Last week I was asked to sign a new copy of my book Empires Apart. As the book has long been out of print that doesn’t happen very often. When my original publisher, Picnic Press, went out of business their entire stock was pulped – much to my disgust and I suspect to the horror of their other authors as well.

I was therefore astonished to be approached by someone who had just bought a copy on the internet. The book he produced was the American edition which is also no longer in print. I was very happy to sign it and even happier to meet someone who so clearly enjoyed reading my efforts.

There were some last minute hiccups when the US edition was launched. The distributors were apparently concerned that the book had “anti-American” tendencies but the publisher went ahead, albeit with a few missing pages. Those missing pages had added weight to the book – and not just literally – but the prize of publication by a respected US publisher had been worth a minor sacrifice. Families of Spies however is a whodunit – missing a few pages of that would be a disaster!