Barbara Mertz was born on September 29, 1927 in Astoria, Illinois. She received a bachelor's degree in 1947, a master's degree in 1950 and doctorate in Egyptology in 1952 from the University of Chicago. She wrote a few books using her real name including Temples, Tombs and Hieroglyphs (1964), Red Land, Black Land (1966), and Two Thousand Years in Rome (1968). She also wrote under the pen names Barbara Michaels and Elizabeth Peters. She made her fiction debut, The Master of Blacktower, under the name Barbara Michaels in 1966. She wrote over two dozen novels using this pen name including Sons of the Wolf, Someone in the House, Vanish with the Rose, Dancing Floor, and Other Worlds. Her debut novel under the pen name Elizabeth Peters was The Jackal's Head in 1968. She also wrote the Amelia Peabody series and Vicky Bliss Mystery series using this name. She died on August 8, 2013 at the age of 85.