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John Jakes

John Jakes

American historical novelist and fantasy writer
The basics
Occupations Writer Novelist Science fiction writer
Countries United States of America
A.K.A. John William Jakes
Gender male
Birth March 31, 1932 (Chicago)
Education Ohio State University, DePauw University
Notable Works The Kent Family Chronicles, North and South
Authority IMDB id ISNI id Library of congress id Openlibrary id VIAF id
The details

John William Jakes (born March 31, 1932) is an American writer, best known for American historical fiction. He has used the pen name Jay Scotland.

Early life and education

Jakes was born in Chicago, Illinois. He first sold stories to pulp magazines while still in college in the early 1950s. He studied creative writing at DePauw University, Greencastle, Indiana, graduating in 1953. He then earned an M.A. in American literature from The Ohio State University.

Writing career

Cover of Science Fiction Quarterly featuring John Jakes' "The Taint"

Thrilling Wonder Stories, edited by Sam Merwin, published two 1949–1950 letters from Jakes and two of his stories were published in pulp magazines edited by Howard Browne late in 1950, The Dreaming Trees (Fantastic Adventures, November) and "Your Number is Up!" (Amazing Stories, December). ISFDB catalogs 28 more speculative fiction stories published 1951 to 1953. Jakes published dozens of stories and several novels during the twenty years following completion of college, many of them fantasy fiction, science fiction and westerns and other sorts of historical fiction, while working in the advertising industry. In 1971, he began to write full-time.

During this time, he was a member of the Swordsmen and Sorcerers' Guild of America (SAGA), a loose-knit group of heroic fantasy authors founded in the 1960s and led by Lin Carter. The eight original members were self-selected by fantasy credentials alone. They sought to promote the popularity and respectability of the "Sword and Sorcery" subgenre (such as Brak the Barbarian stories by Jakes).

Jakes gained widespread popularity with the publication of his Kent Family Chronicles, which became a bestselling American Bicentennial Series of books in the mid to late 1970s, selling 55 million copies. He has since published several more popular works of historical fiction, most dealing with American history, including the North and South trilogy about the U.S. Civil War, which sold 10 million copies and was adapted as an ABC-TV miniseries.


Jakes lives in Florida with his wife, Rachel, to whom he has been married since 1951. They have four grown children: Andrea, Ellen, J. Michael, and Victoria.


Mainstream novels

The Kent Family Chronicles

  • The Bastard (1974) (Film adaptation: The Bastard)
  • The Rebels (1975) (Film adaptation: The Rebels)
  • The Seekers (1975) (Film adaptation: The Seekers)
  • The Furies (1976)
  • The Titans (1976)
  • The Warriors (1977)
  • The Lawless (1978)
  • The Americans (1979)

The North and South trilogy

  • North and South (1982)
  • Love and War (1984)
  • Heaven and Hell (1987)

The Crown Family Saga

  • Homeland (1993)
  • American Dreams (1998)


  • A Night For Treason (1956)
  • Wear A Fast Gun (1956)
  • The Devil Has Four Faces (1958)
  • The Seventh Man (1958)
  • I, Barbarian (1959) (as Jay Scotland)
  • Johnny Havoc (1960)
  • Sir Scoundrel (1962) (as Jay Scotland)
  • Veils of Salome (1962)
  • Arena (1963) (as Jay Scotland)
  • Making It Big aka Johnny Havoc and the Siren in Red (1968)
  • California Gold (1989)
  • In The Big Country (1993), later reissued as The Bold Frontier (2001)
  • On Secret Service (2000)
  • Charleston (2002)
  • Savannah or a Gift for Mr. Lincoln (2004)
  • Funeral for Tanner Moody (with Elmer Kelton, Robert Randish) (2004)
  • The Gods of Newport (2006)

Science fiction and fantasy

The first Brak story, "Devils in the Walls", was originally published in Fantastic Stories in 1962. It was collected in The Fortunes of Brak

Brak the Barbarian

  • Brak the Barbarian (1968)
  • Brak the Barbarian Versus the Sorceress (also published as "Witch of the Four Winds"(1969)
  • Brak the Barbarian Versus the Mark of the Demons (1969)
  • When the Idols Walked (1978) ISBN 0-671-81373-0
  • The Fortunes of Brak (1980)
  • Brak the Barbarian / Mark of the Demons (omnibus) (2012)
  • Witch of the Four Winds / When the Idols Walked (omnibus) (2012)

Dark Gate

  • Master of the Dark Gate (1970)
  • Witch of the Dark Gate (1972)


  • When The Star Kings Die (1967)
  • The Planet Wizard (1969)
  • Tonight We Steal the Stars (1969)

Planet of the Apes

  • Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972)

Other novels

  • Secrets Of Stardeep (1969)
  • The Hybrid (1969)
  • The Last Magicians (1969)
  • The Asylum World (1969)
  • Mask of Chaos (1970)
  • Monte Cristo #99 (1970)
  • Six-Gun Planet (1970)
  • Black in Time (1970)
  • Time Gate (1972)
  • Mention My Name in Atlantis (1972)
  • On Wheels (1973)
  • Excalibur (1980) with Gil Kane


  • The Best of John Jakes (1977)

Children's books

  • Susanna of the Alamo (1986)


  • Famous Firsts in Sports (1967)
  • Great War Correspondents (1967))
  • Great Women Reporters (1969)
  • Mohawk: The Life Of Joseph Brant (1969)


The Bastard was adapted as a television miniseries by Universal Pictures Television as the first offering of the highly successful syndicated package, Operation Prime Time (1978). It was followed by "The Rebels" (1979) and "The Seekers" (1979). The North and South trilogy was made into three miniseries on ABC in the 1980s and 1990s.

The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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