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Coode Street Podcast Reveals that K.J. Parker is Tom Holt

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

The Hammer K J Parker-smallBest selling fantasy author K.J. Parker appeared on the scene 17 years ago, when he published Colours in the Steel (1998), the first novel in The Fencer trilogy.

Since then he’s had a stellar career, producing The Scavenger trilogy and the popular The Engineer trilogy (Devices and Desires, Evil for Evil, and The Escapement), plus standalone novels such as The Company (2008), The Folding Knife (2010), and The Hammer (2011).

But Parker has never appeared in public, or even spoken on the phone — not even to accept the two World Fantasy Awards he’s won. It soon became public knowledge that the name was a pseudonym. But despite intense curiosity and conjecture, the identity behind the name remained a closely guarded secret, until Parker decided to reveal it to his long-time editor Jonathan Strahan and his partner Gary K. Wolfe yesterday, on their Coode Street Podcast.

K.J. Parker is actually humorous fantasy writer Tom Holt, whose popular novels include Expecting Someone Taller (1987), Who’s Afraid of Beowulf? (1988), Ye Gods! (1992), Blonde Bombshell (2010), and more than two dozen others.

Over the last 17 years Holt has continued his prolific output under his own name, while simultaneously writing over a dozen novels as K.J. Parker.

Listen to the complete interview here.

14 Comments »

  1. Very interesting. Maybe this will inspire me to finally read the copy of The Company sitting on the shelf

    Comment by Fletcher Vredenburgh - April 22, 2015 1:15 pm

  2. I read Parker’s first 9 books (the Fencer trilogy, the Scavenger trilogy and the Engineer trilogy) and enjoyed them all quite a bit, although they’re all about ostensibly good people doing terrible, terrible things for ostensibly good reasons. I really need to move to the standalone novels.

    Never read any Holt; may have to change that as well.

    Comment by Joe H. - April 22, 2015 1:59 pm

  3. The three standalones I’ve read (THE FOLDING KNIFE, THE COMPANY, THE HAMMER) are all arguably about ostensibly good people doing terrible things for ostensibly good reasons.

    The actual goodness of the people and the reasons varies from book to book, in my opinion. Of those listed above, my favorite is THE HAMMER, which actually reminds me a fair bit of the ENGINEER TRILOGY.

    For those who haven’t read them, the books of Holt’s under his name that remind me most strongly of the Parker books are his historical novels about Ancient Greece, most especially the first two, GOAT SONG and THE WALLED ORCHARD (later republished as a single novel, THE WALLED ORCHARD, which is surely the correct form; and later still, I believe, reissued under the name Thomas Holt, which is how he has lately been publishing his historical fiction). THE WALLED ORCHARD is a masterwork, one of my favorite historical novels ever, a dark but bleakly funny novel, terribly sad: about the damage done by war and love (which is pretty much exactly what the ENGINEER TRILOGY is about).

    Comment by Rich Horton - April 22, 2015 4:58 pm

  4. Ah well. A little of the mystery of life has drained away. Though Holt had been fingered for a long while. Another one of those writers who deserves more coverage, like Kearney or Stover. Undeniably a great writer.

    Comment by Robert Mammone - April 22, 2015 5:59 pm

  5. > I read Parker’s first 9 books (the Fencer trilogy, the Scavenger trilogy and the Engineer trilogy) and enjoyed them all
    quite
    > a bit, although they’re all about ostensibly good people doing terrible, terrible things for ostensibly good reasons.

    I’m very interested in THE ENGINEER trilogy, as I heard a number of impressive things about it when it came out year ago. But I still have not made time for it, alas.

    Comment by John ONeill - April 22, 2015 7:43 pm

  6. > THE WALLED ORCHARD is a masterwork, one of my favorite historical novels ever, a dark but bleakly funny novel

    Rich — sold! I went looking for a copy on Amazon, but all I can find is the original edition. Is there a link you can send me to the omnibus edition? Or is it only available in the UK?

    Comment by John ONeill - April 22, 2015 7:44 pm

  7. > Another one of those writers who deserves more coverage, like Kearney or Stover. Undeniably a great writer.

    Very true. We could devote every post at Black Gate to deserving vintage treasures, and we’d still never be able to cover them all.

    Comment by John ONeill - April 22, 2015 7:45 pm

  8. > Rich — sold! I went looking for a copy on Amazon, but all I can find is the original edition. Is there a link you can send me to the omnibus edition? Or is it only available in the UK?

    Long time lurker, first time poster.
    John, this looks to be the omnibus edition: http://www.amazon.com/The-Walled-Orchard-Tom-Holt/dp/0349114528

    Comment by genre monkey - April 23, 2015 1:52 am

  9. Right you are… thanks Genre Monkey!

    Comment by John ONeill - April 23, 2015 4:07 am

  10. @ John

    We could devote every post at Black Gate to deserving vintage treasures, and we’d still never be able to cover them all.

    Yah know what I would love? I’ll tell you what I would love. What I would love is if, for Christmas this year, BG put up a big ol’ list of notable works published in 1941 – particularly shorts – which in your opinion should be considered for the 2016 Retro Hugos.

    Old fangirl is old, but not *that* old, and I would love a place to start, when looking at the old treasures of yesteryear.

    Comment by keranih - April 23, 2015 5:52 pm

  11. I could certainly do a Retro Hugo post … indeed I did some for the ones in the ’50s (for 1953 and 1950, as I recall).

    Comment by Rich Horton - April 24, 2015 8:57 am

  12. Thanks Rich! That would be really great. I agree with keranih… it would really help to have a list to prep for the Retro-Hugo nominations, and I’d be proud to publish it at Black Gate.

    Comment by John ONeill - April 24, 2015 11:34 am

  13. […] month’s big announcement that had nothing whatsoever to do with awards was the revelation that K.J. Parker, World Fantasy Award winner and author of The Folding Knife among others, is […]

    Pingback by Paul Kincaid’s From the Other Side, April 2015: | Bull Spec - May 1, 2015 11:28 am

  14. […] disclosed that he’s actually famed British novelist Tom Holt on the Coode Street Podcast on April 22. It was a revelation that stunned many (me included), as over the last 17 years Holt has continued […]

    Pingback by Black Gate » Blog Archive » Future Treasures: The Last Witness by K. J. Parker - September 29, 2015 11:45 am


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