alt.books.tom-holt Frequently Asked Questions

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Nick Boalch

Mar 18, 2004, 4:16:12 AM3/18/04
Archive-name: books/tom-holt-faq
Posting-Frequency: Every 30 days
Last-modified: 2003/03/27
Version: 2.0.1

alt.books.tom-holt Frequently Asked Questions
Nick Boalch (
Version 2.0.1 (February 27, 2003)

>> This ASCII text version of the alt.books.tom-holt FAQ is compiled from
>> LaTeX source and loses a certain amount of formatting and emphasis in
>> the translation. The FAQ is available in other formats which do not lose
>> these features, including DVI and PostScript, or you can compile your own
>> version from the LaTeX source into whichever format you require. See
>> section 6.2.2 for details of where and how to obtain these files.

>> This Usenet version of the FAQ has the quoting character ">" added before
>> each section heading, so that they will be marked out, particularly in
>> newsreaders which colour quoted sections of messages.

> Contents

1 - What's new & to-do list
1.1 - What's new since the last update?
1.1.1 - New from version 2.0.0 to version 2.0.1
1.1.2 - New from version 1.3.0 to version 2.0.0
1.1.3 - New from version 1.2.9 to version 1.3.0
1.1.4 - New from version 1.2.8 to version 1.2.9
1.1.5 - New from version 1.2.7 to version 1.2.8
1.1.6 - New from version 1.2.6a to version 1.2.7
1.1.7 - New from version 1.2.6 to version 1.2.6a
1.1.8 - New from version 1.2.5 to version 1.2.6
1.1.9 - New from version 1.2.4 to version 1.2.5
1.1.10 - New from version 1.2.3 to version 1.2.4
1.1.11 - New from version 1.2.2 to version 1.2.3
1.1.12 - New from version 1.2.1 to version 1.2.2
1.1.13 - New from version 1.2.0 to version 1.2.1
1.1.14 - New from version 1.1.5 to version 1.2.0
1.2 - To-do list

2 - About Tom Holt
2.1 - Biographical information
2.2 - Bibliography
2.2.1 - Novels
2.2.2 - Verse
2.2.3 - Omnibus editions
2.2.4 - Short stories
2.2.5 - Collected short stories & amalgamated drivel
2.2.6 - Anthologies featuring Tom Holt
2.3 - Contacting Tom Holt

3 - About the newsgroup
3.1 - When was the newsgroup created?
3.2 - Are there any rules on the newsgroup?
3.3 - Does Tom Holt post here?
3.4 - What, /the/ Tom Holt?

4 - Frequently asked questions
4.1 - Who is Tom Holt's cover artist?
4.2 - Why are some books copyrighted to Kim Holt?
4.3 - How do we address Tom Holt?
4.4 - What are the future/forthcoming books?
4.5 - Why are so many characters called Jane?
4.6 - Are there any Tom Holt websites?
4.7 - What about other online Holt-related resources?
4.8 - What's all this about earwigs?

5 - Mistakes
5.1 - The Flying Dutchman
5.2 - Maria's Desk

6 - About this FAQ
6.1 - Who to blame
6.2 - Obtaining the FAQ
6.2.1 - Plain text
6.2.2 - LaTeX, DVI and PostScript
6.2.3 - HTML
6.3 - Copyright notice

> 1 - What's new & to-do list

> 1.1 - What's new since the last update?

> 1.1.1 - New from version 2.0.0 to version 2.0.1

Lots of lovely updates. Moved the details for "Little People" from section
4.4 to section 2.2.1, and added details for "A Song For Nero" and "The
Portable Door". Added details for "Divine Comedies" (the third Tom Holt
Omnibus) to section 2.2.3. Added details for "The Tom Holt Omnibus 4" to
section 4.4, along with some new remarks from Tom. Added details of the
short story "The Jerk who Fell to Earth" to section 2.2.4 (thanks to
Simon Haynes).

Updated the URL for Paul Bines's Tom Holt website (finally!). Added URL
and details for

The URLs for accessing the FAQ have changed: but versions other than plain
text are not yet available. I'm not made of free time, you know! :)

> 1.1.2 - New from version 1.3.0 to version 2.0.0

The Great Version Renumbering. All previous versions of the FAQ are now
prefixed with the version code "1", so the version previously referred to
as "2.7" is now "1.2.7". The change has been made to avoid arbitrary
changes in the initial version number.

Updated the information for "Falling Sideways" and moved it to section
2.2.1, since it's now been published. Added the ISBN for the paperback of
"Nothing But Blue Skies". Added the ISBN for "Little People".

> 1.1.3 - New from version 1.2.9 to version 1.3.0

New URLs for obtaining the FAQ -- the old ones should continue to work for
a while thanks to the wonders of .htaccess, though. Added a new mistake as
section 5.2 -- thanks to SHS, who actually sent me this in May 1999!

> 1.1.4 - New from version 1.2.8 to version 1.2.9

Finally put in a proper description for Paul Bines's Tom Holt page (thanks
for your patience, Paul!).

> 1.1.5 - New from version 1.2.7 to version 1.2.8

Updated the information for "Nothing But Blue Skies" and moved it into
section 2.2.1, since it's now been published. Updated section 4.4 with
some more information about "Falling Sideways" and details of "Little
People". Added ISBNs for the paperback versions of "Olympiad" and
"Valhalla" to section 2.2.1.

> 1.1.6 - New from version 1.2.6a to version 1.2.7

Added the Copyright notice. Added the "X-Disclaimer" header (to the Usenet
version). Altered the "Summary" header (in the Usenet version). Added some
more information about the "The Flying Dutchman" error to section 5.1.

> 1.1.7 - New from version 1.2.6 to version 1.2.6a

Tidied up some formatting and fixed some errors in the source that caused
problems when translating into text and HTML. More spelling and grammar
errors came to light and were fixed.

> 1.1.8 - New from version 1.2.5 to version 1.2.6

The FAQ has now been entirely converted to LaTeX, so it can now be
generated in all the necessary formats from just one source file. As you
can imagine this makes my life immeasurably easier. I also took the
opportunity to correct some spelling and grammar errors.

> 1.1.9 - New from version 1.2.4 to version 1.2.5

Replaced the bare URLs in section 4.6 with brief descriptions of the
contents of each website. Fixed all the bugs I inadvertently introduced in
version 2.4 while fixing all the previous bugs :)

> 1.1.10 - New from version 1.2.3 to version 1.2.4

Added several Tom Holt related web pages to section 4.6. Removed the
parenthetical commentary from all of section 4, because it was beginning
to really annoy me and because it made any of my comments that were over a
paragraph long look really silly. Added URL for the newsgroup's control
message & charter to section 3.2. Spaced the contents nicely. Did some
tidying of grammatical, spelling and layout errors. Added information
about the #holt IRC channel.

> 1.1.11 - New from version 1.2.2 to version 1.2.3

Things about earwigs. Don't ask. Also considered adding things about
trifles but decided to wait, pending further investigation.

> 1.1.12 - New from version 1.2.1 to version 1.2.2

Updated section 4.4 with details of what Tom is /actually/ working on
currently, as opposed to what he was working on a year ago. Also moved the
"Tom Holt Omnibus 1" from section 4.4 to section 2.2.3 because it's now
been published. Clarified section 3.2 so you don't have to go looking for
the charter in the control message. I've now also verified all of the ISBNs
in section 2.2 (at long last!).

> 1.1.13 - New from version 1.2.0 to version 1.2.1

Updated section 2.2, moving various books previously listed incorrectly
under 'forthcoming' to the Bibliography, and updating their ISBNs. Added
the "Tom Holt Omnibus 1" to section 4.4. Changed some URLs. Fixed the
Posting-Frequency auxiliary header so it's actually correct.

> 1.1.14 - New from version 1.1.5 to version 1.2.0

The FAQ has just received a total update, resulting in the new version
number 2.0. All the URLs have been checked and altered, and information
about newly published and forthcoming books has been added to sections 2.2
and 4.4. The FAQ is now being autoposted from MIT, so should be out every
month on a regular basis, rather than when I remember it.

> 1.2 - To-do list

No outstanding issues.

> 2 - About Tom Holt

> 2.1 - Biographical Information

Tom Holt (i.e. Thomas Charles Louis Holt) was born in London on the 13th
of September 1961, and studied at Westminster School, Wadham College,
Oxford, and the College of Law. He produced his first book, "Poems by Tom
Holt", at the age of thirteen, and was immediately hailed as an infant
prodigy, to his horror.

At Oxford Holt discovered bar billiards:

When I was at university there was a pool table in the room behind the
bar. We found that if we stuffed newspaper in the pockets, we could play
all day for free. So we did, when we should have been working. The result
of all this indolence was that when we came to take our final exams, the
boys & girls who'd avoided the bar and stayed in the library working like
hell all passed with flying colours; while the rest of us, who'd done
nothing but play pool and have a good time, also passed with flying
colours. So let that be a lesson to you.

At once he changed from poetry to comic fiction, beginning with two sequels
to E. F. Benson's "Lucia" series, and continuing with his own distinctive
brand of comic fantasy in (so far) nineteen books. Among those he has
written two historical novels set in the fifth century BC, the
well-received "Goatsong" and "The Walled Orchard", and has collaborated
with Steven Nallon on "I, Margaret", the (unauthorised) autobiography of
Margaret Thatcher. Among his favourite authors are Damon Runyon, Ernest
Bramah, and P.G. Wodehouse (in that particular order).

Thinner and more cheerful than in his youth, Tom Holt is now married to
Kim, and lives in Somerset together with their daughter. Since he is an
amateur engineer, among those items that bring joy into his life are two
major things: his Myford ML7 and Bridgeport universal mill, and with these
fine lathes he produces (according to himself) huge piles of iron filings.
His interest in music is filk music, medieval music, and classical jazz.
B. de Ventadour, G. d'Ussel and B. Marti (all French) are his three
favourite bards from the 12th century.

And one last startling revelation: Before getting a real job as an author
Tom used to be ... wait for it ... a tax lawyer. No comment by me on this,
but see also section 4.2 ;)

> 2.2 - Bibliography

> 2.2.1 - Novels

"Lucia in Wartime" (1985)
ISBN 0-060-55003-1
ISBN 0-333-40247-2

"Lucia Triumphant" (1986)
ISBN 0-060-96196-1

Sequals to E.F. Benson's "Lucia" series. Both are now sadly out of print
but occasionally become available at booksellers.

"Expecting Someone Taller" (1987)
ISBN 1-857-232181-3

All he did was run over a badger - sad, but hardly catastrophic. But it
wasn't Malcolm Fisher's day, for the badger turned out to be none other
than Ingolf, last of the Giants. With his dying breath, he reluctantly
handed to Malcolm two Gifts of Power, and made him ruler of the world.

But can Malcolm cope with the responsibilty? Whilst averting wars,
plagues and famines, he also has to protect himself against gods,
dwarves, valkyries and other nefarious manifestations of the Dark Ages -
none of whom think he is right for the job...

"Who's Afraid of Beowulf?" (1988)
ISBN 1-857-23196-1 (pb)

Well, not Hrolf Earthstar, for a start. The last Norse king of Caithness,
Hrolf and his twelwe champions are woken from a centuries-long sleep when
Hildy Fredriksenn, archaeologist of the fairer sex, finds their grave.
Not only that, Hrolf decides to carry on his ancient war against the

In a mixture of P.G. Wodehouse, Norse mythology and Laurel and Hardy,
Hildy and her Viking companions face such perils as BBC film crews,
second-rate fish and chips and the Bakerloo Line in their battle against
the powers of darkness.

"I, Margaret" (1989)
ISBN 0-333-49776-7 (pub. Papermac)

The unauthorised autobiography of Margaret Thatcher, as told to Steve
Nallon with Tom Holt.

"Goatsong" (1989)
ISBN 0-312-03838-0

"Goatsong" is out of print in a single edition, however the new edition
of "The Walled Orchard" contains "Goatsong" as well.

"The Walled Orchard" (1990/1997)
ISBN 0-751-52138-8 (pub. Warner)

This new edition of "The Walled Orchard" also contains "Goatsong".

Athens is at the middle of her golden age; Pericles is busy building the
Parthenon, Sophocles, Euripedes and Socrates are writing words which will
live forever, and Eupolis is hearding goats on Parnes. Unfortunately,
Athens is also embarking on the Peloponnesian War, which she will
eventually lose...

The hero is Eupolis, weary, cynical and believing only in comedy. The
heroine is Athens, at the height of her schizophrenic glory. A startling
mixture of comedy and tragedy, "The Walled Orchard" is the poignant,
charming story of their turbulent relationship.

"Flying Dutch" (1991)
ISBN 0-356-20111-2 (pb)
ISBN 1-857-23017-5 (hb) (out of print)

It's amazing the problems drinking can get you into. One little swig from
the wrong bottle and you go from being an ordinary Dutch sea-captain to
an unhappy immortal, drifting around the world with your similarly
immortal crew, suffering from peculiary whiffy side effects. Worst of
all, Richard Wagner writes an opera about you.

Little does Cornelius Vanderdecker, the Flying Dutchman, suspect that a
chance encounter in an English pub might just lead to the end of his
cursed life, one way or another...

"Ye Gods!" (1992)
ISBN 1-857-23016-7 (hb)
ISBN 1-857-23080-9 (pb)

Being a hero bothers Jason Derry.

It's easy to get maladjusted when your mum's a suburban housewife and
your dad's the Supreme Being. It can be a real drag slaying fabulous
monsters and retrieving golden fleeces from fire-spitting dragons, and
then having to tidy your room before your mum'll let you watch "Star

But it's not the relentless tedium of imperishable glory that finally
brings Jason to the end of his rope; it's something so funny that it's
got to be taken seriously. Deadly seriously...

"Overtime" (1993)
ISBN 1-857-23039-6 (hb)
ISBN 1-857-23126-0 (pb)

Only in a Tom Holt novel can you discover the relationship between the
Inland Revenue, the Second Crusade and God's great plan to build starter
planets for first time life forms...

It all started for Guy Goodlet somewhere over Caen. One moment he was
heading for the relative safety of the coast, aware that fuel was low and
the Mosquito had more than a few bullet holes in it. The next, his
co-pilot was asking to be dropped off. This would have been odd if Peter
had still been alive. Since he was dead, it was downright worrying.

But not quite as worrying as when Guy found himself somewhere in the High
Middle Ages - rather than in 1943 - in the company of one John de Nesle.
Unsurprisingly, Guy's first thought was to get out and home sharpish. But
then he saw John's sister, Isoud, and somehow found himself agreeing to
help John, also known as Blondel, in his quest to find Richard Coeur de

"Here Comes The Sun" (1993)
ISBN 1-857-23125-2 (hb)
ISBN 1-857-23187-2 (pb)

The sun rises late, dirty and so badly in need of a service it's a
wonder it gets up at all. The moon's going to be scrapped soon and a new
one commisioned - but then, they've been saying that for years...

All is not well with the universe, and though there's a hell of a tidying
up job to be organised after some carelessness with earthquakes and tidal
waves, surely it's crazy to get mortals to run the show? Things may be
bad, but isn't that going to extremes?

The irrepressible Tom Holt hits the mark yet again with a dazzling foray
into fantasy ... of the hilarious kind.

"Grailblazers" (1994)
ISBN 1-857-23192-9 (hb)
ISBN 1-857-23191-0 (pb)

'The Holy Grail and the Wholly Inept'

Fifteen hundred years have passed and the Grail is still missing,
presumed ineffable; the Knights have dumped the Quest and now deliver
pizzas; the sinister financial services industry of the lost kingdom of
Atlantis threatens the universe with fiscal Armageddon; while in the
background lurks the dark, brooding, red-caped presence of Father

In other words, Grailmate. Has Prince Boamund of Northgales (Snotty to
friends) woken from his enchanted sleep in time to snatch back the Apron
of Invincibility, overthrow the dark power of the Lord of the Reindeer
and find out exactly what a Grail is? And just who did do the washing-up
after the Last Supper?

Take a thrilling Grailhound bus ride into the wildly improbable with Tom

"Faust Among Equals" (1994)
ISBN 1-857-23265-8 (pb)

'Well I'll be dammed...'

The managment buy-out of Hell, wasn't going quite as well as planned. For
a start, there had been that nasty business with the perjurors, and then
came the news that the Most Wanted Man in History had escaped, and all
just as the plans for the new theme park, Eurobosch, were under way.

But Kurt 'Mad Dog' Lundqvist, the foremost bounty hunter of all time, is
on the case, and he can usually be relied upon to get his man - even when
that man is Lucky George Faustus...

Exuberant, hell-raising comedy from Holt at his inventive best.

"Odds & Gods" (1995)
ISBN 1-857-23266-6 (hb)
ISBN 1-857-23299-2 (pb)
ISBN 0-001-04889-9 (audio casette)

'Odds and Gods - a simply divine comedy'

It's a god's life ... at the Sunnyvoyde Residential Home for retired
deities. Everlasting life can be a real drag when all you've got to look
forward to is cauliflower cheese on Wednesdays.

For a start, there's a major techincal problem with the thousand-year-old
traction engine which has been lovingly restored by those almighty
duffers Thor, Odin and Frey ... the damn thing actually goes.

And then there's Osiris, pushed one tapioca too far by a power-crazy gods
on with friends in very smelly places, and forced to set out on a quest
which will test his wheelchair to the very limits.

Only one thing might save the world from an eternity of chaos ...
dentures. It's true. Honest to god.

"Djinn Rummy" (1995)
ISBN 1-857-23329-8 (hb)
ISBN 1-857-23363-8 (pb)

'In an aspirin bottle, nobody can hear you scream.'

Outside an aspirin bottle, however, things are somewhat different. And
when Kayaguchiya Integrated Circuits III (Kiss, to his friends), a Force
Twelve genie with an attitude, is released after fourteen years of living
with two dozen white tablets, there's bound to be trouble.

Take, for example, Jane. All she wanted was to end her miserable life in
peace, with a minimum of fuss, in the privacy of a British Rail waiting
room, but now she's got herself a genie for company. Lucky old Jane.
Lucky, that is, until the apocalypse rears its ugly head.

"My Hero" (1996)
ISBN 1-857-23365-4 (hb)
ISBN 1-857-23387-5 (pb)

'Sharp, sparkling and seriously funny'

Writing novels? Piece of cake, surely ... or so Jane thinks. Until hers
start writing back. At which point, she really should stop. Better still,
change her name and flee the country. The one thing she should not do is
go into the book herself. After all, that's what heroes are for.
Unfortunatly, the world of fiction is a far more complicated place than
she ever imagined. And she's about to land her hero right in it.

"Paint Your Dragon" (1997)
ISBN 1-857-23433-2 (hb)
ISBN 1-857-23456-1 (pb)

The cosmic battle between Good and Evil ... But suppose Evil threw the
fight? And suppose Good cheated?

Sculptress Bianca Wilson is a living legend. St George is also a legend,
but not quite so living. However, when Bianca's sculpture of the patron
saint and his scaly chum gets a bit too 'life-like', it opens up a whole
new can of wyrms ... The Dragon knows that Evil got a raw deal and is
looking to set the record straight. And George (who cheated) thinks the
record's just fine as it is. Luckily for George, there's a coach-load of
demons on an expenses-paid holiday from Hell who are only too happy to
help him. Because a holiday from hell is exactly what they're about to

"Open Sesame" (1997)
ISBN 1-857-23476-6 (hb)
ISBN 1-857-23556-8 (pb)

Just because he is a character in a book, Akram the Terrible doesn't see
why boiling water must be poured over his head again. Meanwhile, Michelle
gets a shock when she puts on her Aunt's ring and her computer and
television start to criticize her for past misdemeanours.

"Wish You Were Here" (1998)
ISBN 1-857-23555-2 (hb)
ISBN 1-857-23687-4 (pb)

It was a busy day on Lake Chicopee. But it was an eclectic bunch of
sightseers and tourists that had the strange, local residents rubbing
their hands with delight. There was Calvin Dieb, the lawyer setting up
the property deal, who'd lost his car keys; there was Linda Lachuk, the
tabloid journalist who could smell that big, sensational story; there was
dumpy Janice DeWeese, who was just on a walking holiday but who longed
for love. But most promising of all, there was Wesley Higgins, the young
man from Birmingham, England, who was there because he knew the legend of
the ghost of Okeewana. All he had to do was immerse himself in the waters
of the lake and he would find his heart's desire. Well, it seemed like a
good idea at the time.

"Only Human" (1999)
ISBN 1-857-23693-9 (hb)
ISBN 1-857-23949-0 (pb)

A gag about God regarding the pursuit of happiness as something to be
done with a fly-swatter resulted in this book.

Something is about to go wrong. Very wrong. What do you expect if the
Supreme Being decides to get away from it all for a few days, leaving his
naturally inquisitive son to look after the cosmic balance of things? A
minor hiccup with a human soul and before you know it you're on the road
to chaos.

"Alexander at the World's End" (1999)
ISBN 0-316-85058-6 (hb)
ISBN 0-349-11315-7 (pb)

This is the sequal to "The Walled Orchard" and "Goatsong".

The story of two men, one of whom conquered empires, one of whom tackled
the drainage problems of a small village. Their paths crossed only
briefly, but the encounter changed their lives forever. The first was
Alexander the Great, the second, Euxenus, philosopher and tutor to the
young Alexander.

"Snow White and the Seven Samurai" (1999)
ISBN 1-856-23898-2 (hb)
ISBN 1-857-23988-1 (pb)

Once upon a time (or last Thursday, as it's sometimes known) the wicked
Queen had a fully functioning, if antiquated, Mirrors system, and all
was well in the kingdom. Then the humans hacked in and the system failed.
Fairytales may never be the same again...

"Olympiad" (2000)
ISBN 0-316-85390-9 (hb)
ISBN 0-349-11316-5 (pb)

Two thousand, seven hundred and seventy-six years ago, a group of men
ran between too piles of stones, and invented history. The first ever
Olympic Games in 776 B.C. were apparently so memorable that all Western
chronology is based on them. But all we know about them is the name of
the man who won the race. Over two and a half millenia later, it's about
time somebody told the story.

Tom writes:

"Olympiad" is my two cents' worth for the Millennium; I got the idea
when I realised that we only think it's going to be 2000 next year
because the Christian church fixed the date of the birth of Christ in
accordance with the Roman system of recording history by time elapsed
since the (mythical) foundation of Rome by (two brothers who never
actually existed, called) Romulus and Remus, which in turn was fixed by
reference to the Greek system of recording history by time elapsed
since the (legendary) foundation of the Olympic Games by (the entirely
fictitious half-god half-human hero) Hercules in 776BC (except, of
course, it wasn't 776BC then, it was the First Olympiad, only it
wasn't, because there were no records at all in 776BC, since writing
wasn't even invented till about fifty years later...); in other words,
our entire concept of history is based on misunderstandings of some
very old fairy-tales, which is what prompted me to make up some more
untrue history, as if there wasn't enough already. Basically, it's a
book about lies, legends and historical fact, and how there's really
nothing to choose between them.

"Valhalla" (2000)
ISBN 1-857-23983-0 (hb)
ISBN 1-841-49042-3 (pb)

"Valhalla" is about a bunch of people who get what they deserve in the
afterlife... more accurately, it's about the way we see ourselves, and
the problems we create for ourselves by not facing up to who we really
are. Actually, it's about 22 cm x 14 cm x 3cm, assuming you're buying
the hardback.

When great warriors die, their reward is eternal life in Odin's great
hall, Valhalla. But Valhalla has changed and like any corporation has
adapted to survive. Unfortunately nothing could have prepared it for the
arrival of currently-dead cocktail waitress Carol Kortright, who is not
at all happy.

"Nothing But Blue Skies" (2001)
ISBN 1-841-49040-7 (hb)
ISBN 1-841-49058-X (pb)

This was listed in previous versions of the FAQ as "The Portable Door",
which was the working title.

There are very many reasons why British summers are either non-existent
or, alternatively, held on a Thursday. Many of these reasons are either
scientific, dull, or both - but all of them are wrong. The real reason
is, of course, irritable Chinese Water Dragons; of which estate agent
Karen is one.

Tom writes that this is about "love, authoritarian government and the
British love/hate relationship with their bloody awful weather".

"Falling Sideways" (2002)
ISBN 1-841-49087-3 (hb)
ISBN 1-841-49110-1 (pb)

From the moment Homo Sapiens descended from the trees, possibly onto their
heads, humanity has striven for civilization. Fire. The Wheel. Running away
from furry things with big teeth. All would be testament to man's
ascendancy; if one man didn't believe every civilization is actually run
by frogs.

Tom writes that this is "a simple love story about a boy, a girl, cloning
and the true meaning of kissing frogs, a gentle, sentimental love story
about a man and the frog (make that frogs) of his dreams".

"Little People" (2002)
ISBN 1-841-49116-0 (hb)
ISBN 1-841-49185-3 (pb)

"I was eight years old when I saw my first elf"... and for unlikely hero
Michael it wasn't his last. Michael's unfortunately (but accurately) named
girlfriend Cruella, doesn't approve of his obsession with the little
people, but the problem is, they won't leave him alone.

The working title of this novel was "Here be Dragons". Tom writes:

With luck it'll be a grim battle between good and evil fought out
against the stark backdrop of the British shoe industry. Most of the
characters are six inches tall, if that makes it any clearer.

"A Song For Nero" (2003)
ISBN 0-316-86113-8 (hb)

History tells us that in 69 AD, at the ripe old age of 32 and on hearing
that General Glaba's forces were closing in, Nero fled his palace in Rome.
He stabbed himself in the throat with a pen and was trampled to death by
horses in a muddy ditch. His last words were, 'What an artist dies with
me'. But there is another possibility: Nero did not die in that ditch, but
somebody who looked very much like him did. This gives Nero the
opportunity to start a new life in pursuit of his first love: music. But
there's a problem - Nero is being pursued by two people who have reason
to suspect he is still alive - one wants him dead, the other is a
passionate fan of his dreadful music and wants his genius recognised .

"The Portable Door" (2003)
ISBN 1-841-49158-6 (hb)

Starting a new job is always stressful (particularly when you don't
particularly want one), but when Paul Carpenter arrives at the office of
J.W. Wells he has no idea what trouble lies in store. Because he is about
to discover that the apparently respectable establishment now paying his
salary is in fact a front for a deeply sinister organisation that has a
mighty peculiar agenda. It seems that half the time his bosses are away
with the fairies. But they're not, of course. They're away with the

> 2.2.2 - Verse

"Poems By Tom Holt" (1973)
ISBN 0-718-11181-8

Tom's "Infant Progidy" poems, published when he was at the tender age of
twelve. Now out of print.

"Bitter Lemmings" (1997)
ISBN 1-870-82438-5 (spiral) (pub. Beccon Publications)

An anthology of Holt's filksongs. 39 songs including some wicked second
and third level filks. All to well known folk/filk tunes, so no music

> 2.2.3 - Omnibus editions

"Tom Holt Omnibus 1" (2000)
ISBN 1-841-49025-3 (pb)

"Flying Dutch" (q.v.) and "Faust among Equals" (q.v.) collected together
in one volume.

"Tom Holt Omnibus 2" (2002)
ISBN 1-841-49133-0 (pb)

"My Hero" (q.v.) and "Who's Afraid of Beowulf?" (q.v.) collected together
in one volume.

"Divine Comedies // Tom Holt Omnibus 3" (2002)
ISBN 1-841-49145-4 (pb)

"Here Comes The Sun" (q.v.) and "Ye Gods!" (q.v.) collected together in
one volume.

"Expecting Beowulf" (2002)
ISBN 1-886-77836-1 (hb) (pub. New England Science Fiction Association)

"Expecting Someone Taller" (q.v.) and "Who's afraid of Beowulf?" (q.v.)
collected together in one volume.

> 2.2.4 - Short stories

"Igor" & "The God Who Came to Dinner"

Two short stories, available absolutely free from Calle's Tom Holt
website at <URL:>.

"The Jerk Who Fell to Earth"

This short story was published in issue 3 of the Andromeda Spaceways
Inflight Magazine. Website at <URL:>.

> 2.2.5 - Collected short stories & amalgamated drivel

"Holt, Who Goes There?" (1998)
(no ISBN) (pub. British Fantasy Society)

'Be afraid ... be very afraid ... as you enter a Neverland of Tom Holt's
own devising.'

Tom Holt presents a selection of musings, writings and stories guaranteed
to raise a smile. Discover for yourself Tom's views on writing,
conventions, marmalade; and find out just how easy (!) it is to write
fantasy, taken from his regular column in the British Fantasy Society's
Newsletter. Including two rare short stories, "Holt, Who Goes There?" is
the perfect antidote for the autumn blues.

Limited edition, 300 copy, signed and numbered 48pp chapbook. Can be
ordered by sending email to:

> 2.2.6 - Anthologies featuring Tom Holt

"Heroic Adventure Stories" (Date unknown)
ISBN: Unknown

An anthology with tales from the rise of Ancient Greece to the fall of
Ancient Rome. Tom appears with the story "No Place Like Home".

"The Mammoth Book of Comic Fantasy" (1998)
ISBN: 1-85487-530-2 (pb)(UK)
ISBN: 0-78670-533-7 (pb)(US)

A compendium of comic fantasy writing. Most of the stories are modern,
with many especially written for this collection. The book also includes
classic reprints and rare gems from comic fantasy's roots in past years.
Tom appears with the story "Pizza to Go".

"Shakespearean Whodunnits" (1997)
ISBN: 1-85487-945-6 (pb)(UK)
ISBN: 0-78670-482-9 (pb)(US)

Crimes-a-plenty tumble out of Shakespeare's plays. Suppose, for instance,
that Friar Lawrence isn't available to explain the tragedy of Romeo and
Juliet, and that Capulet or Montague engages someone to investigate their
deaths? How about King Lear: he is convinced that Cordelia is alive at
the end of the play. Is the corpse Cordelia or someone else? What has
happened? How did Falstaff really die in "Henry V" and who was behind his
humiliation in "The Merry Wives of Windsor"? Did Cleopatra really commit
suicide, or was it a set-up? Who, exactly, is the sinister visitor
conjured up by Caliban in "The Tempest"? In their ingenious tales, the
likes of Falstaff and Hamlet, as well as the Bard himself, are set in hot
pursuit of fresh clues and new solutions to some of the bloodiest plots
and nastiest deeds hidden in Shakepeare's plays. Tom Holt appears with
the story "Cinna the Poet".

> 2.3 - Contacting Tom Holt

You can contact Tom through his publishers, Orbit, via their web site at
<URL:>. Or read the newsgroup!

> 3 - About the newsgroup

> 3.1 - When was the newsgroup created?

The proposal for alt.books.tom-holt was discussed in alt.config in June
1998 and again in August 1998, prior to the control message being issued
on 28th August 1998.

> 3.2 - Are there any rules on the newsgroup?

All that is asked is that posters maintain sensible netiquette. The
charter sets out guidelines for on-topic posts: basically anything to do
with Tom Holt, Tom Holt's works (novels, short stories, filks and so on)
and Holt-related fan activity.

The charter for alt.books.tom-holt is contained in the control message
that created the newsgroup, and can be found in a number of online charter
repositories (for example in, if you
want to read it in its entirety.

> 3.3 - Does Tom Holt post here?

Yes. Tom Holt has supported the newsgroup from its inception and is a
regular poster. So is his Mum, in fact ;)

> 3.4 - What, /the/ Tom Holt?

Yes, the Tom Holt. Honest :)

> 4 - Frequently asked questions

> 4.1 - Who is Tom Holt's cover artist?

Tom writes:

When I changed publishers from Macmillan to Orbit, they commissioned
Kirby covers for the hardback of "Flying Dutch" and the paperbacks of the
first two. They stayed with Kirby for "Ye Gods" and the hardback of
"Overtime", then commissioned a brilliant artist called Steve Lee to do
the paperback of "Overtime". Steve's designs went down well with the book
trade, so they reissued the backlist titles with Lee covers (this means "
Expecting Someone Taller" has had 3 different paperback covers; the
ghastly one put on it by Macdonald when it first came out, the Kirby
effort and the Steve Lee version) Steve did all my jackets down to "Open
Sesame"; at that point there was some sort of falling-out between him and
the Orbit people, and he isn't going to do any more (a pity, if you ask
me) For the "Wish You Were Here" hardback, they've taken an entirely
different approach; I'm slightly underwhelmed by the WYWH cover, but
from what I've seen of the roughs for the next one, "Only Human", I think
they may well be on to something.

> 4.2 - Why are some books copyrighted to Kim Holt?

Tom writes:

Shan't tell, so there.

It is in fact a tax dodge.

> 4.3 - How do we address Tom Holt?

Tom writes:

'Tom' will do just fine. Compared to some of the things I've been called
over the years, it's almost a compliment.

> 4.4 - What are the future/forthcoming books?

Tom writes:

The next book is due out some time in March; it's called 'The Portable
Door' and is about 75% autobiographical. I've just submitted the
manuscript of a sequel (no, *mustn't* call it that; a completely separate
book which, by a strange coincidence, just happens to be about the same
bunch of characters working in the same office. But it's not a sequel. No,

Details of forthcoming books:

"Tom Holt Omnibus 4"
ISBN 1-841-49267-1 (pb)

Will be published 4th December 2003.

> 4.5 - Why are so many characters called Jane?

Tom writes:

The female lead in "Flying Dutch" was called Jane (a) after a friend of
my wife's, an accountant, who's called Jane (and is nothing at all like
the character in the book) (b) because it seemed to suit her -
straightforward, quite strong, dysbimboesque, but with subliminal
associations of (i) plain Jane (ii) the dashing & adventurous heroine of
the old comic strip (iii) me Tarzan, you...

By the time I finished FD, I was using the name Jane as mental shorthand
for that kind of female character; and since it's a character type I find
useful, I stuck with the name. Female leads who don't follow that pattern
get called something else; Michelle in "Open Sesame" was a bit too mimsy
to be a Jane, Bianca in "Paint Your Dragon" needed to be rather more
glamorous, & so on. I called the female #2 lead in "Wish You Were Here"
Janice, because she's almost a Jane - by learning and suffering she
moves towards acquiring Janity.

The other reason is because it annoys the hell out of my mother.

> 4.6 - Are there any Tom Holt websites?

"The Tom Holt Webpage" (Calle Aasman)

Calle's webpage is the definitive source for all things Holt-related.
Includes a biography, complete bibliography (probably the best anywhere),
plus many extras such as a random Holt quotation generator and some of
Tom's short stories to download. Well worth a visit.

"Tom Holt" (Orbit Books)

The generic page about Tom created by his publishers. Contains a brief
bibliography but is generally not particularly interesting.

"Tom Holt Bibliography" (Uwe Milde)

Complete Tom Holt bibliography. There's not a great deal more I can say.
It does exactly what it says on the tin...

"Tom Holt page" (Paul Bines)

A general Tom Holt page, containing an illustrated bibliography, an
interview with Tom and links to other resources.

"Alt.Books.Tom-Holt page" (Dragonprince)

Rather than a site about Tom, these pages are dedicated to the abth
newsgroup, and especially to any alt.books.tom-holt meets going on around
the world. Read the reports! See the photos! (Dragonprince and others)

General information about Tom Holt and useful notes on the "Village of
Abthite" -- essential reading to make sense of this newsgroup!

> 4.7 - What about other online Holt-related resources?

There is an IRC channel where you can chat to like-minded Tom Holt fans and
alt.books.tom-holt regulars, the #holt channel on Espernet. Espernet
servers are listed at, or you can connect to on port 5555 to be assigned to a random server.

For those new to IRC, can provide some helpful
information and hints, and also lists IRC clients for various platforms.

> 4.8 - What's all this about earwigs?

God only knows. It's a craze or something. You should be aware that
earwigs are potentially harmful Class-A drugs, which you should avoid at
all costs. If someone offers you earwigs, JUST SAY NO!

> 5 - Mistakes

> 5.1 - The Flying Dutchman

Belsambar has pointed out that the Flying Dutchman appears in "Flying
Dutch" as Julius Albert Vanderdecker, but cameos in "Faust among Equals" as
Cornelius Vanderdecker. Apparently Tom didn't notice this one either.

Additionally, as you can see from section 2.2.1, the back cover blurb from
the book also has the poor man down as Cornelius Vanderdecker. Rereading,
I notice that his name even changes about inside the book; cf. "You really
ought to write to your uncle, Cornelius" in chapter nine.

> 5.2 - Maria's Desk

Steven H. Silver has noticed that in Only Human, in the scene where Maria
is cleaning out her office (p.261 in the UK hardback edition) she walks in
to find removal men taking away her desk. Later on the same page, she has
to climb over the same desk to retrieve the painting on the wall.

> 6 - About this FAQ

> 6.1 - Who to blame

This Frequently Asked Questions List was written and is maintained by Nick
Boalch (, although credit for large parts must go
to Calle Aasman (, who supplied (and continues to
supply) most of the information for the biography and bibliography, meaning
that all I have to do is format it and add a few comments, saving me huge
amounts of time.

If you have a query about the contents of the FAQ, or would like to see
something added, please email me.

> 6.2 - Obtaining the FAQ

> 6.2.1 - Plain text

The FAQ is posted automatically to Usenet by the MIT FAQ server every 30
days, appearing in the newsgroups alt.books.tom-holt, alt.answers and

It is also available in plain text from FAQ repositories all over the
world under the archive name books/tom-holt-faq. Try:


> 6.2.2 - LaTeX, DVI and PostScript

These are the preferred formats for the FAQ, since it loses certain
formatting in the conversion to text and HTML. They are available from:


> 6.2.3 - HTML

The FAQ is available in HTML format from:


It is also available in various other online FAQ repositories and on
Holt-related websites, but to ensure you fetch the latest version you
are advised to use one of the URLs above.

> 6.3 - Copyright Notice

(c) Copyright 1998-2003 by Nick Boalch. All rights reserved.

The right to redistribute this document by electronic means is freely
granted so long as the document is redistributed unedited and in its
entirety. No part of this publication may be transmitted in any other
form without the prior permission of the author.

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