A best-selling American novelist, he is particularly known for works such as Prague (2002), The Egyptologist (2004), and Angelica (2007). His 2009 novel, The Song is You, was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year.
He graduated from Harvard University with a degree in history. Before becoming a novelist, he worked as a jazz musician and an advertising copywriter.
He was a five-time Jeopardy! champion.
He grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He and his wife later became parents to two sons.
His works have been compared to those of Henry James.