You are in an oak-panelled library, or, perhaps, a fine old bookshop, full of musty antiquarian tomes. All around you is a hubbub of lively, erudite conversation. You’ve tried to play ‘spot the celebrity’, but there are just too many – Huw over there, Jeremy in the corner talking to Melvyn and Polly. You sip your wine – an excellent choice, displaying the host’s good taste and refinement – and nibble some of those little sausages on sticks. The host rises to speak. You and the assembled guests chuckle at his fascinating anecdotes and witty asides. And then the moment that you’ve been waiting for finally arrives: the host raises a copy of his book and officially launches Britannia’s Dragon: A Naval History of Wales.
So yes, OK, you’ve got me bang to rights – I didn’t get round to organising a launch party, so you’ll have to make do with this virtual one. But the important point is that the book is now out there, available (as they say) from all good bookshops and from online outlets whose tax affairs have sometimes been called into question. And I have to say, with quite stunning immodesty, that I’m delighted with it: the History Press did a terrific job on its design, and the cover in particular has already won high praise. I just hope the same proves to be true of the contents!
Seriously, though, the publication of a book is usually the end of a process. The author has put this particular project to bed, and has already moved on to his next one. But I don’t want that to be the case with Britannia’s Dragon. The whole point about this book is that it’s meant to be a beginning – the beginning of a much fuller exploration of a theme that’s been woefully neglected, namely the naval history of Wales. I know that there are things that I’ve left out, either because I didn’t become aware of them in time, or because I’ve still to become aware of them. There are already certain statements in the book that need to be amended or expanded in the light of new information that’s come to light since I completed it. So what I’ve decided to do is to launch a new blog-cum-website to build on the book, and to try and continue the process of raising awareness. The site is called, yes, Britannia’s Dragon, and it’s just gone live. So please head on over there, too, and if any of you have any material that might be relevant for it – guest blogs, original documents, photographs, anything within reason – I’d be delighted to hear from you! And in case you’re wondering, I’ll continue to blog regularly about other writing-related or historical themes on this site, although I might take the odd week out here or there if there’s a particularly large amount of material to put up on the new one.
So I declare both manifestations of Britannia’s Dragon, both the book and its online ‘extension’, well and truly launched! And yes, you can now get back to sipping that very nice virtual wine and nibbling the virtual sausages on sticks. Enjoy.