La Jolla Author Thomas Sanger Pens Historical Novel Without Warning Based on German Torpedoing of British Passenger Ship Athenia at Start of WWII

La Jolla Author Thomas Sanger Pens Historical Novel Without Warning Based on German Torpedoing of British Passenger Ship Athenia at Start of WWII
Sanger's book inspired by grandmother's survival of the ship's sinking

Press Release ( - LA JOLLA, Calif. - Aug 14, 2017 - Thomas Sanger has captured the stories of others all his life. The La Jolla journalist and writer is taking on a story much closer to his heart with the publication of his book Without Warning, a historical novel based on the German sinking of the British passenger ship Athenia, at the start of World War II. Sanger’s grandmother was aboard the Athenia, September 3, 1939, returning to America and survived the torpedo attack.

“My grandmother Rhoda Thomas’ personal account inspired me to write the book,” Sanger said. “She captured her experience in a journal, written 70 years ago, which I discovered and read. My intent is to honor the sacrifice and heroism displayed by the men, women, and children aboard the Athenia on that fateful day.”

The Athenia sailed from Glasgow, Sept. 1, 1939, only a few hours after the German Army marched into Poland. The ship picked up passengers in Belfast and Liverpool before finally heading to Montreal, Canada, with more than 1,400 passenger and crew aboard.

Researching the book, Sanger interviewed several Athenia survivors, some of whom are the book’s main characters.

“I chose to write the book as historical fiction, because I wanted to explore the emotions of the characters and involve readers on a more personal level with the story,” Sanger said. “All the principal characters are actual people and the actions they took evacuating the ship and being rescued are based on historical accounts. Their conversations, thoughts and a few of the secondary characters are all my invention, designed to serve the story’s dramatic arc.”

Sanger will present the story of the Athenia and sign copies of Without Warning at a free public event, Sunday, Sept. 10, in the community room of the La Jolla Riford Library at 2 p.m.

“Very few people today know anything about Athenia’s story,” Sanger said. “I hope my novel can help create greater public awareness of this tragic event.”

Without Warning is available in print and e-book format at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and wherever books are sold. For more information about Without Warning and the author Thomas Sanger go to

About Thomas Sanger
Sanger, a native of Los Angeles, worked for the Associated Press and radio station KABC in his home town, as well as wrote documentary scripts for the Australian Broadcasting Corp. in Sydney, Australia. He also enjoyed a 24-year career in public relations in Southern California. Sanger lives in San Diego with his wife, Kay. Without Warning is Sanger’s third book, but his first work of fiction.

Source : Thomas Sanger, author


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