The Music Book is published

I’m pleased to announce that The Music Book is now officially published and available for purchase as an eBook for the Amazon Kindle (and smartphone/tablet/PC via the Kindle app). Purchase links can be found on the ‘Where to buy’ page.

I wish to thank warmly several people for their crucial assistance and advice as I wrote my book: first, Jenny Langford, a close friend and history freak like me, who kindly read countless early drafts and who helped with some of the initial research; Odile Castro, a dear French friend, who with her sister, Marie-Claire, helped me to envisage the characters who appear in the book in Paris; and Peter Stanford, the journalist and broadcaster and another good friend, who, despite other pressing commitments, patiently read a later draft and who provided some much-appreciated advice on style and final touches to the book.

I would also like to thank equally warmly three special friends and colleagues: first, Tony Burgess-Webb, for his support, encouragement and media-related advice, despite his many other commitments; Michael Woods, for his legal advice and unstinting patience; and Professor Ingrid Stahmer, a close friend for many years and formerly deputy governing mayor of Berlin, from whom I acquired the portrait of Frederick the Great as well as her infectious interest in eighteenth-century German history. My gratitude also goes to two other dear and long-standing friends in Berlin whom I have known since 1985, Bianca and Jurgen Freymuth-Brumby, who helped to inspire my fascination with Berlin and its history, who provided useful information about roads and transport at the time in which the story is set, and who with great patience helped to check the manuscript for factual accuracy and authenticity.

I wish to acknowledge my deep debt to Sue Tyley, my most patient and highly professional copy-editor. So generous in her time, she checked the final draft for spelling, punctuation, style and storyline. My warm thanks also go to Niall Cook, who designed the book cover, prepared the text for eBook publication and gave other much-valued assistance.

I should also like to acknowledge and thank Lucy Inglis, whose recent and most enjoyable book Georgian London: Into the Streets has been an extremely helpful source of information and facts about mid eighteenth-century London; and the excellent exhibition Georgians Revealed at the British Library, which shone a clear and fascinating light on the life, style, attitudes and culture of this important period in British history.

My thanks also go to Alison Conway, whose book The Protestant Whore: Courtesan Narrative and Religious Controversy in England, 1680–1750 provided most helpful background to attitudes to prostitution during that period, and to the late Nancy Mitford, whose book Frederick the Great, first published in 1970, is an immensely readable and colourful account of the life of the Prussian king.

In addition, I extend my warmest thanks to Colin Crane and his assistant, Neil Austin, at Paris Print, my local printers in Norfolk, for making countless copies of re-writes and for helping me in other ways towards the final version of this book.

I also wish to acknowledge three houses that have made a deep impression on me and which helped to inspire my depiction of Meltwater Hall: first, the Casa de Pilatos in Seville (particularly the seventeenth-century upper rooms and their contents); second, Anglesey Abbey in Cambridgeshire (for its configuration and furniture); and my own house in Norfolk.

I would also like to thank my daughters, Caroline and Charlie, and my sons, Rupert and Crispin, for their own deeply appreciated encouragement of my efforts to complete the story. After a lifetime in the British diplomatic service writing briefs and reports, turning my hand to writing an eighteenth-century fiction was not easy. But I was determined to try. They urged me not to give up.

Last and above all my deepest and most special thanks go to my wife, Audrey, who constantly inspired me to keep going and complete the story during the dark and cold months in Norfolk this year and the winter before.

In conclusion I dedicate the book, spanning certain places to which diplomacy and family life have taken me, to Audrey, Caroline, Charlie, Rupert and Crispin; and of course to Berlin, where my wife and I were stationed from 1985 to 1989 and where the germ of this story was sown without my knowing it at the time.