Vicente Blasco Ibáñez was born in Valencia, Spain on 29th January 1867.
At university, he studied law and graduated in 1888 but never felt the urgency to practice - he was more interested in politics, journalism, literature and women.
Politically he was a militant Republican partisan and, in his youth, founded a newspaper, El Pueblo (The People). The newspaper was taken to court many times and he made many enemies. In one incident he was shot and almost killed. In 1896, Ibáñez was arrested and sentenced to a few months in prison.
Despite this colourful background he found time to write novels. His first published work was 'La Araña Negra' (The Black Spider) in 1892, a work that he later repudiated although at the time it was a useful vehicle for him to express his anti-clerical views.
In 1894, he published 'Arroz y Tartana' (Airs and Graces), about a late 19th Century widow in Valencia trying to keep up appearances in order to marry her daughters well.
Ibáñez's next sequence of books studied rural life in the farmlands of Valencia and failed to gain much of an audience.
His writing now took on a new direction with its now familiar sensational and melodramatic themes in 1908 with 'Sangre y Arena' (Blood and Sand), which follows the career of Juan Gallardo from his poor beginnings as a child in Seville, to his rise to becoming a famous matador in Madrid
However, his greatest success was 'Los Cuatro Jinetes del Apocalipsis (The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse) in 1916, which tells a tangled tale of the French and German sons-in-law of an Argentinian land-owner who find themselves fighting on opposite sides in the First World War. It was a literary and commercial sensation and became the best-selling book of 1919. It also propelled Rudolph Valentino to stardom in the 1921 film.
Ironically his fame in the English-speaking world has come not as a novelist but as the stories behind some of Hollywood's greatest silent movies.
Vicente Blasco Ibáñez died in Menton, France on January 28th, 1928, the day before his 61st birthday.