Copyright 2004 www.tombraiderchronicles.com

[ August 13th 2004 ]

Tomb Raider novelist Eric Knight has written and published the second novel based on the adventures of video-game heroine Lara Croft, aptly titled Tomb Raider: The Lost Cult. Minnesota-born E. E. Knight may be best known for authoring the Vampire Earth series - beginning with the novel Way of the Wolf - but the part-time teacher has now turned his hand to writing numerous sci-fi adventures as well as tapping into Eidos' most potent video-game franchise to date.

Tomb Raider: The Lost Cult chronicles the adventures of Lara Croft who narrowly escapes death while on a mission for the CIA to recover stolen Iraqi artifacts. After destroying years of his research on the ancient Méne cult, archaeologist Professor Frys is murdered by an unknown assassin. Lara Croft knows her colleague must have stumbled upon a dangerous secret-and someone took his life to ensure it would remain in the shadows.

So Lara jets to the mysterious cloud forests of eastern Peru, home of the Méne ruins, and makes a shocking discovery: A group is attempting to revive the sinister cult and its mind-controlling ways. One of the followers is Lara's former friend and failed protégé, Tomb Raider Ajay-and she is determined to see Lara silenced... permanently. But Lara, never one to run from a challenge, has other plans. So unfolds The Lost Cult...

Eric Knight stopped by to give www.tombraiderchronicles.com an exclusive interview to promote his Lara Croft adventure novel.

1. Who is Eric Knight and what publications have you been involved with in the past?

An unknown (and therefore inexpensive) writer of mass-market genre thrillers. All I've published so far are the first two volumes of my Vampire Earth epic (though I've sold four others in the series). I'm also a part-time teacher.

2. If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

I've been mentored by Fred Saberhagen and Alan Dean Foster. Stephen King has been an indirect mentor, mostly throug his Danse Macabre and On Writing books.

3. Why did you decided to write the second Tomb Raider novel?

Because I was a fan of the game, familiar with Lara, and they offered to pay me. When you're starting out in an authorial career, you go after paychecks like you're a pit-fighter.

4. Did you have much input from Tomb Raider fans during production? What kinds of things did they say?

Well, since there's something like twenty million of them, the question is "which fans do I listen to?" I posted on a couple of boards but didn't get much input. I saw some of the criticisms of the movies, AOD, and Resnik's book (though with the last my volume was already pretty much in production and it was too late to make major changes).

5. Why you do think Lara Croft Tomb Raider has become the most potent video-game franchise to date?

The artistry and intricacy of the adventures, the athleticism of Lara's climbs, dives, swims, and jumps, mixed with action here and there, give it an appeal that crosses from the "Myst" type puzzle-solving players to shoot-em-ups. Lara being pleasing to look at helps. I believe Lara's future will be in adventuring through gorgeously-realized sets and landscapes, so playing her will be a bit like living a David Lean movie.

6. Have you ever played the games or seen the Tomb Raider motion pics? What do you think?

Yes and yes. First the movies. While I think Angelina Jolie made a stunning Lara, they veered too far into the James Bond template with her rather than the Indiana Jones one. She was too indestructible, like Bond, and a little too much of a cocksure know-it-all, again like Bond. In the Jones movies, the audience follows Indy as he learns each fact, makes mistakes, and improvises. Bond always has information or a gadget to help him out of difficulties; Indy prepares as best he can, but ends up doing things by the seat of his pants and I like the latter.

The games are a joy. As I mentioned above, I like the mix of activities and the visuals. This is just one fan's opinion, but I hope for TR7 they make Lara the best looking-and-moving character in video game history, and put her in jaw-dropping environments. An occasional gun battle is fine, but there are tons of tactical games out there. I want gorgeous scenery and sets for her to run, climb, crawl, swing, and swim through.

7. What are you working on atm?

I'm trying to sell a high fantasy, my longest work to date, and I think I'm close. I'm also revising the fourth Vampire Earth novel, drafting the fifth, and working on a pen-and-paper Vampire Earth RPG that I'll be putting it out myself on a shoestring budget. More information about my work can be found at my website, http://www.vampireearth.com where you can do everything from learn about VE history to read my blog.

8. Which book are you reading atm?

Nonfiction I'm reading a U.S. Civil War naval history. In fiction I'm reading a book loaned from a writer-scholar friend, H. Warner Munn's The Lost Legion, a historical fiction about a Roman Legion on a trek into central Asia.

Tomb Raider: The Lost Cult is available from all good book stores priced $6.99 or via mail order from online giant www.amazon.com

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