Sharon Kay Penman was born in New York City on August 13, 1945. She received a bachelor's degree in history from the University of Texas at Austin and a Juris Doctor degree from Rutgers University School of Law. She worked as a tax lawyer before becoming a full-time writer. She wrote The Sunne in Splendour, which chronicled the life of Richard III, while she was a student and a tax lawyer. After finishing the manuscript, her only copy was stolen from her car. She eventually rewrote the book and it was published in 1982. Her other works include Here Be Dragons, The Reckoning, When Christ and His Saints Slept, The Queen's Man, Cruel as the Grave, Dragon's Lair, Prince of Darkness, Lionheart and A King's Ransom. She won the 2001 Career Achievement Award for Historical Mysteries from Romantic Times.