Born and raised in Canada, Ross King has lived in England since 1992. His writing career began in 1995 with the publication of a historical novel, Domino, about the world of masquerades and opera in 18th-century London. Its successor Ex-Libris, was a novel about bookselling, codes and spies in 17th-century Europe.King is best known to American readers as the author of the nonfiction Brunelleschi’s Dome: How a Renaissance Genius Reinvented Architecture. The seed of the book was planted when King read a brief account of the building of Brunelleschi’s dome in Giorgio Vasari’s 16th-century Lives of the Artists. That, and a trip to Florence, piqued his interest in learning more about the dome. When he couldn’t find a book that told him what he wanted to know, he decided to write it. The book was an instant hit in the U.S.: a 2001 Book Sense Nonfiction Book of the Year and a New York Times bestseller.His most recent book is Michelangelo & the Pope’s Ceiling, a nonfiction book that Ross describes as a companion piece to Brunelleschi’s Dome: “In the same way that Brunelleschi’s Dome is about Brunelleschi, but also about Florence at that time,” King says, “Michelangelo & the Pope’s Ceiling is about Rome in the years 1508 to 1512—sort of an artisan’s-eye view of the Renaissance.” Once again it was Vasari who provided the starting-point: “While I discovered that much of what Vasari wrote about Brunelleschi was true, the same can’t exactly be said for his account of Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel. What I wanted to do, therefore, was look through the legend to get a more accurate idea of the process of painting the fresco, and in doing so to bring a number of other characters, such as his assistants, into the picture. Michelangelo’s achievement is no less stunning, and the story is, I think, actually more interesting.”Anyone familiar with Ross King’s writing knows that he has an impressive knowledge of European cultural history. He originally planned a career in academia, earning his Ph.D. in English Literature and moving to England to assume a research position at the University of London. King lives near Oxford, England, in the historic town of Woodstock, the site of Blenheim Palace.