Nicholas Guild, son of Walter Francis and Gertrude (Mowry) Guild, was born in 1944 in San Mateo, California.
He received a B.A. from Occidental College in 1966, followed by an M.A. in 1968 and a Ph.D. in 1972, both from The University of California, Berkeley.
He married Suzanne Weil on March 19, 1966.
Guild was assistant professor of English at Clemson University, 1973-75 and assistant professor of English at Ohio State University, beginning in 1975.
His fiction titles include The Lost and Found Man, The Summer Soldier, Chain Reaction, The Assyrian, The Blood Star, and Angel.
Guild has also written for a number of newspapers, literary journals, and popular magazines, including Harper’s.
The Lost and Found Man (1975)
Bill Lukas – an uninspired L.A. junior college English professor – is on vacation in Europe when he’s framed by his old Army “enemy” Ryf into working for U.S. Intelligence. The mission: to locate a captured agent in Zurich and recover/silence him before he falls into the hands of the East Germans. A onetime Dirty Dozen-like assassin, Lukas is hampered less by his alluring lady spook partner Meg (“the Carrie Nation of international intrigue”) than he is by the realization that he’s been set up all along. You’ll find this quite believable if cynically depressing – a case of Finders weepers.
The Summer Soldier (1978, Ohioana Book Award)
One day in a quiet northern California college town, an English instructor comes home only to find police clustered around his modest home. His wife is dead, stabbed to death with an ice pick, and suddenly Ray Guinness realizes that his past has recaptured him.
Old Acquaintance (1978)
In this, the second novel in the Ray Guinness series, he is assigned to stop the apparent sabotage of a highly secret research project in Clemson, South Carolina. The opposition, code named “Flycatcher” has been threatening to murder the children of staff members unless their parents leave the project immediately. On the face of it, this isn’t a very high priority assignment, but Ray soon learns that his superiors had a very specific motive for sending him Down South to the land of mint juleps and non-existent gun laws, where he encounters his own past in the persons of his ex-wife and their nine year old daughter. It isn’t very long before Guinness – and his enemies – learn just how dangerous a father’s love can be.
The Favor (1981)
Sometimes Guinness’s profession came close to absorbing him totally, leaving him no identity except that of the Summer Soldier, celebrated killer of men. At other times the utter amorality of his trade – the anonymous taking of lives – chilled even him, and it was at such a moment that he agreed to the favor: to rescue from herself on Amalia Brouwer, shop girl and part-time laborer in the People’s Struggle, second-generation idealist, and the daughter of an East German intelligence officer who had once befriended him; to find Renal, Belgian soldier cum greeting-card heartthrob, NATO’s bad boy, location uncertain, and to nail, once and for all, the Flycatcher, criminal terrorist devoid of any ideological attachments, and Guinness’s longtime adversary. The lady and her lovers. The Flycatcher had tangled with Guinness before – to the detriment of his professional reputation – and his near-superstitious dread of the man inspires both unnecessary cruelty and ultimate carelessness. A chilling climax in an abandoned farmhouse outside Amsterdam earns The Favor its place as a classic novel of suspense. The Favor’s cool prose is laced with understatement, its plot is a finely woven, ever-tightening web, and its characters are of flesh and blood, trapped ultimately by their own human frailties. Raymond Guinness’s roving, bitter consciousness punctuates his exploits with irony and illuminates a brutal, irrevocable morality.
The President’s Man (1982)
It was a great team from the start. Simon Faircliff: candidate for the U.S. Senate, the liberal’s darling, with the charisma of a great leader. And Frank Austen: young, sharp, ruthless; in search of a job – and a cause. It took them eight years to get Faircliff the White House, and Austen the directorship of the C.I.A. and Faircliff’s only daughter for his wife. For Austen it was eight years orchestrating campaigns and clearing the way for the man he had come to love and deeply respect. Only then, when he thought they had captured the world, did Austen have the time to sit back and listen to the nagging inner voice telling him that something, somewhere, was profoundly wrong. A chance encounter with an old man, imprisoned so long he had come to be known as the Political Prisoner Emeritus, sets Austen off to piece together a puzzle so sinister, so terrifying in its implications, that its only resolution is treason. An espionage novel of the highest caliber, The President’s Man is also a brilliantly crafted psychological novel, reminiscent of All the King’s Men and Advise and Consent in its portrait of political life.
Chain Reaction (1983)
It is 1944 and the war is not going well for the Germans. Their only hope, as the Reich has come to realize, lies in developing a nuclear weapon; but since the bombing of their heavy water installation in Norway, their efforts have lagged far behind those of the Americans. And so the U-boat approaching the Maine coast in the dark of a January night carries a very important passenger. Baron Joachim von Niehauser is a Prussian nobleman, a man well-versed in the arts of war yet one on whom its ugly lessons have not been lost, a man distrustful of the Nazi regime but loyal to his country. His mission is a critical one: to make contact with a German spy placed long ago in the Manhattan Project, obtain the critical data, and get it out of the country and into sympathetic hands. Chain Reaction is the chillingly suspenseful story of von Niehauser’s desperate journey and his pursuit by FBI agent George Havens. Havens, too, is a decent man, one whose own vision of the war has broken under the pressure of his search across America for a brilliant and elusive quarry, a search that ends in a final, brutal confrontation on a winter hillside.
The Berlin Warning (1984)
“What we need is an American.” That was the word from the Whitehall spymasters. It was October 27, 1941, and Hitler was victorious from Calais to the outskirts of Moscow. Only Britain held out against him, fighting alone, stretched to the limit. Her one hope of survival was that the United States would enter the war, and the Germans were hell-bent to prevent that. It all came down to one desperate gamble. What they needed was an American like David Steadman. Barely recovered from a shrapnel wound sustained in the Spanish Civil War, at the request of the woman he loves, he sets out to steal the biggest secret of the war. THE BERLIN WARNING is a novel of love and war, set in a nightmare world where duty and passion are traps for the unwary, and death is never more than one miscalculation away. “Read a novel as cleanly composed and well paced as Nicholas Guild’s ‘Berlin Warning’ and you’ll never again be satisfied with ordinary thrillers” says the NEW YORK TIMES. PUBLISHERS WEEKLY describes Nicholas Guild as “a master of timing, plot and style”.
The Linz Tattoo (1985)
It is 1948. Inar Christiansen, a Norwegian cellist-turned-soldier, undertakes an ambitious and dangerous plan – to track down and destroy the members of the SS troop who murdered his parents and most of the citizens of his hometown in Norway. Christiansen is especially intent on finding Colonel Egon Hagemann, the sadistic director of a concentration camp during the war who masterminded the destruction of his town. But the only way to find Hagemann is by finding Esther Rosensaft, the beautiful, mysterious Jewess who was once Hagemann’s tormented mistress. Christiansen embarks upon a relentless search throughout Europe, a search that leads to Nazis in hiding, Israeli spies, and a deadly secret that could lead to another holocaust.
The Assyrian (1987)
Set in ancient Ashur (called Assyria by Greeks), this absorbing epic novel dramatically portrays two royal half-brothers whose childhood camaraderie later gives way to acrimony and violence. Tiglath and Asarhaddon, sons of aging King Sennacherib, grow up amicably and share rigorous military training. Their friendship dissolves when the king’s priest proclaims the gods’ decree that Asarhaddon will be the next monarch. Resentful of Sennacherib’s preference for Tiglath and not eager to assume his prospective duties, Asarhaddon dreads his fate, while noble Tiglath unhappily refrains from usurping the throne out of a concern for his country’s well-being. Even more disturbing to Tiglath, however, is the certainty that his lover, comely Esharhamat, must become the future sovereign’s bride. Reeling with grief, Tiglath leaves Ashur to become a seasoned conqueror worthy of his compatriots’ homage, yet a momentous clash between him and Asarhaddon still awaits.
The Blood Star (1989)
Shot through with dark, exotic lyricism, Guild’s majestic historical epic cuts a wide swath through ancient Assyria, Egypt, Phoenicia, Sicily, Greece. Its narrator-hero, Tiglath Ashur, seen before in The Assyrian, is banished from Nineveh by his hated half-brother, the Assyrian king, partly due to a misunderstanding that is not cleared up until long after the brothers are reconciled. Fleeing the king’s assassins, Tiglath encounters formulaic elements of the adventure novel (sudden perils, gory battles, omens, spicy lovemaking). But Guild easily transcends genre conventions. His witty, world-weary hero grows in stature through his quest, deepened by experience and by love for a young Egyptian slave-girl whom he rescues and later marries. This saga serves up a rich, intoxicating feast, interweaving a cultural anthropology of unfamiliar lands and a stoic meditation on mortality, fate, revenge and justice, the ties of love and blood.
In his first novel since the historical epic The Blood Star (1989), Guild returns to the contemporary thriller with a vengeance, spinning an intricate, wonderfully paced tale in which nearly every scene proves vital to the resolution, which peaks only in the novel’s two final words. The story begins in Ohio, where a man is brutally murdered in a motel room shortly before his wife and young children suffer a similar fate in their home. The following week, in Connecticut, an elderly lawyer suffers a fatal heart attack while reading a newspaper clipping about the killings. Shortly thereafter, his son, namesake and partner, James Kinkaid IV, discovers that his father had engaged a clipping service to collect stories containing the names of any of 10 men. As Kinkaid begins investigating the list and the fate of those on it (hiring the investigating officer on the Ohio murders to aid him), he finds himself caught up in a parallel mystery: that of Angela “Angel” Wyman, the extraordinarily beautiful granddaughter of a wealthy and powerful local family. Angel, whom Kinkaid romanced briefly 10 years back, was “sent away” after a brief stay at the ancestral home. Kinkaid comes to believe that Angel may be involved in the recent murders. But what about the death certificate he finds with her name on it? As the terrible secrets of Angel and of Kinkaid’s father are revealed, the attorney and the woman he loves are brought face to face with the cold hatred of a madwoman. Memorable characterizations enhance this gripping yarn, which features two of the most frightening and ruthless killers in recent fiction.
The Moonlight (2012)
The old Moonlight Roadhouse, scene of many crimes, has some very strange occupants. When Phil Owings inherits the place from an uncle he never knew, he thinks he has finally found a home. What he finds instead is a nightmare.
Blood Ties (2015)
Homicide detective Ellen Ridley of the SFPD is tracking a serial killer who has been terrorizing young women in the San Francisco Bay Area. Ridley is sure she’s cornered her most likely suspect: Stephen Tregear, a hacker and code breaker who works for US Naval Intelligence. But Tregear is not the killer… he’s the killer’s son. Ridley and Tregear team up to look for Tregear’s father, Walter, in an elaborate game of murderous cat and mouse. As the body count rises, Ridley must race against the clock to stop Walter before he kills any more women – and Tregear must finally confront the father who has been trying to kill him for 20 years. Blood Ties is an elegant and frightening thriller from Nicholas Guild.
The Ironsmith (2016)
The Ironsmith is captivating novel from Nicholas Guild dramatizing the behind-the-scenes political plots to kill Jesus and one man’s attempt to save his life. This is the story of Joshua, a carpenter from the village of Nazareth who is called to preach the coming of God’s judgment. This is the story of his ministry and its terrible end, seen through the eyes of his kinsman and closest friend, Noah the ironsmith. Noah, a pious man but one who understands the darkness of a world in which treachery and murder are the common currency of power, is prepared to risk his own life to save Joshua’s. Sifting through the tangled contradictions of the New Testament, scholars have arrived at a consensus about these events and their meaning, but the man behind them can only be brought to life through an act of the imagination. The Joshua of this novel – the Jesus of Christian faith – is revealed as a man like other men, a very human hero whose defeat at the hands of his enemies imparts to him a tragic grandeur. The product of twenty years of research and a deep understanding of the ancient world, Nicholas Guild’s The Ironsmith is a story for everyone who cares about the origins of faith and the mystery of God’s relationship with man. At the Publisher’s request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.
The Spartan Dagger (2016)
Ancient Sparta comes to life in The Spartan Dagger, Nicholas Guild’s vivid tale of murder and vengeance. On a cold night, at the outskirts of a peasant village, two Spartan youths wait to perform an ancient rite of passage. A family – father, mother, and their son – approaches, unarmed and defenseless. The young men step into the moonlight and claim their manhood by killing the adults. The boy escapes. The Spartans have no idea how terrible an enemy they have called forth. Nothing could have prepared them for the boy, Protos, whose name means “destined” whose cunning and inborn skill with weapons renders his enemies almost defenseless, and whose heart knows no pity. The Spartans have oppressed his people for centuries, and to break their power is to free all those they hold in subjection. As Protos grows to manhood, he begins to understand that his private war against his parents’ murderers is also a struggle for liberation. At the Publisher’s request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.
The Macedonian (2017)
Nicholas Guild’s The Macedonian is a gripping fictional account of the life of Philip of Macedon, the king who sired Alexander the Great and conquered an unprecedented number of ancient Greek city-states. On a cold, snow-swept night in the ancient Greek kingdom of Macedon, a son is born to the king’s principal wife. His mother hates him for being his father’s child. His father hardly notices him. With two elder brothers, obscurity seems his destiny. The boy is sent off to be nursed by the chief steward’s wife. Yet, in a moment of national crisis, when Macedon is on the verge of being torn apart, the prince raised by a servant finds himself proclaimed the king. This is the story of Philip, prince and king, the forgotten boy who rose to save his country and became a legend in his own lifetime. His extensive military conquests across the Greek peninsula would pave the way for expansion under his son, Alexander the Great.