Sir Walter Scott was a Scottish historical novelist, playwright, and poet. Scott was the first modern English-language author to have a truly international career in his lifetime with many contemporary readers in Europe, Australia, and North America. His novels and poetry are still read, and many of his works remain classics of both English-language literature and of Scottish literature. The storyline is taking place in Constantinople at the time of the First Crusade. Count Robert of Paris portrays the impact of Western medieval values and attitudes on the sophisticated Romano-Greek classical society of the Byzantine Empire. The two main characters are Count Robert, a Frankish knight, and Hereward, an Anglo-Saxon refugee from the Norman conquest of England, serving as a mercenary soldier in the Varangian Guard of the Emperor Alexios the First Komnenos. Count Robert was an actual but minor historical figure who disrupted negotiations between the Crusader leaders and the Emperor by occupying the latter's throne when it was temporarily vacated.