Ben Kane

Featured in the Sunday Times’ bestseller lists many times, Ben Kane’s fantastic range of books have sold over 1 million copies worldwide.

Ben Kane was born in Kenya, but is Irish by blood and now lives in the UK. His international life influenced his passion for world history, which in turn caused him to change careers from veterinary medicine to writing, and has taken him to over 60 countries as well as all seven continents. During his travels and in his subsequent research, which saw him walk hundreds of miles dressed as a legionary, he learned much about the Romans and the way they lived. In 2016, Bristol University recognised the research in his novels with an honorary doctorate of letters. 

He regularly features in the Sunday Times' bestseller lists, his books have been published in no fewer than 12 languages, and over one million copies have been sold worldwide. Ben lives in Somerset with his children, where he writes full time. His books include:

The Clash of Empires series

The Eagles of Rome series

The Hannibal and Rome series

The Spartacus series

The Forgotten Legion Trilogy

The Lionheart series

Image is copyright by Colin Thomas.

What first sparked your passion for archaeology?

Asterix, then a visit to Alesia. Multiple visits to the Imperial War Museum as a boy. The Eagle of the Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliff, and Sir Nigel by Arthur Conan Doyle.

What does archaeology mean to you?

Fresh history coming out of the ground. A way to enrich what we know of the past, to correct misconceptions, and most of all, to bring the lives of those who have gone before us alive once more.

What is the most interesting experience you have had leading an Andante tour?

Seeing the Samnite tomb in the back rooms of the museum at Paestum. Simply magnificent.

What first sparked your interest for Roman history?

Asterix, followed by a visit to Alesia when I was nine - I can still see Caesar's reconstructed fortifications. At the age of perhaps eleven, I read and *loved* The Eagle of the Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliff, and from that moment on, wanted to visit Hadrian's Wall. I didn't manage that until I was 31, but once I did, I was consumed by the desire to write a novel about Roman soldiers in that iconic location.

What is your favourite archaeological site?

That is such an unfair question!

I think I have to go with Xanten Archaeological Park, the site of the Roman town Colonia Ulpia Traiana, and before that, the double legionary fortress of Vetera. Found in Germany, near the Rhine and the border with the Netherlands, it is a complete Roman town with the most extraordinary wealth of artefacts and faithfully reconstructed buildings, including a three-storey town gate, a working inn, and more.

How many tours have you led for Andante?

Only one so far, the classic Pompeii and Herculaneum, but I have high hopes of leading more - the Punic Wars, perhaps.

Have you written any books or featured in any TV programmes?

Thirteen novels set in ancient Rome, eleven of which have featured in the Sunday Times top ten. My books have sold more than a million copies worldwide, and have been translated into thirteen languages.