Nelson DeMille was born in New York City on August 23, 1943. He attended Hofstra University for three years, then joined the Army and went to Officer Candidate School. He was commissioned a First Lieutenant and served in Vietnam as an infantry platoon leader with the First Calvary Division. He received the Air Medal, Bronze Star, and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry while in the service. He eventually returned to Hofstra University and received a degree in political science and history. His first writings were NYPD detective novels, but his first major novel, By the Rivers of Babylon, was published in 1978. His other works include Cathedral, The Talbot Odyssey, Word of Honor, The Gold Coast, The General's Daughter, Spencerville, Plum Island, The Lion's Game, Up Country, Night Fall, Wild Fire, and The Quest.