Eric Clifford Ambler OBE (28 June 1909 – 22 October 1998) was an influential British author of spy novels who introduced a new realism to the genre. Ambler also used the pseudonym Eliot Reed for books co-written with Charles Rodda.
Ambler was born in London into a family of entertainers who ran a puppet show, with which he helped in his early years. Both parents also worked as music hall artists. Later he studied engineering at Northampton Polytechnic in Islington (now City University, London), and served an apprenticeship with an engineering company. However, his upbringing as an entertainer proved dominant and he soon moved to writing plays and other works. By 1937 he was a copywriter at an advertising agency in London. After resigning he moved to Paris, where he met and married Louise Crombie, an American fashion correspondent.
At that time, Ambler was politically a staunch anti-Fascist and like many others tended to regard the Soviet Union as the only real counterweight - which was reflected in the fact that some of his early books include Soviet agents depicted positively and as sympathetic characters, the undoubted allies of the main protagonist.