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James Waterson was born into a London family of Royal Marines and Paratroopers. Fatherly advice however steered him away from a military career and into academia and teaching. He is a graduate of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London and received his Masters degree from Dundee University. He worked and taught in the United States and China for a number of years and now divides his time between the Middle East and Italy whilst trying to makes ends meet. The Ismaili Assassins is his second book and grew out of his travels in Iran. His first book, The Knights of Islam, a history of the slave soldiers of Islam, was published in 2007 by Greenhill Books. He continues to work at producing a life of the Crusader Bohemond of Taranto but knows it will never be finished.