Colleen McCullough was born June 1, 1937 in Wellington, western New South Wales, Australia. She now lives on Norfolk Island in the South Pacific.

Since her debut as an author, with the novel Tim in 1974, she has written a number of books, which include:

Her first novel, Tim, was published in 1974 and was later (in 1979) made into a film with Mel Gibson in the role of the title character. An Indecent Obsession was also filmed in 1985.

More best-selling novels followed, but Colleen McCullough is probably best known for her series of books dealing with ancient Rome.

Her first novel in this series is The First Man in Rome, which starts at around the time that the Caesar family manages to extricate itself from poverty and obscurity from the political arena. This is accomplished through the help of the character that has the main focus of the novel: Gaius Marius, a brilliant general that climbs the political ladder through a number of successful military exploits against the invading German tribes and north African Kings like Jugurtha. A great help in these exploits proves to be his right-hand man Lucius Cornelius Sulla, later to become dictator of Rome.

The rest of the books in the series lead the reader through Roman history, right up to the defeat of Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus (Pompey the Great) by Gaius Iulius Caesar in battle on the Greek mainland at the end of the second to last book in the series, Caesar.

The tale of the fortunes and misfortunes of Caesar and Republican Rome are wrapped up in the last book in the series, The October Horse. As with the books before Caesar, this book returns to McCulloughs strength; to weave a tale around certain historical events, creating an uterly immersing and believable cast and stage for ancient Rome's greatest and enduring characters.

She is the first to admit that her series is written by a novelist, not an historian, and that she has given her own personal interpretation of certain events and characters. As she writes in her afterword in The October Horse about her Roman Republic series of books: "{..} breathing life into history without distorting it more than the limitations of my scholarship make inevitable." According to me, she has certainly succeeded. I hope she might someday decide to tackle the period of the Roman Imperium, starting with Gaius Iulius Caesar Octavianus.

Her latest novel (at the time), Morgan's Run, is based on the history and settlement of Australia.

Editors note:

Colleen McCullough died on January 29, 2015 from apparent kidney failure after suffering from a series of small strokes. She was 77 years old.

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