Hello, bonjour, and sawadeekap. My name is Tom Knox. Unless you’re a random visitor, you may already know that I am a writer of thrillers.
That’s me with the frown, in the photo.
Before I go any further let me say this: if you’ve come here for updates and gossip and information on new books, check the News and Twitter pages, linked on the left. But if you’ve come here for some background, read on.
I’ve been a novelist and journalist for twenty years. I live in London – at least part of the time (where I use my real name of Sean Thomas). Some photos from my travel journalism are scattered across this introductory page, just to liven it up.
The reason I have established this site, apart from sheer vanity, is to answer some questions. Because that’s what I often hear, when people read one of my books: questions. And the main query is commonly: “how much of this is true?”
This site is therefore intended to provide some answers: I hope it will be enlightening, and maybe surprising – because much of the material in the books IS true, including many of the more remarkable elements.
IN THE BEGINNING…
About three years ago, I was idly watching TV at home, when I saw a historian reporting from an ancient temple complex, right now being excavated in Kurdish Turkey. The place was apparently called Gobekli Tepe (pronounced “Go-beckly Tepp-ay”). The historian casually mentioned that the megalithic complex was 12,000 years old – and then his documentary moved on: to the pyramids, or the Mayans, or whatever.
12,000 years old? That seemed incredibly ancient to me. And yet the guy on TV had seemed almost… blasé.
I decided I had to see this mind-blowing place for myself. The next day I did a spot of Googling, then I booked a flight to Sanliurfa, in remote eastern Turkey – the nearest city to Gobekli Tepe.
The following week I flew out. It was a long, wearying journey, via Istanbul – but it was worth it. What I saw there, on the sunburnt plains of Harran, genuinely stunned me; the German scientists at the dig were unearthing incredible artworks the day I arrived. As these sculptures were revealed, I realised that I was amongst the first people to see these artefacts since the day they were deliberately buried: at the end of the Ice Age.
Suitably impressed, I stayed for a week, toured the area, and took many photos of the temple and the dig (most the photos on this website are by me – and my sincere apologies if I have infringed copyright on any of the other shots – I blame laziness, not wickedness).
When I got back to England I told my literary agent, in passing, about this fascinating place I had just visited: the oldest temple in the world, 7000 years older than Stonehenge and the Pyramids, a place that was deliberately but mysteriously buried in 8000BC. She immediately said “that sounds like a good theme for a thriller!”.
However, at the time I didn’t write thrillers, indeed I had never even conceived of writing a thriller, so I just nodded – and dismissed the idea. Instead I wrote a couple of articles about the amazing things I had seen – and then I left it at that.
Two years later, things had changed; my financial situation was not so good. I couldn’t afford to go off on sudden flights to Turkey. In fact I couldn’t afford a train fare across London. I was staring at a tax bill that would send me bankrupt. It was time to panic.
Then I remembered my agent’s words – “that would make a good thriller”. I went back to her, and said I’d like to have a go at writing a thriller, based on Gobekli Tepe – just to save myself from poverty. Together she and I honed a plot and a concept, then I got down to work.
At this point something happened. What had started, I confess, as an exercise in greed – or maybe hunger – turned into a genuine passion. The story overtook me. I was consumed and obsessed: the bulk of the book was written in two adrenaline-fuelled months in a little hotel room in Bangkok, Thailand. Since then we have sold the novel in twenty-five countries. And counting.
So that’s how The Genesis Secret began. That’s how I wrote it. Three years later I have now completed my second, third and fourth thrillers: the Marks of Cain and The Lost Goddess (entitled Bible of the Dead in the UK) and The Babylon Rite. These books are also based on “real history” – this time from the Basque Country and Namibia, Cambodia and Yunnan China, north Peru and northern England, amongst other curious corners of the world. A fifth thriller, The Deceit, will be published in the UK in mid 2013.
Now comes the interesting stuff: how much of all this is true?
Before I give you the answers, I should also offer a warning: if you read the “truths behind the books” before you read the books it will ruin some of the fun – because this source material gives away some of the plotlines. Therefore I strongly recommend you read the books first, then come back here. Otherwise all your fun will be a little tarnished. And I don’t want that. I want you to like the books so much you buy several copies in case you lose one.
And after that SPOILER ALERT, please click through, to discover the strange and remarkable truths behind The Genesis Secret, Marks of Cain, The Lost Goddess – and the Babylon Rite.