Douglas Preston was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1956. He attended Pomona College in Claremont, California, and graduated cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, in 1978, with a degree in English literature.
From 1978 to 1985, Preston worked for the American Museum of Natural History in New York City as a writer, editor, and manager of publications. He served as Managing Editor for the journal Curator and was a columnist for Natural History magazine. In 1985 he published a history of the museum, DINOSAURS IN THE ATTIC, which chronicled the explorers and expeditions of the museum's early days.
In 1986 Preston moved to New Mexico and began to write full-time. Seeking an understanding of the first moment of contact between Europeans and Indians in America, he retraced on horseback Francisco Vasquez de Coronado's violent and unsuccessful search for the legendary Seven Cities of Gold. That thousand mile journey across the American Southwest resulted in the book, CITIES OF GOLD. Since that time Preston has undertaken many long horseback journeys retracing historic or prehistoric trails. He has also participated in expeditions in other parts of the world, including a journey deep into Khmer Rouge-held territory in the Cambodian jungle with a small army of soldiers, to be the first Westerner to visit a lost Angkor temple. He once had the thrill of being the first person in 3,000 years to enter an ancient Egyptian burial chamber in a tomb known as KV5 in the Valley of the Kings.
Preston has published five nonfiction books and thirteen novels, most of which were bestsellers and translated into many languages. With his frequent collaborator, Lincoln Child, he has authored such bestselling thrillers as THE CABINET OF CURIOSITIES, THE ICE LIMIT, THUNDERHEAD, RIPTIDE, BRIMSTONE and RELIC. His most recent novel, DANCE OF DEATH, which came out in June 2005, was on the New York Times bestseller list for six weeks. Preston writes about archaeology for the New Yorker magazine and he has also been published in Smithsonian magazine, Harper's, and National Geographic. He is the recipient of numerous writing awards.
Preston counts in his ancestry the poet Emily Dickinson, the newspaperman Horace Greeley, and the infamous murderer and opium addict Amasa Greenough. He and his wife, Christine, live in Maine with their three children.