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Mary Renault

Mary Renault (1905-1983) was a British novelist whose works are still popular with devotees of the historical novel.

She was born in London, real name Mary Challans, and educated at St Hugh's College, Oxford, then an all-women's college. She trained as a nurse, but by 1939 she was a published novelist, though she drew on her career experience in her books. Her early writing dealt with contemporary subjects, mostly using a wartime setting, but during the 1950s she embarked on a series of books set in ancient Greece, including a trilogy about the career of Alexander the Great: Fire from Heaven (1970), The Persian Boy (1972) and Funeral Games (1981). Later in life she lived in South Africa.

Other Novels

The King Must Die and The Bull from the Sea have been adapted as an 11-part BBC Radio 4 serial entitled The King Must Die.