Sun Tzu was born around 544 B.C. Almost nothing is known about his life except that he was a Chinese military general who helped the King Ho-lu capture the city of Ying, bringing about the fall of the Ch'u state in 506 B.C.E. From this, Sun Tzu became known throughout the country as a wise and respected leader. Sun Tzu is best known today for a collection of essays called The Art of War, the oldest military treatise in the world. The text became known through translations by Father J. J. M. Amiot, a French Jesuit priest. The principles in the book are varied and include: "All warfare is based on deception," "The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting," and "The art of war is governed by five constant factors (1) The Moral Law; (2) Heaven; (3) Earth; (4) The Commander; (5) Method and discipline)". Sun Tzu is believed to have died in 496 B.C.E.
Caleb Carr, a lifetime resident of New York, was born in 1955 and grew up on the Lower East Side. His father was an editor and close friend to famous Beat Generation writers, such as Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg. Although Carr was personally exposed to their style of writing and Bohemian lifestyles, he chose to take his own work in a different direction. Where the Beat writers wrote purely from expression and feelings, Caleb Carr's works are diligently researched and known for their historical accuracy. Caleb Carr developed a love of history at a young age, acquiring a keen interest in military history while attending a Quaker high school. This interest led him to major in history at Kenyon College and NYU. Notable works by Caleb Carr are The Alienist, which was on the New York Times' bestseller list for 24 weeks; The Devil Soldier; and Angel of Darkness. In addition to writing fiction, Carr is a contributing editor of MHQ: The Quarterly Journal of Military History.