Roncagliolo was born in Lima, and his family temporarily left Peru for political reasons in 1977. His novel Pudor (2005) was made into a film and his political thriller Abril rojo received the Alfaguara Prize in 2006 and is published in English as Red April (2010). La cuarta espada (2007), his non-fiction novel, delves into the mind of the most dangerous terrorist in the history of the Americas: Abimael Guzmán of Sendero Luminoso. Memorias de una dama (2009), tracing the origins of the Mafia in Cuba, was censored and its publication is prohibited throughout the entire world. His new novel, Tan cera de la vida is a thriller set in the sex market of tokyo. His work has been translated into thirteen languages.