Tom Holt is a British author whose works can be described as comic urban fantasy mixed with {{Fractured Fairy Tale}}s. Most of his books are standalone, but he has a short series centering around ''Literature/JWWellsAndCo'' (named after the sorcerer in the Creator/GilbertAndSullivan musical ''Theatre/TheSorcerer'').

Holt's male protagonists are nearly all nerds with little social sense, and his female characters tend to be rock-hard, super-competent steamrollers (though they do tend be less competent if they are the actual protagonist rather than the love interest or other supporting character.) Holt's works often deal with the theme of love, though he's very cynical about it and often protrays it as an annoyance or even a disease (either because the subject knows he'll never get anywhere with his crushes, or because she's so desirable she's no longer interested).

Many of his works [[{{Deconstruction}} deconstruct]] mythology from various cultures, or shove them into a modern setting and let them rip. He has several crossover characters, such as conspiracy theorist/reporter Danny Bennett and monster hunter Kurt Lundqvist.

His writing style is fast and entertaining, and is peppered with plays on cliches and idioms, often taking an idea in a common set of words and turning them UpToEleven. His plots are heavily powered by the RuleOfFunny and sometimes end in a jumble full of {{Plot Hole}}s - but ''funny'' {{Plot Hole}}s.

Holt has also written several historical novels (as Thomas Holt), and two sequels to E. F. Benson's ''Mapp and Lucia'' series.
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!! Works with a page on this wiki:
* ''Literature/ExpectingSomeoneTaller'' (1987)
* ''Literature/WhosAfraidOfBeowulf'' (1988)
* ''Literature/FlyingDutch'' (1991)
* ''Literature/YeGods'' (1992)
* ''Literature/{{Grailblazers}}'' (1994)
* ''Literature/DjinnRummy'' (1995)
* ''Literature/FallingSideways'' (2002)
* The ''Literature/JWWellsAndCo'' Series:
** ''The Portable Door'' (2003)
** ''In Your Dreams'' (2004)
** ''Earth, Air, Fire, and Custard'' (2005)
** ''You Don't Have to Be Evil to Work Here, But It Helps'' (2006)
** ''The Better Mousetrap'' (2008)
** ''May Contain Traces of Magic'' (2009)
** ''Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Sausages'' (2011)

!! Other works:
* ''Overtime'' (1993)
* ''Here Comes the Sun'' (1993)
* ''Faust Among Equals'' (1994)
* ''Odds & Gods'' (1995)
* ''My Hero'' (1996)
* ''Paint Your Dragon'' (1996)
* ''Open Sesame'' (1997)
* ''Wish You Were Here'' (1998)
* ''Only Human'' (1999)
* ''Snow White and the Seven Samurai'' (1999)
* ''Valhalla'' (2000)
* ''Nothing But Blue Skies'' (2001)
* ''Little People'' (2002)
* ''Someone Like Me'' (2006)
* ''Barking'' (2007)
* ''Blonde Bombshell'' (2010)
* ''Doughnut'' (2013)
* ''When It's A Jar'' (2013)
* ''The Outsorcerer's Apprentice'' (2014)

!!!Historical novels:
* ''The Walled Orchard'' (1997)
* ''Alexander At The World's End'' (1999)
* ''Olympiad'' (2000)
* ''Song for Nero'' (2003)
* ''Meadowland'' (2005)

!!!Mapp and Lucia:
* ''Lucia in Wartime'' (1985)
* ''Lucia Triumphant'' (1986)
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!!This author's works include examples of:

* ActionSurvivor: Pretty much every one of his heroes.
* AgentMulder: Danny Bennett, from his early works, a BBC journalist with a wide range of conspiracy theories, all tying to the ultimate power behind world history: The [[MilkmanConspiracy British Milk Marketing Board]]. Although he is slightly vindicated when he gets caught up with Montalban and the Lombard Bank in ''Flying Dutch''
* AmbulanceChaser: the werewolf lawyers in ''Barking'', quite literally.
* AuthorCatchphrase: "X appeared like a Romulan decloaking", in several novels.
* BlackAndGrayMorality: ''Paint Your Dragon'' does this to the story of Saint George and the Dragon. Both are absolute assholes, but the dragon seems a little more sympathetic...although considering he at one point annihilates an entire (occupied) theatre in an attempt to deal with George, this is more a statement on how unlikeable St. George is than anything else. [[spoiler:The dragon's status as the Least Evilâ„¢ character is cemented at the end, when the two end up switching forms and George's first action as a dragon is to kill the entire audience for their deathmatch in order to ensure that nobody with a rocket launcher is lurking in the stands).]]
* CelestialBureaucracy: ''Here Comes The Sun'' is entirely based on this trope. For example, a complaints form consists of a pure, 24-carat gold slab several acres in area, which is filled with so much bureaucratic crap that the actual complaint needs to be chiseled in microscopic writing in a millimetre-wide spot.
* ClapYourHandsIfYouBelieve: spoofed in ''Open Sesame''; a fairy provides medical care by shouting "[[FaeriesDontBelieveInHumansEither I do believe in humans]]!" And again in ''Paint Your Dragon'':
-->There's an urban folk-myth that every time a human says he doesn't believe in dragons, a dragon dies. This is unlikely, because if it were true, we'd spend half our lives shovelling thirty-foot corpses out of the highways with dumper trucks and the smell would be intolerable.
-->There's an old saying among dragons that every time a human says he doesn't believe in dragons, a human dies, and serve the cheeky bugger right.
* ConspiracyTheorist: Recurring character (or possibly multiple characters with the same name) Danny Bennett is convinced that the Milk Marketing Board is somehow connected to the assassination of JFK.
* ConvenienceStoreGiftShopping: ''Grailblazers'' reveals that SantaClaus is really one of the Wise Men who gave gifts to the infant Jesus, doing community service as punishment for the fact that (unlike his colleagues, who planned ahead and brought gold, frankincense and myrrh) he left it until the last minute and couldn't come up with anything better than a pair of socks.
* CrapsackWorld: In ''Ye Gods!'', Prometheus gives Jason Derry a view of a world without him in order to show why it's so important he sides with him against the JerkassGods. In this world there's no such thing as a joke, everyone lives in fear of the gods all the time, and [[DeadlyGame game shows are deadly]]. Jason's reaction is "''I'' wouldn't want to live there, but I wouldn't want to live in Florida and plenty of people do."
* {{Deconstruction}}: Phaedra in ''The Walled Garden'' is a bit of a deconstruction of the usual Holt heroine (see description in the main paragraph) as her temper and shrewishness is portrayed as about as bearable as you might expect in real life - though she does get better. Holt also allows her to be flat out wrong on some subjects (she's a FlatEarthAtheist for instance.)
* DeliveryStork: Spoofed in ''Open Sesame'', in which a fairyland "family planning" division works by shooting storks out of the air while they're delivering.
* DemocracyIsBad: ''A Song For Nero'' features an allegorical aside in which a city-state tries to create the "perfect" system of government, by combining the best features of Athenian democracy (everyone gets a say) and oligarchy (rule by an elite). One suggestion is essentially modern democracy (you vote for the leaders, and then they're in total control for a certain period), which is derided as combining the ''worst'' elements of both. (Namely, that oligarchic elites spend all their time fighting each other for status, and leaders who are reliant on the will of the people give them what they want, not what they need.)
* DiabolusExMachina: A particularly cruel one in ''Little People'', leading to a DownerEnding.
* DownerEnding: In ''Little People'', due to a DiabolusExMachina.
* ExternalRetcon: In ''Paint Your Dragon'', it is revealed that St. George was actually a cheating, murderous bastard, and the dragon was, well, not exactly the good guy, but certainly a much more sympathetic and stand-up fellow than George.
* FantasticRacism: Absolutely slaughtered in ''Someone Like Me''. Humans and monsters in a post-apocalyptic Earth have been fighting and killing each other because each sees the other as evil. Told entirely from the human point of view, the novel ends [[spoiler:when the protagonist finds that one of the monsters knows how to talk, and is just as human as he is. However, ''he kills it anyway'', because he'd been killing them for so long he wouldn't be able to face thinking of them as people]].
* FantasyKitchenSink: The same character, Lin Kortright, appears in both a book devoted to a DarkerAndEdgier Valhalla and one dedicated to a [[BlackAndGrayMorality revisionist]] St. George and the Dragon.
* FearlessFool: Jason in ''Literature/YeGods!''
* FurAgainstFang: Vampires and werewolves just don't get along with each other in ''Barking''. However, out-and-out war has been replaced by competition between law firms.
* GodIsInept: ''HereComesTheSun'' features a CelestialBureaucracy and a very hands-off God, and says that the world went wrong very early on due to the incompetence of one of the bureaucracy's employees. The heroine thinks she could have done better, and gets a chance to prove it.
* HeelFaceTurn: A meta example: Supernatural bounty hunter Kurt Lundquist goes from being the antagonist in ''Faust Among Equals'' to an ally for the protagonists in ''Odds and Gods'' and ''Paint Your Dragon''.
* HistoricalDomainCharacter: You'll never think about {{Aristophanes}} the same way again...
* HumanityEnsues: In ''Snow White and the Seven Samurai'', the big bad wolf is turned into a handsome prince (by way of a frog), and isn't very happy about it.
* InterspeciesRomance:
** In ''Nothing But Blue Skies'', the protagonist is a female dragon disguised as a human, who develops a crush on a young human man.
** ''Djinn Rummy'' feature a genie who ''very reluctantly'' finds himself falling for a human.
** There have also been human/elf, human/god and weirder.
* JerkassGenie: Some of the genies in ''Djinn Rummy'' positively delight in deliberately misinterpreting mortals' wishes.
* JerkassGods: Loads of them, but Odin in ''Valhalla'' is arguably the worst. Occasionally inverted; for example, God in ''Faust Among Equals'' is the nicest character in the book, and ''Odds And Gods'' is an example where Gods face off against Jerkass ''Humans''.
* LiteralGenie:
** In ''Djinn Rummy'': when the genies get together of an evening at their local pub, they like to reminisce about the mortals they've tricked this way (or, at least, some of them do).
** In ''Wish You Were Here'', jumping in Lake Okeewana is ''supposed'' to grant your heart's desire--but the spirit of the lake is good at creative interpretations.
* LondonEnglandSyndrome: In ''Here Comes The Sun'', a trainee [[PaintingTheFrostOnWindows weather spirit]] manages to get the Nile to flood Memphis, Tennessee.
* MagicalUnderpinningsOfReality: ''Here Comes The Sun'' is about a group of grumpy and [[CelestialBureaucracy bureaucratic]] beings responsible for ensuring the sun rises and the Nile delta floods and so on.
* MagicVersusScience: ''Open Sesame'' has some bizarre hybrid of several versions in the main plot and/or backstory. Magic and science exist in two different worlds--RealLife and Fantasyland--but that's mainly because science and reason have apparently been rooting out the fantasy problems for two millennia of brutal struggles, and using a wish from the Fairy Godfather functions much like smuggling a rabid dog across the English Channel.
* {{Magitek}}: Several of his books have examples, such as the magic mirror that runs ''Mirrors '95'' in ''Snow White And The Seven Samauri'' or the various devices in the ''Portable Door'' series.
* MayflyDecemberRomance: A common trope in his works, what with all the gods, immortal spirits, shapeshifting dragons, and whatnots, who often end up romantically entwined with mortals, willingly or otherwise.
* {{Metaphorgotten}}: Holt regularly includes some kind of brutal disjunction of "omelettes and eggs". Did you know that it ''is'' possible to make omelettes without shredding chickens, but it doesn't make as good television?
* MilkmanConspiracy: A literal milkman conspiracy as imagined by Danny Bennett, a journalist hellbent on proving that the real power behind world governments lies with... the Milk Marketing Board.
* MostWritersAreWriters: ''My Hero!'' features two writers; the protagonist is a writer of ThudAndBlunder adventure stories, and the second is a mysteriously-vanished western writer who has gotten TrappedInTVLand, and needs the help of the first to escape from the story.
* AMythologyIsTrue: which one depends on the novel
* NegativeContinuity: The increasingly paranoid presence of Danny Bennet suggests that most of the early comic fantasy is set in the same universe. But ''Who's Afraid of Beowulf?'' and ''Flying Dutch'' have entirely separate immortals as the inventor of computers, and there seem to be at least two incompatible Odins.
* OurDragonsAreDifferent: ''Nothing But Blue Skies'' is an AffectionateParody of Eastern dragons and the associated mythology, with an emphasis on a) their powers of weather control and b) their ability to [[VoluntaryShapeshifting take human (and other) forms]]. The reason the British summer is usually canceled due to rain is that the main character is a dragon in human form, and doesn't have full control in that form. So it rains whenever she's annoyed. Which happens a lot. The plot concerns another dragon [[ShapeshifterModeLock trapped in the form of a goldfish]]; [[CoversAlwaysLie the cover, naturally]], shows a Western dragon crammed into a fishbowl.
* OurGeniesAreDifferent: In ''Djinn Rummy'', the genies are transdimensional beings (which is how they can fit into those bottles), and like to hang out together in their spare time and get drunk. On milk.
* OurWerewolvesAreDifferent: In ''Barking'', theriomorphy is transmitted in the classic style, and werewolves gain nigh-invulnerability in both human and wolf forms, including a massively extended lifespan, and most of the werewolf characters work for the same law firm, Ferris and Loop (a MeaningfulName, referencing "Fenris" and "Lupine"). [[FurAgainstFang They are of course rivals of the vampire firm Crosswoods]].
* PantheonSitcom:
** ''Odds and Gods'' has gods from multiple pantheons, mostly all living in a retirement home, and still all squabbling.
** ''Ye Gods!'' is even more blatant; the millenia of being stuck together has given the Greek gods a big honking case of cabin fever and pretty much all they do is argue all day.
* PercussiveMaintenance: In ''Odds and Gods'', Thor managed to get a flying engine to work again merely by ''threatening'' to hit it with a hammer, which shows that even non-sentient machines know when to stop mucking about.
* PerspectiveFlip: ''Paint Your Dragon'' takes the general idea of 'St George vs the Dragon', and makes the point that (despite being part of the official 'Good' side) George is pretty much an evil, despicable man who likes to kill things.
* PopularSayingBut: All over the place.
* PublicDomainArtifact: Spoofed in ''Grailblazers'', where the Grail is a bowl that was used at the Last Supper, which was miraculously transformed into Tupperware.
* RealWorldEpisode: In ''My Hero'', fictional characters [[AnimatedActors clock out between chapters and negotiate with their agents for choice heroic roles]], all the while [[NoFourthWall actively bitching out their authors for shoddy plotting]]. Much of the book revolves around the misadventures of characters pulled into the real world, but since this vision of the real world is one in which mad Yorkshiremen build cricketers from body parts and a literary agent turns out to be planning the End of the World, the "this is reality" effect is rather diluted.
* RuleOfFunny: his writing thrives on this.
* ShaggySearchTechnique: Happens to Hamlet in ''My Hero'', during a sequence that's ''supposed'' to be demonstrating that the TheoryOfNarrativeCausality no longer applies but keeps getting undermined by the fact that (this being a Tom Holt novel) the RuleOfFunny is still in full effect.
* ShoutOut: ''Only Human'' features something of a Creator/TerryPratchett ShoutOut, in which a man sentenced to IronicHell for complaining to authors that their new stuff wasn't as good as their old stuff...was forced to read the same book over and over again for the rest of eternity. His final line was that he'd just gotten up to the part where "[[Discworld/TheColourOfMagic the tourist has just met the wizard]]".
* SignatureStyle: Holt has incredible fun with metaphors, cliches and truisms; if the book is full of metaphors taken to extremes, it's probably him. He also tends to feature mopey, nerdy males and rock-hard, super-efficient females. His stories also have an extremely cynical view of love, which is often portrayed as more of a nuisance or a disease than anything actually ''good''.
* ThisBearWasFramed: Inverted in the short story "Never Forget". During the Punic Wars, [[AssholeVictim a highly unpopular Roman officer]] is found with his skull smashed in, and his personal and business enemies are heavily investigated. The investigator, being TheMole, accuses the general's most competent advisor. The actual killer, of course, is a captured elephant that was wounded by the victim in battle.
* TheThreeWiseMen: ''Grailblazers'' reveals that Santa Claus was one of the Wise Men, doing community service to expiate the sin of ConvenienceStoreGiftShopping for the Messiah; unlike his colleagues who planned ahead, he left things until the last minute and couldn't come up with anything better than a pair of socks.
* ThrowTheDogABone: Holt's main characters tend to spend 99% of the book being attacked, manipulated, arrested, sued, sold, killed, brought back, hurled across the universe, turned into werewolves, killed again and vivisected. In most cases, at the end, they are duly given vast amounts of money, handed a significant area of land somewhere on the other side of the planet, and the Dark Forces of Weirdness kindly butt out of his relationship with the LoveInterest. (This doesn't happen in every book, but it does seem to turn out this way more often than not).
* TimePolice: The Time Wardens in ''Overtime''.
* TimeTravelForFunAndProfit: In ''Overtime'', one firm guarantees investors a profit by sending their money back in time to invest in ''the Crusades!'' (It's complicated.)
* TrappedInTVLand: In ''My Hero'', it's revealed that when a novel is written, a number of "actors" are hired from among the teeming population of characters and have to act it out. The actual plot is driven by a Western writer ending up trapped into his own novel, and then managing to get a message to an indifferently talented boilerplate fantasy author asking her to send the hero of her novels in to find him. The net result goes through everything from ''Literature/PrideAndPrejudice'' to ''Theatre/AMidsummerNightsDream'' to ''Literature/SherlockHolmes'', in much the same way that a wrecking ball goes through a brick wall. Of note, it's revealed that in-universe, there's a number of openings linking reality and fiction, including ''Literature/AliceInWonderland'' and - due to its massive collection of fiction - the basement of the Library of Congress, a hole which permits the fantasy author to get an autograph from [[Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries Captain Kirk]].
* TheUnfavorite: several; this is common for his protagonists, who are often the least interesting or respected person in their family.
* {{Unicorn}}: In ''Grailblazers'', the heroes at one point have to find a unicorn in order to use it as bait to capture a virgin. It turns out that modern unicorns are scruffy and unpleasant feral critters.
* UnreliableExpositor: Practically every book has at least one of these, often several, outrageously contradicting each other.
* VoluntaryShapeshifting: The Eastern-style Dragons in ''Nothing But Blue Skies'' can shapeshift to become human, or, um, goldfish.
* WarGod: Mars appears in ''Ye Gods!'' Notable in that, since he is still expected to ride in the front of battle in bronze armour, regardless of technological advances, and since "the best definition of an immortal is someone who hasn't died ''yet''", the device on his shield is now a CND logo.
* WeirdnessMagnet: A great deal of his characters.
* WhatYouAreInTheDark: In ''Ye Gods!'', when Jason meets the old woman, she insists on their going through the whole spiel. When he says no one would know if they didn't, she says, "I will."
* WoundedGazelleGambit: One of Holt's near-interchangeable protagonists at one point remembers how, when left to play with a young cousin, the little rodent would at the first hint of boredom burst into tears and run out crying "Mummy, he hit me!" Since most of Tom Holt's protagonists are {{Butt Monkey}}s and/or [[TheChewToy Chew Toys]], this is pretty much standard.
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