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the book launch

You write a book, you have a launch. That’s the rule. So’s champagne.

And it’s necessary to invite those who had done all the work, the backroom staff. I bought two of my assistants along for the launch, they have been in this from the start and have worn themselves thin over the years of solitude and toil.

Shut away in a windowless shed under the gloom of a copse of camphor laurels and subjected to the 24 hour hum of the two Panda 45i generators that provide off-grid power for the seven computers, three servers and various satellite interception devices.

Spy writing is a serious trade and there are those who would interfere with process.

A man in the lift of my Hong Kong hotel two years ago. Thickset fellow, solid, dressed in a suit and cashmere sweater. He smiled as he leant over and took hold of my shirt collar with a thumb and finger – we were alone in the lift – and gave it a soft tug. Let go. Smiling all the while.

Got him on my lapel-cam. His picture is on the wall.


The staff wanted me in the official launch picture as well, but things being as they are, security-wise, a compromise had to be made.

But it was a great launch.

That’s Svetlana on the left and Tanya on the right.



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