A. J. Quinnell was raised in East Africa. At the age of twenty he went to the Far East and became a trader, travelling extensively throughout Asia. In 1979 he moved to Malta where he lived until he died in 2005. His widow is the well-known Danish author Elsebeth Egholm.

Quinnell’s books have been sold in 150 countries, and in 2004 Man on Fire was adapted for film by Universal Studios, starring Denzel Washington and the young Dakota Fanning.