Thomas C. Sanger - Author of Without Warning - photo

A Message From the Author

Hello and welcome to my website.  My historical novel, Without Warning, is due to be published August 1 by River Grove Books. Based on actual people and events, Without Warning tells the little-known story of the Athenia’s tragic sinking at the beginning of World War II.  Elsewhere on this site you can read an excerpt, find a brief description of the story, and learn more about the research behind the writing.

I first became interested in writing about Athenia, a British passenger liner sunk by a German U-boat, because my grandmother, Rhoda Thomas, was aboard the ship. Over the years, I found that many people knew of the Lusitania, which was torpedoed by a U-boat during World War I, but few had ever heard of Athenia, even though 30 Americans died in that attack, more than two years before Pearl Harbor. In researching the book, I read many inspiring and harrowing accounts written by other survivors and spoke to a handful of them who are still alive. What began as a project to remember my grandmother has become for me an effort to honor the memories of Athenia’s passengers whose heroism and sacrifices have been overshadowed by the war’s greater conflagrations.


Tom’s Athenia Blog

A Fruitless Search! The Russell Park Story, Part 10

Monday, September 4, 1939 A gnawing hunger roused eleven-year-old Russell Park from troubled dreams. He rolled out of his hammock and stood, unsure how long he had slept, but keenly aware food was now a priority. Adapting to the ship’s roll, he moved carefully among several swaying hammocks to exit the temporary sleeping quarters. In... Read More

Mysterious Lights: The Russell Park Story, Part 9

Monday Dawn, September 4 Even though he was tired, eleven-year-old Russell Park had not slept since his lifeboat’s near miss with the rescue ship Knute Nelson. Splashing oars, constant efforts to bail out the boat, and spray from the white-capped waves kept sleep at bay. At least the misty rains had stopped and the half-moon,... Read More