Louis Guilloux (1899–1980) was born in Brittany, where he would spend most of his life. His father was a shoemaker and a socialist. At the local high school, he was taught by the controversial philosopher Georges Palante, who would serve as inspiration for the character of Cripure in Blood Dark
. Guilloux worked briefly as a journalist in Paris, but soon began writing short stories for newspapers and magazines, and then published his debut novel, La Maison du peuple
, in 1927. During World War II, his house was a meeting place for the French Resistance; on one occasion it was searched by the Vichy police and Guilloux was taken in for questioning. Following the war, he was an interpreter at American military tribunals in Brittany, and the incidents of racial injustice that he witnessed in the American army would form the basis of his 1976 book OK, Joe. In addition to his many novels—including Le Pain des rêves
(1942) and Jeu de patience
(1949)—Guilloux also translated the work of Claude McKay, John Steinbeck, and several of C. S. Forester’s Horatio Hornblower stories.