Frederick Nolan

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For the Irish Anglican theologian, see Frederick Nolan (theologian).

Frederick William Nolan (born 7 March 1931 in Liverpool) is an English editor and writer, mostly known as Frederick Nolan, but also using the pen names Donald Severn, Daniel Rockfern, Christine McGuire and Frederick H. Christian.

Nolan was educated in Liverpool and Aberaeron in Wales. At the age of 21, he began the researches that established him as one of England's leading authorities on the American West. In 1954 he was co-founder of The English Westerners' Society.


At the start of his career, he became first a reader, and later an editor, for Corgi (Bantam) Books in London. The move to London in the early 1960s made it possible for him to pursue the other consuming interest of his life: the American musical theatre. During this time, he also began writing western fiction as Frederick H. Christian, a pseudonym derived from his own, his wife Heidi's, and his oldest son's first names.

Over the next decade, while working in publishing – with Transworld, then Penguin, Collins, and Granada in London, and later with Ballantine and Warner in New York, he produced 14 westerns as well as a considerable body of journalism.

On 4 July 1973, Nolan quit his job as a highly paid publishing executive and signed a contract to write eight full-length novels in a year. The first of these was the successful The Oshawa Project (published in the US as The Algonquin Project) which was later filmed by MGM as Brass Target, starring Sophia Loren, John Cassavetes, Robert Vaughn, George Kennedy, Patrick McGoohan and Max von Sydow. Since that time he has completed more than 70 books and a similar number of biographical studies and articles for historical journals.

Considered[by whom?] to be one of the foremost authorities on the life and times of Billy the Kid,[1] and the history of the American West in general, Nolan appears frequently in television documentaries dealing with the subject, as well as lecturing to historical societies in the UK and US, and also on cruise ships.

His westerns included the Angel series of books, as well as five additional books in the Sudden series that had been created by Oliver Strange. These have latterly been reissued under new titles, while the Angel series now appears under the pseudonym Daniel Rockfern (which is an anagram of "Frederick Nolan").

In 1993, Nolan received the Border Regional Library Association of Texas' Award for Literary Excellence. In 2001, he was awarded the first France V. Scholes Prize for outstanding research from the Historical Society of New Mexico and during the same year, he received the first J. Evetts Haley Fellowship from the Haley Memorial Library in Midland, Texas. In 2005, the Western Outlaw-Lawman History Association (WOLA) gave him its highest honour, the Glenn Shirley Award, for his lifetime contribution to outlaw-lawman history; in 2006, The Westerners Foundation named his The West of Billy the Kid as one of the hundred most important 20th-century historical works on the American West and, in 2007, the National Outlaw-Lawman Association (NOLA) awarded him its William D. Reynolds Award in Recognition of Outstanding Research and Writing in Western History. A year later, True West Magazine named him "Best Living Non-fiction Writer".

Selected bibliography[edit]


  • The Oshawa Project (1974; published in the US as The Algonquin Project, 1975; a bestseller on both sides of the Atlantic, filmed as Brass Target in 1978)
  • The Mittenwald Syndicate (1976; another best-selling thriller about the Reichsbank robbery in Germany at the end of World War Two)
  • Carver's Kingdom (1980; historical novel about the building of the American Transcontinental railroad)
  • White Nights, Red Dawn (1980; historical novel set amid the turmoil of the Russian Revolution).
  • A Promise of Glory (1983; historical novel about an American family during the Revolution)
  • Blind Duty (1983; historical novel about the same family during the Civil War)
  • Field of Honour (1985; historical novel about a family during the Spanish–American War)
  • Wolf Trap (1983; thriller about the 1942 assassination of Reinhard Heydrich in Prague)
  • Red Centre (1987; a hi-tech espionage thriller)

Garrett Dossier:

  • Sweet Sister Death (1989; a prescient thriller featuring a terrorist strike in New York)
  • Alert State Black (1989; Charles Garrett fights terrorism in Germany)
  • Designated Assassin (1990; this time the terrorists are Irish)
  • Rat Run (1991; Garrett combats a group planning the biggest ecological disaster ever)

As Christine McGuire[edit]

  • Until Proven Guilty (1993)
  • Until Justice is Done (1995)
  • Until Death Do Us Part (1997)

As Frederick H. Christian[edit]

  • Sudden Strikes Back (1966)
  • Sudden at Bay (1968)
  • Sudden, Apache Fighter (1969)
  • Sudden – Troubleshooter (1967)
  • Sudden, Dead or Alive! (1970)

As Daniel Rockfern[edit]

  • Standoff at Liberty
  • Ride Out to Vengeance
  • Ambush in Purgatory
  • Long Ride into Hell
  • Ride Clear of Daranga
  • Bad Day at Agua Caliente
  • Massacre in Madison
  • Showdown at Trinidad
  • Shootout at Fischer's Crossing
  • Manhunt in Quemado
  • Duel at Cheyenne

Nonfiction works[edit]

  • The Life and Death of John Henry Tunstall (2009)
  • Rodgers & Hammerstein: The Sound of Their Music (2002)
  • The Lincoln County War: A Documentary History (2009)
  • Bad Blood: The Life and Times of the Horrel Brothers.
  • Portraits of the Old West (1997)
  • Lorenz Hart: A Poet on Broadway (1995)
  • The West of Billy the Kid (1998)
  • Pat Garrett's The Authentic Life of Billy, the Kid (editor)
  • The Wild West: History, Myth and the Making of America (2003)
  • Tascosa, Its Life and Gaudy Times (2007)
  • The Billy the Kid Reader (editor; 2007)
  • Deep Trails in the Old West (editor)

Translated from French[edit]

  • Lucky Luke: Jesse James
  • Lucky Luke: The Stage Coach
  • Lucky Luke: The Dashing White Cowboy

(and 15 other titles in the series)


  1. ^ Richard Benke, "Writer debunks myths about `Billy the Kid'", Amarillo Globe-News, August 13, 2000.

External links[edit]