Thomas North
Fictional Character
1632 series
POD: May, 1631
Appearance(s): Grantville Gazette II
1635: The Papal Stakes
Ring of Fire IV
Nationality: England
Religion: Anglicanism
Date of Birth: June 1600
Occupation: Mercenary
Affiliations: Albernian Mercenary Company

Thomas North was an English mercenary. During the Thirty Years' War, he co-owned the Albernian Mercenary Company with long-time associate, Irishman Liam Donovan. Their primary clients were New United States and the United States of Europe.

North came from a minor noble family and was the third son of the baron of Kirtling. Being the third son, Thomas North was initially educated for the priesthood. However, North built a negative reputation for himself and wasn't elevated to holy orders. With that, his father banished him from his home and North took up employment as a mercenary.

North first met Liam Donovan in Amsterdam ten years prior to the Thirty Years' War. Both were hired by the Netherlands to fight its war against Spain. Despite their cultural rivalry/animosity, Donovan and North became friends after they realized that they shared one common interest: money.

North and Donovan went through different mercenary companies through the years and found themselves in the Clancy mercenary company, which was loosely tied with Count Tilly, when the Thirty Years' War broke out.

When news that the American town Grantville had appeared in Germany, North and Donovan were intrigued by the tales of wealth and technology. The two decided to offer their services to the Americans in the form of the Albernian Mercenary Company. Once they reached an agreement with the New United States, the two enjoyed the time-displaced town, especially the libraries. After the Croat raid in late 1632, North and Donovan were instilled with a sort of patriotism for the New United States, but that was partly based on a wish to preserve the libraries intact.

North and Donovan's services were used primarily to defend courier runs and supply trains between Grantville and other towns from highwaymen and bandits. After a a card game that led to a "friendly" bar brawl with Donovan, in which North ultimately knocked him out after being enraged at having an incisor punched out by his friend, especially since it had been was implanted by dentist Henry Sims at a high price. Later that night, North met Harry Lefferts along with Indian interpreter Salim, who recruited them to rescue a diplomatic party from the Mughal Empire that had been heading to Grantville but was under house arrest in Habsburg Austria. North and Donovan agreed, and led their company to Innsbruck under the auspices of Lieutenant Lawrence Quinn. During their journey they encountered another mercenary company under the employ of the Habsburgs and commanded by North and Donovan's "friend" Captain Steiner. Being outnumbered by Steiner's army, North and Donovan tricked Steiner into carrying an explosive which killed him and a great number of his troops, and caused the majority of the surviving enemy to retreat. In the aftermath, North and his allies came to Steiner's camp followers and discovered to their horror that a terrified and pious mercenary saw them as demons, and had killed a number of women to keep them from being tainted by the "minions of Satan". North found the man and decapitated him. Only a female camp follower, who appeared Spanish, was left alive. She was brought along with the Albernian company by Donovan, over North's protests.

After two days of traveling, the company arrived in Innsbruck. North was confronted by a clearly and understandably upset Mughal delegate Subadar Baram Khan. Khan showed North a book entitled India Britannica[n 1], which displayed British Colonial India. With help from Salim, North told Khan that what happened between England and India happened "long ago and far away" in another universe and assured him that it could be prevented in this universe, but did not make any noticeable impact. After this, North had everyone in the caravan move out and abandon their belongings, as a Habsburg army was closing on their position. At the Inn River, North and Salim stayed behind to blow a bridge over it, hoping to delay pursuit and kill as many enemies as they could. In the process, North was lost in action, and was presumed dead.

In December, North returned to the Company's base. A few weeks earlier, he had been in Grantville just long enough to obtain arsenic, which he used to poison Baram Khan before he could return to India hardened against the English and Americans. While North had been away, a letter from his father, asking him to return to England, had arrived. North intended to return, and told Donovan he could keep the company and even change its name. However, Donovan knocked North out, and had him arrested on a drunk-and-disorderly charge related to their earlier bar fight, and North was jailed for six months.


  1. This is a book by Geoffrey Moorhouse, first published in 1983, and has no connection with the Encyclopedia Britannica.