John Gordon Davis was born in Southern Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, and educated in South Africa. He earned a BA in Political Science, paying his way through university by working as a deckhand on British merchant ships and on the Dutch whaling fleet at the Antarctic. He went on to take an LL.B. degree. Called to the Bar, he was appointed public prosecutor during the troubled years leading up to Rhodesia’s Unilateral Declaration of Independence, before becoming Crown Counsel in Hong Kong.
Gordon Davis writes the kind of books which have earned him the title of ‘popular novelist’, a. phrase often used as a sneer. Cheerfully rolling yet another skinny cigarette, he says: ‘I don’t mind that. I want to be a popular novelist. By instinct, I’m a “cause” writer — whether it’s whales, zoos or South Africa — I would like to send a message or enlighten people. But I have to be cautious; most people want to read a yarn. I’m in the entertainment business, and that involves telling a good tale.’
He quit this post to become a full-time writer when his first book, Hold My Hand I’m Dying became an instant best-seller.
Other successful novels followed.