Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Peter Saxon: Guardian, Author and Figment

I didn’t know that I didn’t know

The other day I made a comment to a post on Propnomicon’s blog site.  It was about a neat prop pen made from a bone and steel nib.  Anyway, I got thinking about Peter Saxon and the series of books he wrote about a group called Guardians who protected the world against sorcery and black magic.  I had read several of his works back in the 1970s but just didn’t know much about the author.

I was surprised to find out that there was no author by the name of Peter Saxon and that it was a house name.  That is to say, it was a pseudonym used by a variety of authors writing a series of books issued by a publisher.  From what I could find Peter Saxon was actually, W. Howard Baker (who was also known as W. A. Ballinger) Rex Dolphin, Stephen D. Francis, Wilfred McNeilly, Ross Richards, and Martin Thomas.  Not all of these authors wrote books for the Guardian series, but did publish through the same house.

Here is a list of books that appear under the house name Peter Saxon although not all of these were of the horror genre nor of the Guardians series.  A few of them were made into movies such as The Disorientated Man, which came out as Scream and Scream Again with Vincent Price, Christopher Lee, and Peter Cushing.  How can you beat that combination!  Black Honey and Corruption were also made into films, although I haven’t seen them:

 The Curse of Rathlaw
Dark Ways to Death
The Haunting of Alan Mais
The Killing Bone
Through the Dark Curtain
The Vampires of Finistere
The Torturer
Satan’s Child
Vampire’s Moon
The Disoriented Man
Black Honey
Other titles by Peter Saxon, but not horror
The Enemy Sky
The Warring Sky
The Unfeeling Sky
Panky in Love

I read the Killing Bone back in the 1970s as well as Dark Ways to Death and Satan’s Child, but I understand The Vampires of Finistere and The Curse of Rathlaw are some of the best of the Guardians Series.  I suggest to Call of Cthulhu RPGers that these Guardian series books by Peter Saxon would be good scenario ideas for a game master.  While doing research I was utterly horrified (pun intended) to find no Wikipedia entry for Peter Saxon.  I hope some enterprising fan of detective horror fiction would type up an article.


  1. I just now, at 2 AM, May 25, 2013 E.V., discovered that Peter Saxon was a house name and found this site directly after that. I read some of The Guardians series back in the 70's, lost the books and in the late 90's found them and more, namely The Killing Bone, Dark Ways To Death, The Haunting of Alan Mais, The Vampires of Finistere, The Curse of Rathlaw, and Through The Dark Curtain. I've always wondered if there were more books in The Guardians series that I could obtain? Another series I loved was the Doctor Orient series, same thing in this instance. Had, lost, reacquired finding more than I knew existed before my search to reacquire the books. What started all this tonight was a new friend in the UK suggested some books by Eric Ericson, The Sorcerer, Master of the Temple, The Woman Who Slept With Demons and The World, The Flesh, The Devil, and I was so intrigued I ordered them from amazon.com and have so far received 3 of these books (not yet read). Now I'm going a little crazy trying to find out just who Eric Ericson (b. 1925 according to the copyright pages of the books) is/was. I simply cannot find a biography on Ericson! Another house name? In this case, I don't think so. If you or anyone knows where I can find a bio on Ericson please let me know. So far it seems like you CAN'T find everything on the Net. And if anyone knows of more "Peter Saxon" book titles in The Guardians series that I haven't listed here I'd love to know about them. I really shouldn't be intersted in these books because I know better, so to speak, but I love the characters of The Guardians and Doctor Orient, and sometimes I go for characters above accuracy in fiction.


  2. I have enjoyed the Peter Saxon books myself in the '70 and lost them as well. I might also steer you to some excellent books by Talbot Mundy, which the Wikipedia article lists his important works: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talbot_Mundy and you might also try http://www.talbotmundy.com/

    Both Peter Saxon and Talbot Mundy hold a special place in my early readings of my youth. Thank you for finding and commenting on my blog. Happy reading.

    1. October 8, 2013 - Where does the time go?! I bumped back into your blog again, thanks for putting it up, by the way, and I put the URLs you suggested in my favourites to look into more carefully later. I believe I read one or two Mundy books way back when, in the swords and sorcery genre I believe. Not so much into that thest days, although I rebought all of the Eric and Conan books, plus many more Robert E. Howard works, (not to mention all of the Doc Savage books plus the new ones) to read again sometime. I really enjoy interesting contemporary characters involved in occult adventures, e.g. Simon R. Green's Nightside, Secret Histories and especially his Ghost Finders series (Judas Ghost is a GF movie written by Green coming soon, looks good, but weirdly it's another, similar team of characters instead of THE Ghost Finders); also the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher. But it's hard to top The Guardians and Dr. Orient. :-)

      Again, thanks for the Mundy tip. I'll look over his books and see what I might like to read these days.

      Thanks again for the informative blog!


  3. "peter saxon" was something of a variation upon the publisher-owned & controlled house name, in that it was the "property" of w. howard baker, always under his control as he moved from publisher to publisher including mayflower books, and five star (pbs) who seem to've been associated with world distributors (manchester) ltd.