(1909-1988) US writer, much involved in radio and tv work from 1936, and author of several nonfantastic adult novels – like Identity Unknown (1945) and The Enchanter (1962), the latter a thriller – before beginning to publish, normally for a YA audience, works of genre interest like Corbie (1966) and The Boy who Could Fly (1967). He remains best-known for the Tertius fantasy sequence – Merlin's Mistake (1970) and The Testing of Tertius (1973) – featuring young Tertius, upon whom Merlin has bestowed the dangerous and seemingly unuseful gift of understanding and making use of future science, though Tertius is ignorant of matters like Magic. In the first volume, Merlin serves as an enigmatic Trickster figure, guiding the course of a complex Quest whose ostensible protagonist, the armiger Brian, is never in control of events; a Robin Hood figure appears intermittently. In the second volume, Tertius helps Arthur cope with Attila the Hun. RN's style was polished and professional, though sometimes over-slick. [JC]
other works: The Shattered Stone (1975); Night Spell (1977); The Case of the Baker Street Irregulars (1978; vt A Puzzle for Sherlock Holmes 1979 UK) (> Sherlock Holmes).
Robert Howard Newman