I hope that the Darmon series enlightens readers to the challenges of the time and gives a better appreciation of the choices made by our forbearers.


Thomas Thorpe was the Project Manager of NASA’s highly successful Mars Global Surveyor Mission – a spacecraft that orbited Mars for nine years, returning two hundred thousand images of the planet and relaying pictures from the Mars Rovers. Mr. Thorpe has published six historical mystery thrillers of the Darmon Mystery series about a couple from Kent that solves international crimes during the 1830’s. These novels include: Message of the Pendant, The Forth Contention, Patriote Peril, Fair Wind to Bahia, Desperate Crossing and Without Redemption.

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Debby said...

Sounds like an intriguing book. I have never read one set during this time and place. Great interview. Insights were useful
debby236@gmail dot com

Sara said...

INteresting interview. Will look for this one.

Vesper said...

This would be a first for me - reading a book set in Canadian history. I have usually read books set in England (because I have only recently emigrated from England)

bn100 said...

The interview and excerpt were fun to read. said...

would love to win this so i can read it great giveaway

The Zoo said...

You've got a bit of everything here! swak50 at hotmail dot com

Laurie said...

Hi Zoo. I'm happy you discovered my blog too...I also love finding "new to me" authors and "new authors" in a wide range of genres (as you discovered). LOL.. I love letting others know about them too. Though, unfortunately, I haven't time to read them all, just about every book I feature actually does appeal personally to me too. LOL So, hopefully, most everyone who visits will find some that they've just got to read. :)

Laurie said...

Thanks so much Vesper. This book is high on my TBR list too and I am really looking forward to reading it, too!

Laurie said...

Good luck .....I'm so happy you found my blog, too.

Laurie said...

I don't think I have either but I really do think the entire series will be wonderful reading.

Laurie said...

The Giveaway winner is Ronda.