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I was born in London, and grew up there and in a village on Chichester harbour in Sussex. I went to school in London and then read Modern Languages at St Edmund Hall, Oxford. My first job was with a firm of stockbrokers, but that lasted only about six months until they decided that the market slump of early 1974 was so severe that they had no alternative but to cull all their graduate trainees; it was a harsh introduction to the professional world. After that, I flitted around a bit, eventually getting involved in trading commodity futures on the London Metal Exchange, which is what became my business career. It was a fun market to be part of - I got to travel all over the place, from deep mines in Poland, to gulag cities in Siberia, alluvial dredge mines in Malaysia, smelters in the Arabian Gulf as well as all the obvious financial centres, like New York, Tokyo, Taipei, Seoul and pretty much anywhere else where there is a metal mining company or, in the last ten years, a hedge fund. I also worked in Hamburg for a while and along the way I took an MBA at the City University Business School.

Those experiences form the backdrop to my books; what I enjoy writing about is the blurred bit where fact and fiction meet, the 'what-might-have-been'. So I take real events and weave a fictional story around them, populated by both real (although anonymous) and fictional characters. The financial world offers almost endless stories of corruption and skulduggery to work with.

Away from work, I enjoy sailing my boat around the Solent and western Channel, we ski every year and I am a relatively recent convert to game shooting.

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