Ariana Franklin was born in Devon and, like her father, became a journalist. Having invaded Wales dressed in combat uniform with the Royal Marines for one of their military exercises, accompanied the Queen on a royal visit, missed her own twenty-first birthday party because she had to cover a murder, she married, almost inevitably, another journalist. She then abandoned her career in national newspapers and settled down in the country to bring up two daughters, study medieval history and write. Ariana was the author of the acclaimed, award-winning Mistress of the Art of Death series. She passed away in 2011, before she was able to deliver the manuscript for Winter Siege. Her daughter, Samantha, decided to complete the novel on her mother's behalf. Samantha Norman is a journalist and broadcaster who is mad about horses. She lives in west London with her two sons Harry and Charlie, and their dogs Becks and Spider.