The Authors (motley crew that we are)
‘George Knight’ lives and works in Gloucestershire and has for many years loved the Middle Ages, Central Asia and the Silk Road, Rudyard Kipling, books old and new, lightly-worn learning, Chinese tea, classical music (especially Bach, Vivaldi, Albinoni, Mozart and Beethoven), BBC Radio 4, cookery (although more with enthusiasm than skill) and Islay single malt whisky.
He has long been an enthusiast for the ghost stories of M. R. James and still remembers the effect of first reading the Oxford Book of English Ghost Stories and the work of Jorge Luis Borges.
He would love to be able to move to Italy and write in the sunshine, like Ernest Hemingway.
The late D. V. Pyle, Texas Aggie, oil-industry executive, old soldier, 1932 – 2010, was descended of a family that came to Texas before the Mexican Revolution, led by a former Georgia state legislator who had lost a re-election bid … and who thereupon elected to leave his former constituents to their fate. (If they couldn’t appreciate him, he seems to have felt, to hell with them.) Subsequent ancestors came to Texas from Tennessee, after the Eaton “Petticoat” Scandal, Louisiana, and Missouri. That history, those stories, dyed him deep.
Don Pyle attended Texas A&M; served overseas – Korea was his war; married, at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, his wife Alyce (1929 – 2011); and was an executive with various manufacturing and oil industry concerns for most of his adult life. And he never stopped reading, researching, honing tales, and planning, in his retirement, to write: to write of the westward expansion, the new Texas that arose and drove towards the sunset during Reconstruction, the mythic West that this movement created.
Sadly, after his retirement, his wife began to fail, in her health and, afterwards, in her wits. He also found his own physical health slipping away, increasingly frail, though his mind, imprisoned in that failing body and distracted by the duty of caring for his wife, remained sharp almost to the last.
Markham Shaw Pyle, his son, prepared Claymore and other fragments for posthumous publication.
Markham Shaw Pyle was born in Houston, Texas, in 1962. A sixth-generation Texan and twelfth-generation Southerner, he holds his undergraduate and law degrees from Washington & Lee. A longtime leading reviewer, during its glory days, at epinions.com, he is primarily a military historian, although cultural, political, and diplomatic history has been known to creep in. Mr. Pyle is a partner in the Bapton Books imprint, and a past or current member of, inter alia, the Organization of American Historians; the Society for Military History; the Southern Historical Association; the Southwestern Social Science Association; the Southwestern Historical Association; the Southwestern Political Science Association; the Virginia Historical Society; and the Texas State Historical Association.
Mr. Pyle believes in the 1928 Prayer Book, brisket, cornbread, National League baseball, and Smithfield ham. He is unalterably opposed to unnatural fibers, beans in chili, the move of the Astros to the Junior Circuit, and the Designated Hitter.
He is easily distracted by the Baroque, bluegrass, big band swing, and Carolina beach music (having the voice as well as the face for radio, he hosted both ‘Classical Showcase’ and ‘Big Band Showcase’ at WLUR-FM in his wild youth); and by baseball, barbecue, and biscuits. He tweets here; his Facebook page is wisely inactive.
He is available for lectures and signings in the United States. With due caution. (The Darien Historical Society brought him to Connecticut in 2012, and he inadvertently had Hurricane Sandy in his luggage.)
GMW Wemyss (shown, left, in an artist’s rendering designed to prevent his being recognised and mobbed in the street, less by fans than by mobs with pitchforks, and wearing what his American business partner describes as ‘that damned proconsular smirk of empire’) lives and writes, wisely pseudonymously, in Wilts. Having, by invoking the protective colouration of tweeds, cricket (he was a dry bob at school), and country matters, somehow evaded immersion in Mercury whilst up at University, he survived to become the author of the Village Tales series of novels, beginning with 2013’s Cross and Poppy.
He has a blog in the steerage section of the Torygraph, and is on Facebook – which he eschews – and Twitter – which he does not –, much to the dismay of any number of people.
An out-and-proud anorak, his interests include Clumber spaniels; cricket; tea; hunting, shooting, and angling; beagling; squash; polo (No. 4); real ale, real cider, real perry, wine; rural pursuits; steam railways; draught horses; and Bristol motorcars. He is (under his actual name, Which He Is Not Telling You) a member of various local and regional historical societies; various learned societies in the disciplines of politics, economics, and history; various hunts; the RSPB; the Royal Agricultural Society of England; the Rare Breeds Survival Trust; CAMRA; the British Beekeepers’ Association; the Countryside Alliance; the British Deer Society; the British Horse Society; the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings; the British Association for Shooting and Conservation; the Conservative Party (with Thatcherite misgivings over its current Wetness); the Henry Jackson Society; the Prayer Book Society; his Regimental Association; the Campaign for Christ Church (Oxon); &c.
Although a small, pink chap, he sings basso in the parish choir, when cornered.