Peter Francis Tonkin was born in 1950 in Limavady, County Londonderry, Ireland. He is a author, having published over 20 books.


Early life

His father was a senior engineering officer in the RAF. During his childhood, Peter grew up in many different countries including N. Ireland, England, Holland, Germany and Bahrain. He was educated at Gloucester House, Portora Royal School, Enniskillen, where he sang in the Cathederal Choir, and at Palmer's School in Essex. At Palmer's, he acted, sang, wrote, edited the school maagazine and rose to be Prefect, Librarian and Deputy Head of House. He won the Jan Palac Memorial prize for poetry and sang with the Essex Youth Choir.

Peter graduated from the Queen's University, Belfast, where he was made a member of the Honours School in English, after studying English, History and Philosophy in his Fresher year. He studied History with Professor John Warren. He studied English with professors Edna Longley and Seamus Heaney. His poetry was broadcast by the BBC. He was a leading undergraduate actor and director, involved in productions as diverse as Pinter's 'A Slight Ache', Albee's 'Zoo Story' Sophocles' 'Oedipus Rex' and Shakespeare's 'Much Ado About Nothing'. He directed 'Everyman' for the 1972 Belfast Festival as well as the First Quarto 'Hamlet' with (as he remembers it) a young Ciaran Hinds as Hamlet. He received special mention from John Arden in the Galway Festival 1973.

He was Literary and Critical Editor of 'Gown', the student newspaper, producing the famous 'Literary Supplement' with poetry by Paul Muldoon and short stories by Bernard MacLaverty as well as articles by Sheridan Morley and Michael Parkinson and an interview with Christopher Lee. Peter completed his Minor Thesis (1973) and his Master's Thesis (1974) on the Elizabethan Theatre.


As a teacher and writer since that time, he has kept at the cutting edge of Shakespeare scholarship. He has taught in a range of schools, rising from temporary-terminal teacher to Head of Department (English and Law), Director of Post-16 Provision and Assistant Headteacher. He has taught English, History and Law to Advanced Level. He has been an Examiner at A Level in Law for the OCR board. He was nominated for the Teacher of the Year Award 2010.

Peter's first international best-seller, 'Killer' was bublished in 1978. In the years since then, he has published 30 more novels, 22 in the best-selling 'Mariner' Series of action adventures that have been compared with the books of Alistair MacLean, Desmond Bagley and Hammond Innes and 4 in the 'Master of Defence' series of murder mysteries set in Shakespeare's England.

Peter is married to Charmaine, who owns and runs 'Mangetout the Caterers'. They have two sons - Guy, currently studying English at Trinity College, Oxford, and Mark who is writing and directing up and coming B-movie Parody film Attack Of The Deadly Gust.

Peter and his family live in Royal Tunbridge Wells. Peter heas recently retired from full-time teaching at The Wildernesse School, Sevenoaks. He continues to write full-time, to teach part-time and to examine Law. He is also in contact with Professor Paul Simpson of his old university, the leading authority on Narratology, with regard to completing his PhD thesis on the Theory of Narrative.


Richard Mariner Series

  1. The Coffin Ship (1989)
  2. The Fire Ship (1990)
  3. The Leper Ship (1992)
  4. The Bomb Ship (1993)
  5. Iceberg (1994)
  6. The Pirate Ship (1995)
  7. Meltdown (1996)
  8. Tiger Island (1997)
  9. Hell Gate (1998)
  10. Powerdown (1999)
  11. High Water (2000)
  12. Thunder Bay (2001)
  13. Titan 10 (2004)
  14. Wolf Rock (2005)
  15. Resolution Burning (2006)
  16. Cape Farewell (2006)
  17. The Ship Breakers (2007)
  18. High Wind in Java (2007)
  19. Benin Light (2008)
  20. River of Ghosts (2009)
  21. Volcano Roads (2009)
  22. The Prison Ship (2010)
  23. Red River (2010)
  24. Ice Station (2011)
  25. Dark Heart (2012)

Master of Defence Series

  1. The Point of Death (2001)
  2. One Head Too Many (2002)
  3. The Hound of the Borders (2003)
  4. The Silent Woman (2003)

Non Series Fictions

  1. Killer (1978)
  2. The Journal of Edwin Underhill (1981)
  3. The Action (1996)
  4. The Zero Option (1997)
  5. The Ice Station (2011)


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