Thomas Gifford was the New York Times bestselling author of The Assassini, Praetorian, The Wind Chill Factor, and The First Sacrifice. The Wind Chill Factor won Putnam's prize for best first novel. Gifford also wrote under the names Thomas Maxwell and Dana Clarins. He was a graduate of Harvard University. Gifford died in his birthplace of Dubuque, Iowa, in 2000.