Alfred Leo Duggan (DEW-guhn) was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1903. His father was British; his maternal grandmother had been born in Argentina of British parents, and his maternal grandfather was an American who had been appointed consul general at Rio de Janeiro. At the age of two, Duggan was taken to England, where he spent the rest of his life. He was educated at Eton and at Balliol College, Oxford; subsequently he worked for the British Natural History Museum. In his assignment as collector of specimens he crossed the Atlantic in a sailing vessel, the barkentine St. George, his itinerary including Madeira, Trinidad, Panama, and the Galápagos Islands. He later did archaeological field work in Turkey and Greece, studying remains of the Byzantine Empire, where he was to set several of his fictions; in 1935, under the auspices of the University of St. Andrews, Scotland, he assisted in the excavation of Constantine’s palace at Istanbul. Duggan joined the London Irish Rifles in 1938, later saw active service in Norway, and received a medical discharge in 1941. He worked in an aircraft factory during the remaining years of World War II, and in 1946 he wrote his first historical novel, Knight with Armour, published four years later. It was an immediate success, and Duggan wrote steadily after its appearance; he achieved a production rate of slightly over one book per year.
Duggan could re-create historical times and occurrences in...
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