I knew if I kept at it, didn’t get this habit under control, that it was only a matter of time before it happened. How could it be otherwise? But I couldn’t stop. I just couldn’t. And so last night the inevitable occurred. I reached the last page of the last Big Fat 18th Century Historical Novel that James Alexander Thom has written to date.

The book I saved for last isn’t a new one. From Sea to Shining Sea, the story of the Clark family (you know the Clarks, right? George Rogers Clark, William Clark, and a passel of brothers and sisters and parents all remarkable in their way), was published in 1983 and spans the years 1773 to 1806, which happens to be my all time favorite span of years in American History. The stuff that generation got up to…!

But now I’ve gone through them all. Thousands and thousands of pages of history brought to life through Thom’s skill as a storyteller and researcher. These are, by and large, BIG books, as I mentioned. From Sea to Shining Sea is nearly 1000 pages long all on its own.

But just think of all the details I missed among those pages! Think of all the lovely, evocative passages, dialogue, and bits of historical detail I’ve forgotten. Which means these books will stand up to being read and reread. And that’s exactly what I plan to do. I don’t believe I’ll ever not have one of Thom’s novels in progress now.

First on my list to reread: Panther In The Sky, the story of the Shawnee war chief Tecumseh.

A big THANK YOU to Laura Frantz for encouraging me years ago to start reading this author’s books.

Thom has written a book on writing historical fiction that I think is well worth the read. Here’s my review of it, posted several months back: The Art and Craft of Writing Historical Fiction.

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