Category Archives: Tom Harper

Tom Harper Black River (Review)

Author Bio: (pinched from his own web site and in his own words) Tom Harper AKA Edwin Thomas

Author web site

I was born in West Germany in 1977 and grew up in Germany, Belgium and America. I studied history at Lincoln College, Oxford, worked for a while in the glamorous world of pensions services, and now write full time. I live in York with my wife and our sons Owen and Matthew. At last count, my novels have been sold into twenty languages, from Brazil to China.

Under the name Edwin Thomas I’ve also written a series of historical adventures set in the Napoleonic wars. The first of these, The Blighted Cliffs, was runner-up for the CWA Debut Dagger award in 2001.

I organised the Debut Dagger in 2005-2006, and in 2010-11 I was Chair of the Crime Writers’ Association. I’m a member of the Crime Writers’ Association, the Historical Novels Society, the Society of Authors, the International Thriller Writers and the Historical Writers’ Association.

If you’d like to contact me, I’d love to hear from you. You can e-mail me at (replace the _AT_ with @ in your e-mail program). E-mails with subjects that make reference to me or my books are more likely to be read than those that reference Cialis or Viagra. You can also tweet me @tomharperauthor.

Buy the book

Released 10th Sept 2015

Black River

When Kel MacDonald joins an expedition looking for a legendary lost city in the Peruvian Amazon, he’s expecting the adventure of a lifetime. But things are not what they seem.

Paramilitaries, drug cartels, and wildcat prospectors all want what the jungle has to offer – while untamed local tribes will fight desperately to protect their way of life. Maps of the region have been doctored. And what exactly happened to the previous expedition, a government vaccination program that went upriver and never returned?

Soon the expedition finds the lost city is the least of their troubles. The jungle hides deadly secrets that must be hidden at all costs. And someone in the group wants to make sure they never get out.


Up until 2013 i had a bunch of Tom Harper books that i “intended to get around to reading”, but so many new books come out every year that reading my TBR of already released books is a pleasure i never seem to have time for. Then out came Orpheus Descent and i was hooked, this was fast followed by the fabulous Zodiac Station and Tom Harper joined the ranks of my guilty pleasure reads, after immersing myself for weeks on end in ancient Rome and Greece etc i need to break out and enjoy a full throttle thriller.

As with every thriller the writer for me needs compete with themselves, can they outdo their last thriller? Often this can be too much, the plot is too OTT. Tom Harper thankfully doesn’t try to compete with his own work, with a new fantastic out of this world plot, he just ramps up the tension, the characters, the plot twists and takes you (the reader) on a nerve wracking ride.

The location of this book set in the Amazon was interesting for me because my next most recent thriller was also set in this location. I would not be able to do anything but compare the writing of the Bear Grylls fiction debut to Tom Harper a man who gets better with every book and is clearly one of the better writers in this genre, Bear Grylls a man so immersed in knowledge of the wilds of the Amazon, but failing so badly to communicate its danger to the page, so could someone else with much less knowledge get across the dark, dank danger of this endless green basin?

Yes; and not just in simplistic terms, Tom Harper brought the Amazon alive in ways that so many authors fail to do, from the majestic size and complexity of this vastly unknown part of the planet to the dark earthy dangerous wildlife/ insects and the very trees and bushes.  Its in this wonderfully described and immersive setting that the author drops his characters, in a tale told from the perspective of Kel McDonald, a man who is offered one more chance to let that wild unexplored part of his soul free. His wife and daughter (do what lets be honest would not happen often) , they allow him to join an expedition to search for El Dorado, hitching his wagon to a wildly eclectic group who are pulled together on a shoestring, but armed with the clues they believe will allow them to find what has been lost for so long. What they don’t know is that they are not the first to head this way, or why the other group did……and is everyone in their team working to help them survive and succeed.

From the minuet i picked this book up i was utterly hooked, the characters are totally believable (which is uncommon for a thriller like this) and the setting is amazing. The pace of the plot is perfect, when pace was needed i was grabbed by the scruff of the neck and dragged down river on a rip tide, when the plot needed a more intimate pace Tom Harper delivered it, the whole package cost me sleep over a couple of nights, my reading time is usually around 10pm onwards, so i often woke up in the morning with the book on the pillow having read until my eyes couldn’t stay open any more. The plot took over and coloured my dreams and lit the passion for adventure that burns in us all, its just an incredibly immersive tale.

I highly recommend this book, not just for Thriller readers, but for those who love great books, this makes Dan Brown look like a Peter and Jane book.



Demetrios Askiates
1. The Mosaic of Shadows (2004)
2. Knights of the Cross (2005)
3. Siege of Heaven (2006)
The Lost Temple (2007)
The Book of Secrets (2009)
The Lazarus Vault (2010)
Secrets of the Dead (2011)
The Orpheus Descent (2013)
Zodiac Station (2014)
Black River (2015)
The Twelfth Tablet (2013)
Polar Vortex (2014)

As Edwin Thomas

Reluctant Adventures of Lieutenant Martin Jerrold
1. The Blighted Cliffs (2003)
2. Chains of Albion (2004)
3. Treason’s River (2006)

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