Allan Massie is the author of twenty novels and a dozen non-fiction books. His six novels about the Roman Empire have been widely translated, and have been particularly successful in Brazil. Gore Vidal has defined him as a “master of the long-ago historical novel”. His twentieth century novels have been compared by French critics to Balzac and Stendhal, by Muriel Spark to Thomas Mann, and by others to Evelyn Waugh. He thinks such comparisons as pleasing as they are ridiculously exaggerated. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, and has been given an honorary doctorate by Strathclyde University.