Message From The Author

Charles Todd

Genre: Historical, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller

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Author's Message

Fight Club


Caroline and Charles Todd aren't ready to let go of the past -- not by a long shot. Eleven books into their mystery series starring Scotland Yard Inspector Ian Rutledge, a World War I veteran, the mother-son history buffs who write as Charles Todd are mining the era again, this time with a young female protagonist who nurses the wounded as the war rages on.

"It was a character we had been thinking about to describe what was happening to people of that age and that generation," Charles says. "The strong-willed, independent, intelligent female that at an early age had international experience and a background very different from your more traditional Victorian upbringing. The one that drives cars and upsets mom."

The only child of a British officer, Bess Crawford grew up in India and followed in her father's footsteps, as best she could, when the Great War broke out. In A Duty to the Dead (Sep., Morrow), while healing her own injury in England, Bess must fulfill the dying wish of a soldier she'd fallen for by delivering an important message to his brother: "Tell Jonathan I lied. I did it for Mother's sake." Ugly secrets abound as Bess gets caught up in a wealthy family's sordid past.

Despite the popularity of the Rutledge novels, the pair is still nervous about how Bess will be received her first time out. But they're not trading one series for the other. Rutledge's struggles to obliterate the ghosts of war continue next January with The Red Door. Although both are interested in other historical periods and have thought about solo projects, the era surrounding WWI, which killed 15 million people, remains a draw, and their stories skillfully convey the hardship on the front lines and at home.

"When you study history, war is a natural part of it," Caroline says. "When relations between states fail, war happens whether people like it or not. When Peter Jennings and Tom Brokaw came out with their books on the 20th century, both said that the pivotal event was World War I. Everything we have seen since then has been an outgrowth of the war or the treaty."

-- Diane Snyder

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