Nicholas Swift was born in St. Catharines, Canada, and graduated from the University of Toronto. In his last year there he did a course in Classical Persian taught by G.M. Wickens, as well as a seminar on Sufism. In London, England in the 1980s he studied Arabic in evening classes at what was then the Polytechnic of Central London School of Languages. A novel he wrote set in a Britain of the not distant future under nuclear attack, describing the lives of survivors in underground shelters, was published in 1999 by a small press in Ontario. A reviewer (Scott Leslie) in a Canadian magazine wrote of it: "From bomb shelters to backroom dealings, Swift deftly captures the uncertainty of a society coming apart at the seams... To Swift, the danger is not just faceless. The danger is ourselves. With considerable aplomb, he delivers a readable take on the anxiety and folly of the nuclear question." In the 2000's he researched and wrote articles for a website on local government throughout the world, including profiles of some colorful mayors that were widely reproduced. An Oxford University source said of some of his work in this area: "You do a much better job than most authors on Urban Planning and Politics. And trust me when I say that I have asked a fair share of them for their opinions on similar questions." In London he worked in the editing departments of a number of publishers. He has also been an industrial filter changer, a librarian, a shiatsu therapist, a guard at the Canadian National Exhibition, and a British civil servant (Ministry of Defence), and for a time he worked in an Orientalist book store across the road from the British Museum. He has a Certificate in Acupuncture for Common Ailments, and at Brock University he fenced. Mirror of the Free is the product of his own enquiries over many years.
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