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Nicholas Rankin was born in 1950. He grew up in Kenya Colony, was educated in England, and spent his 20s in South America and Spain. His first book, Dead Man’s Chest, following Robert Louis Stevenson around the world, helped get him a job at BBC World Service, where he made radio programmes for over 20 years and ended up Chief Producer. One of those programmes, Gernika/Guernica, about the 1937 Nazi aerial bombing of the Basque town and Picasso’s famous painting in response, led to his second book, a biography of the war-correspondent George L. Steer, which was then followed by three more war-books – Churchill’s Wizards, Ian Fleming’s Commandos and Defending the Rock. He is married to the novelist Maggie Gee and is father to the novelist Rosa Rankin-Gee.