43: Author August Thomas: Liar’s Candle

This week, Spybrary Spy Podcast Host Shane Whaley welcomes author and travel writer August Thomas to speak about her debut novel, Liar’s Candle.


August Thomas author reveals more about her debut spy thriller Liar's Candle
August Thomas author reveals more about her debut spy thriller Liar's Candle

Introduced to the podcast by Professor Penny Fielding, August has lived and studied in Scotland and Turkey, where she pursued a Master’s Degree on a Fulbright Scholarship. August began writing Liar’s Candle as an assignment in a creative writing class, in short cliff hanger-style chapters. After a few installments that kept her fellow classmates enthralled, August realized she had a novel on her hands.

August Thomas - Author of Liar's Candle
August Thomas – Author of Liar's Candle

Liar’s Candle is set against the backdrop of a terror attack in Ankara, Turkey. In the aftermath, protagonist Penny Kessler embarks upon a pan-European adventure to uncover the perpetrators. Living by her wits, Kessler teams up with Connor Beauregard, a former naval officer with something to prove, as they try to crack the case.

In a delightful, wide-ranging conversation, August and Shane discuss the rarity of women in spy literature, both as authors and substantive characters. They also highlight authors, films, and characters to look out for who buck this trend – not least of which is August herself!

Stay tuned to hear more, including:

  • Shane takes his first Turkish lesson.
  • August explains the old Turkish proverb that inspired the title of her book.
  • Who would August cast to play Penny Kessler in a Hollywood adaptation of Liar’s Candle, and why is Penny the ‘anti-Lara Croft?'
  • And finally, August runs the gauntlet of the Quick-Fire Round, with some very original answers!


You can listen to August Thomas's Liar Candle on Audible.
You can listen to August Thomas's Liar Candle on Audible.

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James Bond Trivia – August Thomas's agent is Piers Blofeld, great nephew of Thomas Blofeld who went to school with Ian Fleming and whose name Ian used for his Bond's arch villain Ernst Stavro Blofeld!


Spybrary Spy Podcast Discussion Group
Talk more about spy books in our Spybrary discussion group

Reviews of Liar's Candle


Kirkus Reviews

Real Book Spy Review

Publishers Weekly review

Resources Mentioned on Today’s Spybrary Spy Podcast


August Thomas: Liar’s Candle

Eric Ambler: The Mask of Demetrios; Journey Into Fear

Ian Fleming: From Russia With Love

Odd Arne Westhad: Cold War and Revolution (non-fiction)

Sheelah Kohlhatkar: Black Edge (non-fiction)

Graham Greene: The Third Man

Aly Monroe: The Maze of Cadiz

Ben McIntyre: A Spy Amongst Friends

Patrick Dennis: Around the World with Auntie Mame

Film & TV

John le Carré: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (2011 Film Version)

John le Carré: The Little Drummer Girl


Frederick Forsyth Presents Mini-Series

Alfred Hitchcock: The Lady Vanishes

Other Notable University of Edinburgh Alumni & Faculty in the Spy World:

Stella Rimington

Charles Cumming - Author of Spy Thrillers
Charles Cumming – Author of Spy Thrillers

Charles Cumming

Penny Fielding’s Spybrary Spy Podcast interview where she reveals more about Edinburgh Spy Week

Follow August Thomas on Goodreads, and at www.augustthomasbooks.com

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