The Olympic Class Ships Olympic Titanic & Britannic

Jan 5, 2001

As some of you know, sadly we were not able to get copies to the BTS convention. The convention seems to be about two weeks earlier than usual this year, whereas the book is running slightly late. Anyway, according to Amazon UK, the publication date is fixed at April 30th 2004. I had expected a few weeks later than that, so if that is correct then it's good news. It comes out a lot earlier here in the UK.

I thought I'd start a seperate thread for the second book, since I don't want to guide the 'young writers' thread too far off topic.

Best regards,

Jan 5, 2001
Hi Jesse!

I am not sure what the arrangements for Barnes and N. are. As yet, it's just Amazon UK, though I have seen it on an Asian site -- which appears to be written in Japanese.

Best regards.

Jan 5, 2001
Hi Jesse!

I realise I made a small mistake in my above post. The book is also on the American version of Amazon, but since it is published several months later in America that's why I refer to Amazon UK. I think that's the quickest way. As yet, I don't have any date for the American release -- apart from knowing it's later.

Best regards,

Jan 5, 2001

I thought it might be best to make this posting now…with publication rapidly approaching — albeit a number of weeks late. It’s hectic at the moment and I’ll probably be off the forum for a time. It’s just a question of relating a number of points surrounding the book project that might be of interest. I say ‘might,’ but on past experience they probably won’t be. I had been working on a lengthy document for my own information (on research areas, some corrections, etc.) and some of that has been used here:

[The following includes an explanation of errors…how they were prevented…or how they can creep in, and a brief summary of the context surrounding the book project.]

It had long been accepted that Olympic’s fastest crossing had been completed in November 1921, Eastbound, in just over five days twelve hours. However, her average speed for this crossing was *not* the greatest average speed that she ever achieved on a Eastbound crossing — and so the time of five days twelve hours was misleading. In reality, in the summer of 1924 she completed her fastest crossing — since she completed more miles on that one, her time was greater than the crossing from 1921, yet her average speed was higher. Interestingly, in 1924 as well as completing her fastest ever average she also completed another crossing where she matched the average speed of her 1921 record. While I had initially written that the November 1921 crossing was indeed her fastest, based on a consensus across a range of sources, I was only able to correct the misconception that this had been the crossing on which she achieved her fastest ever average speed when I saw a more complete listing of Atlantic liners and their speeds, running from 1917 to 1926-27. Had I not seen that, then I would have been doomed to repeat the mistake in saying that Olympic’s fastest crossing was in 1921. (Interestingly, in 1924 Leviathan was crossing at about the same time as Olympic; the American liner — with her 100,000 horsepower and c.65,000 displacement tons — averaged 22.65 knots all the way across while Olympic beat her with an even greater average speed. Whether it can be regarded as a race or not, it does seem to have been one of those events neglected in liner histories. In 1923, Leviathan *beat* Olympic on, from memory, two occasions, and these appear to have been better documented.)

While considering the topic of Olympic’s performance, there was also some interesting information with regard to her engines’ revolutions. Based on Ismay’s testimony in 1912, it had long been held that the reciprocating engines of the Olympic-Titanic were able to operate at a maximum speed of eighty revolutions — yet Olympic achieved eighty-one on one engine during her maiden voyage without her five auxiliary boilers being lit at all. And, when examining her Chief Engineer’s testimony during the Hawke enquiry of 1911, and that from other Engineers, a maximum figure of eighty-three revolutions was mentioned. (Actually, this fits Lowe’s American enquiry testimony when he wrote that a slip table was in the process of being written for Titanic — going up to eighty-five revolutions.) Although it is a relatively dull technical piece of information in many respects, it is actually historically important when we assess — to take one example — Titanic’s speed that Sunday evening. The unnamed witness’s report of eighty revolutions, in America, could be discounted easily by those who felt Titanic was not up to her full speed yet. While agreeing that she wasn’t, the report becomes much more believable if we consider that eighty revolutions was not the maximum that the engines were capable of — and that they could go up to a potential 83-85 r.p.m. It seems likely to me that someone may ‘come out of the woodwork’ and say that this information was already widely known, yet it certainly does not seem to have been — unless I am demonstrating my ignorance.

When completing the listing for those who had lost their lives in the sinking of the Britannic, the records held by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission were of considerable assistance. In fact, much of the data for each person comes from their records alone. While accepting the casualty lists as presented back in 1916, the CWGC records did have some errors in them — for instance, Cropper’s grave was not mentioned in some of their records. As a result, there was information on some twenty-seven people — with several missing. Fortunately when I shared my listing with Michail Michailakis back near the beginning of 2002, he was able to point out the missing people — it turns out that some of them were not mentioned in some records, since the CWGC had their own information as to the names on memorials, but the crew listing could be used to fill in the missing gaps.

The issue of Britannic’s ‘two’ Second Officers requires attention — ‘Brockehurst’ and ‘Brocklebank.’ While the two names are remarkably similar, it had always been assumed that they were two different people. However, when further Officer research revealed no trace whatsoever of an Officer with one of those names, that brought into question the possibility that they were the same person. Indeed, with the names ‘Alfred’ and the initial ‘A’ the possibility became even stronger. Research in this area is ongoing…but with no trace being found for one of the names it seems increasingly likely that one is a mistake and that they are indeed the same person, with the records that do exist for the other name being those of Britannic’s Second Officer.

One error that was corrected before publication concerned Britannic’s First and Sixth Officers on her final voyage. While I had correctly identified the Officers after her lay-up in summer 1916, in fact the First and Sixth Officers changed sometime after her first post-August voyage. The fact apparently went unnoticed for years until Simon Mills was going through the manifests again and corrected the names for her final voyage…that became widely known in 2002, and as a result of his assistance it was possible for me to briefly alter these two names in my book — at about the last stage that any minor corrections were possible. Apparently everyone who has ever looked at these manifests had missed the changes after initially going through the listings.

With regard to the issue of the three ships and displacement — although in a very early (re: first-ever and single chapter) draft I had considered the 66,000 ton figure as accurate, it soon became clear that it was excessive. In fact, I think I corrected it the first time I checked through it in any detail. The more records examined…the more absurd it becomes. So we’re back to 52,000 odd tons for Olympic/Titanic and ‘over 53,000’ for the heavier Britannic. Since I expect the figures of 77,000 tons displacement for Olympic/Titanic and 78,000 tons displacement for Britannic (as recorded in an appendix) will receive some attention — and probably ridicule — I think it best to explain that it is ‘registered displacement,’ i.e. as recorded on the British registry papers. While I have recorded that fact, it does seem to be some sort of different measurement — clearly it’s not the ships’ displacement when normally loaded, but looking at the registry papers other ships’ figures were also overstated. (Majestic’s was given as over 80,000, instead of 64,500 as detailed on her 1928 specifications.) So, whatever the term recorded (‘registered displacement’) indicates, it’s not the term displacement as generally understood. I asked around lots of people, but no-one seemed to understand it properly either. The figure of 77,000 tons on Olympic’s registry, was — if I remember rightly — recorded by Simon Mills as well in his Olympic history. Maybe he saw it from the same source. Either way, while the higher figure is open to interpretation and discussion, it has been reported accurately.

In general terms, a key point that I think is worthy of mention is the completion of the vast bulk of the manuscript by the end of 2000 or start of 2001. It is certainly true to say that by 2000-01 it was broadly complete and simply undergoing minor drafting changes and review, although I was able to correct a number of *minor* errors that I found due to progress in my own research and new information becoming available until 2002. (In that respect it was fortunate that I was unable to find a publisher during my first year of trying, since it enabled constant updates. I do not mean the following comment to be taken in a detrimental fashion, yet I think it is only fair to state that the text represents my attempt at telling of the ‘Olympic’ class’ story as of my knowledge in 2001.)

Yet by that time some portions of the text, such as ending the chapter on the Titanic’s wreck with a description of the 2000 expedition, could have already been considered a little outdated. Cameron’s 2001 expedition and many of its findings, unless I am mistaken, did not become widely known until 2003 — by which time any significant additions or alterations to the text were out of the question. Covering the ongoing exploration of both Britannic and Titanic is really a mammoth task — using the latter ship as an example, surely any work (in 2004) aiming to detail the expeditions to the wreck since 1985 should include Cameron’s in 2001, the rumoured ‘pirate’ expedition in 2002, and ongoing developments (with RMS Titanic, Inc. and others) in 2003-04? Under Tempus’ original plans, publication would have followed in 2003, although this was subsequently delayed until spring 2004. I am sure it is something that many non-fiction authors can sympathise with — the fact that your work is doomed to be slightly out of date from the moment it is published, and the perception that as new information is being learned all the time, constant revision is vital. For instance, had I had Stoker Bert Smith’s account of the flooding in Britannic’s boiler room 6 back in 2000, I am sure that I would have included it when detailing what happened during Britannic’s sinking — even if my account of the sinking had to, due to the nature of the project, be summarised to a degree.

Indeed, to cover Titanic’s story alone from every angle can be considered impossible in one volume, and summarising Titanic’s story while trying to comprehensively tell the story of her two sisters in a single volume is not impossible — but difficult. You simply cannot tell the entire story in a single book. By way of illustration, my Olympic book is at least three or four times the length of my Olympic chapter in the Olympic class book in terms of words — and even then, I’ve missed the odd bit of information out due to necessity or else the whole project would have become uneconomic. Would it not be wonderful to see what could be achieved if every enthusiast pooled together their resources for the common good? To see every private collection of images/documents and material opened up for the common enjoyment? To see differences, where they exist, put aside, opinions shared and analysis undertaken. I am sure the result would astonish us, if we were just to deal with Titanic’s story alone. In Olympic’s case, her history can only be much greater in length than Titanic’s — if it was possible to recreate each of her voyages in up to half the detail. So many people sailed on her over the years, and the number of photos, diaries and other material in private collections, or gathering dust because its owner might not realise its significance, must be enormous. From a chronological point of view, Titanic was only in service for a few days…Olympic for 8,700 days if my ‘quick sum in my head’ is correct. And, by that standard, with Britannic in service for more than 300 days she also deserves a lengthier history than her elder sister.

During writing the book, one snag I did hit with some archives and institutions was the age limit that many of them have. In some cases, no-one under 18 appeared to be allowed access to an archive, and it took effort and ingenuity to find other ways to access material. Since I was not eighteen until *after* I had delivered my final version of the book to my publishers in January 2003, that was unfortunate. Nevertheless, I owe a massive debt to all of the helpful archivists and other researchers who have been so helpful, generous and kind to me. The kindness and generosity that so many people have shown has been astonishing and it seems hard to adequately express my gratitude in words. I have endeavoured to acknowledge everyone, but in the event that I have overlooked anyone who assisted me then you have my deepest apologies and a promise that I will rectify my oversight in a later edition.

I felt honoured to receive a number of kind comments from people who were looking forward to my first book, and hope that much of the optimism that people have expressed to me has been justified. The run up to publication has been filled with enthusiasm and trepidation in not-quite-equal measure. I think the latter must have taken the lion’s share of my time. As a new author, that made things even more challenging. When I was searching for a publisher, I did wonder if I had something new —I constantly came across the perception that the Olympic class story had ‘all been done before.’ (Usually when people spoke of the period of enthusiasm post-the 1997 Cameron movie — which had nothing to do with Olympic or Britannic!) In which case, why was another history required from someone who had never even published a book before? I felt that the answer lay in aspects of the three ships that had not been recorded very prominently before. To my knowledge, no book had previously quoted, for instance, the Fifth Officer’s testimony about the Olympic crewmen’s desertion in 1912. Yet it makes a fascinating read — you can imagine the frustrated examiner battling to get answers out of him that were damaging to the White Star Line…just as Scanlan was examining Lightoller a little afterwards with regard to Titanic.

Again, I may be demonstrating my ignorance, but to my knowledge nothing about the ‘Peskett report’ (Cunard’s Naval Architect reporting about Olympic’s voyages in August 1911) had ever previously been published in book form. Yet the report was fascinating in terms of life onboard Olympic at this early stage of her life. While I felt that his analysis was rather biased in some respects — reflecting the Cunard and White Star Line rivalry — and in some cases justifying his professional opinion (for instance with regard to the superiority of an all-turbine installation), it was also fascinating. His information about Olympic’s performance also contributes valuable data about her propulsion system, and sheds some light on Titanic’s maiden voyage performance the following year. His comments about changes to the Turkish baths, and swimming pool, might be considered to point to possible changes made to Titanic — and which we might not otherwise have heard about. That he took a sample of, I think, the Emdeca from the cooling room, was a blessing — I was able to note the colours and touch it, the 1911-sample now becoming flaky. And the ‘superior class’ of first class passengers who he noticed — those paying extra for the á la Carte restaurant — was revealing. I had certainly not heard of anything like that happening, and I don’t think I had ever seen anyone else mention it — or seen it in any of the liner books I’d read. Indeed, when I confidentially shared the report with several knowledgeable people, it seemed my feelings about it were correct…that it contained a mass of new information relevant to Olympic, and — to an extent — Titanic. No one who I shared it with had ever seen it published. Several established experts had never heard of it. Why not, I asked myself? Perhaps because few Olympic-Titanic researchers will see any point in going through eighty dusty files/boxes of material relating to the Aquitania’s design and construction in 1910-14 — and of which Peskett’s report makes up just one. And few Aquitania researchers would have found it of great interest, in the light of the fascinating boxes of documents relating discussions about her décor, design and specification. Yet it’s quite logical Cunard would have examined the ‘Olympic’ class’ design closely, since their new Aquitania would have been at the forefront of their efforts to respond to White Star’s challenge…along with minor upgrades to Lusitania, for instance, like the debate about upgrading her veranda café.*

Aside from the Peskett report, I found it strange that it did not seem to be widely known that Cunard-White Star had considered selling the Olympic to a consortium in 1935 for use as a floating hotel in the South of France. Surely, that at least rates a footnote in Olympic’s history? (As does the possibility that she would have been sold to become a floating casino…of which I know little.) When I did mention it once online, a while back now, it prompted a reply along the lines of ‘it was the Queen Mary that was considered for a floating hotel, you fool…don’t you know anything?’ In the event that she had been used as a floating hotel, that raises the interesting question: would she have survived the war? The thought of her being bombed is worse than her being scrapped…as is the thought of her as an Axis trooper, recalling Mussolini’s Rex and her sister ship. We might have ended up with three ‘Olympic’ class wrecks. (As an aside, wouldn’t it be interesting if Britannic had sank in World War II — then she could have had a ‘normal’ lifespan with the accompanying history…and we’d still be able to explore her today underwater? That sort of alternative history only leads to all sorts of wacky possibilities.) The ‘floating hotel’ possibility draws attention to the issue of Olympic’s condition in 1935 — a key research area of mine. So many articles, histories of Olympic wrongly seem to relate it to the signs of age that she showed in 1931-32. Yet by 1935, following earlier repairs her hull condition was perfectly satisfactory to the Board of Trade and as sound as could be expected from a ship of her age and hard service…by the same measure, reports from 1933-35 show her engines to be running as well as ever and very sound. It was not Olympic’s material condition that doomed her, I believe, contrary to what seems to be popular belief…rather prejudice, a surplus of tonnage, changing fashions and economic reality, even if I feel that the latter is less relevant when considering some of her then-running mates’ condition and operating costs. There is considerable material for debate.

To skip back a little randomly, I did want to add a note about the Californian. I have always considered it more of a ‘sideshow’ to Titanic’s story and it is not one of my prime interests. However, I did feel that it at least needed to be summarised and some thoughts offered, since if the issue was not covered in a book aiming to be a relatively comprehensive narrative of the three sisters, including Titanic, then it would be an unacceptable oversight. The appendix presented is really an essay-length exploration of some of the issues surrounding the liner, drawn from the 1912 enquiries, and with some background information on Lord’s later attempts to clear his name and the 1992 reappraisal. I did want to comment briefly on the Mount Temple…Quitzrau’s account is interesting, even if much of it was mistaken. I know it’s a contentious issue, with lots of information, argument and counter-argument that makes hard going…that said, I’ll try not to get into any drawn out debate on the topic. There’s always time to do that.

While there were some issues that I had hoped to explore and analyse in more detail, such as the Smith-Ismay speed conversation, Titanic’s performance and other issues, they were simply beyond the scope of this project. However, the common myth of a coal ‘shortage’ is rather easily debunked by doing some simple checking of coal loading and consumption figures…and I did want to present the ‘coal essay’ appendix for variety. If the idea that there was a coal shortage is laid to rest, then the debate about a ‘Tuesday night arrival’ becomes much more relevant. I hope to return to that issue sometime in the future and present a detailed analysis. It won’t surprise me if it’s simply ignored, but it is a point that merits debate.

Thanks partly to the delay in publication from 2003 to 2004, it was possible to include a greater number of rare photos. After typesetting, the photos tend to be done last in a book publishing project. Thus images can be added or altered much later than any changes are made to the text…up to the final weeks, in fact. There are a number of rare, hitherto unknown and unpublished images that appear in print here for the first time. These include several Britannic images, as well as ones of the other two sisters. Jim Kalafus, who has so kindly shared two images of Olympic and Britannic taken in 1916, was most generous in giving me permission to add those to the photos being included at a pretty late stage in the publication process. And my publisher’s acquisition of a rare but quality Britannic photo made a grand addition to the rear cover. I believe that the photos are of great importance and add to the text in a number of important ways. The use of rare images was really good. My editor Campbell McCutcheon has an excellent collection of images and they were really tailor-made for the project in many respects.

…I may have wandered too far in my long-winded and in places rather random explanation of the project. I hope that my small contribution to the history of the three sisters, in the form of The Olympic Class Ships — Olympic, Titanic & Britannic will provide some new information and be enjoyed by people. I feel that I have unearthed a number of new details, although I am all too well aware of the errors that creep into a project of this size and would love to hear from anyone with corrections and documentation for those corrections. They would be thankfully acknowledged. I just hope I will find time to do them justice. Once again, my sincere apologies to anyone who I may have inadvertently missed out. I will be pleased to correct any oversights like that as soon as possible.

Indeed, let’s hope that interest in the Olympic and Britannic, as well as their famous sister, will continue. Interest in Britannic, in particular, seems likely to increase — for it seems likely that her wreck will remain in good condition for some time to come, even after Titanic’s may begin to collapse further. The after end of A-deck on the bow section is moving forward…holes are appearing in the ship’s decks… so let’s hope that the stronger hull structure below the strength deck will hold up for longer. Britannic, by contrast, has varied little between 1976 and 2003 compared to the changes Titanic has seen between 1985 and 2001. As of recent weeks, I have heard rumours and statements about another three possible Olympic class books in the works…so it does look like interest is picking up.

As for myself, I think and hope that I’ll be writing about this sort of thing for a while yet. As it is, my second book — my detailed Olympic history — is finished and a third as yet unannounced book is complete too. I’ve plenty of ideas for future writings, as well as my finished collection of poetry, quotations and philosophical musings. There is so much more left to learn. It’s been wonderful to meet so many great people during the course of my research. At the same time, I was also surprised to find that I was able to help a number of people with their own research…hence to date I have been honoured to be able to help out, in however small a way, on three upcoming (and rather different) book projects. It’s wonderful to help, and be helped.

I guess that with this posting I have intended to explain much of the context surrounding the book. I do not want to claim that it is something that it isn’t, but I do want to claim that I have put my heart into it. As an author, I have to take some of the credit for the accurate bits, and all of the criticism for any mistakes. Here it is — ‘warts and all’ — and ready to be savaged.

Best regards,

* I must confess that my examination of the Aquitania records was not just for any possible Olympic content…at one point in 2001 I was seriously considering researching her for some sort of research article or history of this wonderful ship. I soon gave up the idea and from September 2001 began my detailed Olympic history. (Though it would be wonderful to see a really detailed account of Aquitania’s career from someone, as there’s mountains of information in the Cunard archives, IWM, NMM at Greenwich, John Brown’s records, Merseyside Maritime Museum, the Transatlantic passenger conference records, and a host of newspaper sources and articles from 1909-51, not to mention several books written with a great deal of Aquitania content…such as Speddings’. How I wish some of those same resources were available for Olympic…pity White Star’s archive was decimated.)
Dec 2, 2000
Easley South Carolina
Mark, I'll be reading it thoroughly with a great deal of interest when it finally arrives. Regards the tonnage figures, I hope you don't feel too put out by all of the confusion surrounding them. You'd be amazed at how many people don't understand the difference between displacement (As in the actual weight of the vessel) and it's capacity in terms of space and volumn which figures such as gross register tonnage and net register tonnage speak to.

I hope you can do a book on the Aquatania one day. I haven't seen an awful lot out there on the ship, which is remarkable since she outlived all of her contemporaries. You would think she would rate better treatment.

Overall, I'm sure you did your absolute best, and it would appear that you've gone to a lot of trouble to cut through a lot of inaccuracies and get some new information out into the public domain. Unfortunately, it's inevitable that errors will creep in no matter how thorough you are, and it doesn't help matters when some of the available source material is going to be contradictory. Just do your best to learn from the mistakes and avoid them in the future. That's really all anybody can ask for.

Nicolas Roughol


This "little" post of yours is a real nice introduction to your first book. Like Michael I'll be reading it with great interest once I get it. Be prepared for constructive feedback
May 12, 2005

Again congrats on the publication of your fine project. I look forward to reading it. You're brilliant, especially for your age (and I don't mean that to be condescending). Also your example of doggedness is a great incentive for some of us older researchers to get off our butts and publish our works.

As to errors and oversights. Hey, they happen. Every book has an inaccuracy of some kind - it's just inevitable. The only thing a writer or editor can do is to do their best to hunt up the facts as they find them to be. Sometimes, belatedly, new info comes to light and proves a theory wrong but that's the nature of research and it's definitely the nature of publishing.

Errors are not necessarily a reflection on the researcher's aptitude and certainly it won't be in your case. It's a reflection only when that researcher continues to produce seriously flawed works, refusing to learn from criticism or to take guidance.

Even so, don't worry too much about criticism. That, too, is the nature of publishing. Just be proud of the work you've done.

All best wishes,

Dave Moran

Apr 23, 2002
It is always fascinating to find out what some-one's thoughts are when they write something - provided it is not some long winded show off such as Will Self or Martin Amis - and you most defintely are not. And the breadth and depth of your original research is impressive. Thanks Mark... I was looking forward to your book, now I positively salivate

Mar 16, 2004
San Jose, California
It looks as if the North American release of the book has been put on hold until September of this year. I have been checking Amazon and B&N religiously to see if the book is in stock. B&N had an original release date of April 28th. Just a few days ago Amazon changed their release date to September. It looks as if we have to wait a few more months to see it.
Mike Condon
San Jose CA
Dec 2, 2000
Easley South Carolina
I wonder if publication has been set back a bit in the U.K. as well. I put my order through for the reason that they tend to get these new releases first if the book comes out there. My guess is that the available printers may have something of a backlog to deal with. It's not the first time this has happened.

Bob Godfrey

Nov 22, 2002
Amazon UK are currently quoting delivery in 4-6 weeks. But they are never short on optimism when making such predictions!

Remco Hillen

Jan 6, 2001
Hello all,

Below is a message from Mark Chirnside, who's having some computerproblems over at his end and therefor is unable to post it himself.


Thanks everyone for the kind words of encouragement! Please forgive this rather
late reply. I haven’t been online much recently, but composed some of this reply
while skimming through the threads when I had access yesterday.

I feel really honoured by the kind words that so many people have written, and
the obvious eagerness to be able to get down and read the book. I know I’ve said
it before…but I really do hope that it fulfils expectations. With publication
being (‘several times’) put back from 2003 to 2004 (and with a text dating from
2001), there is always a worry that ‘new’ findings will not be as ‘fresh’ by the
time the book finally rolls of the presses, but I have been really fortunate
with the kindness of so many people who have granted me permission to use rare
photographs from their collections. The photographs are not actually formatted
until a matter of weeks before publication, which meant that even photos that
have only just surfaced could be included. That has been really pleasing to me,
and I sincerely appreciate this kindness.

Although I have tried my best to ensure it is as accurate as possible, I think
it’s certainly true that errors of some sort are going to creep into a project
like this and I am honestly looking forward to learning from criticism and
input. I appreciate the offers of constructive feedback.

One thing I have continued to learn about the publishing business is the
relatively slow nature of it. This morning I was rather alarmed when I got a
notification from Amazon UK which said that the book would not be available
until October 2004 — particularly since I had been on the telephone to my
publisher the day before yesterday and been informed that the presses were about
to start rolling. It has been explained to me that the October date for the UK
version is a ‘very worst case’ scenario. After all, publication was meant to
have been in July 2003, then April 2004, then April 2004+several weeks —
although all dates are give or take a few weeks. With these delays, I suppose
it’s only natural to issue a release date that can be met in all circumstances.

As an author, it’s very frustrating to see so many delays (especially when it
took a year to find a publisher in the first place) and not be able to do
anything about it. The manuscript was pretty much ‘as it stands now’ as early as
the end of 2001. Many people might ask me what is happening with the book, and I
am unable to reply. A book’s author will tend to know little more than Amazon in
terms of publication dates, and indeed they have nothing like the sort of
control over publication that I used to think before I experienced it. As it
stands at the moment, about half the initial print run has already sold out in
terms of pre-orders — before every marketing outlet has been tried — and this
means that my book is one of only several at my publishers that has been given
‘priority.’ I have been told that the book is actually going into publication
sometime over the next four weeks, so perhaps August will be the time it reaches
people who have ordered the UK version. I am sorry I cannot give anyone any further information, since I don’t know for sure
myself. With regard to the Olympic book, Amazon UK still says October 2004 and
my ‘guess’ would be December 2004 for publication or perhaps a little later.
Either way, hopefully I will be able to take copies of both books to the BTS
next year. Meanwhile, I have nearly finished my third and will be writing hard
over the summer.

I did have some success on the publishing front with regard to a book of mine on
an entirely separate subject. The First of Mark’s Volumes: Quotes, Philosophy
& Poetry
has been available since early May and can be ordered from Amazon UK
or Amazon COM. It includes such titles as ‘Radio Pyongyang,’ ‘Fish and Chips,
Dear Vera,’ and ‘Invasion.’ (end of cheap sales plug!

Kindest regards,

Dec 2, 2000
Easley South Carolina
Two books done and another in the works. Looks like there's a budding career here. I got the notification from yesterday about the setback. I hope with all the interest out there, that they can get this on the fast track.

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