Claudius has gone. I had an e-mail from Simon in midweek with his reaction to the final rewrite. I have to confess I put off opening it just in case the news was bad, but he liked it a lot. The centrepiece of the book is the battle where the British hero Caratacus attempts to stop the invading Romans at the River Thames. It was great to write, but the scale was frighteningly large and once or twice I wondered if I'd taken on more than I could handle. So I was pretty chuffed when Simon, who doesn't go in for superlatives, described it as "brilliant and epic".
Still, it's always a strange moment to send a book on its way. It's finished/complete, but you know there's more you can do to it. It's now with the copy editor, who did a fantastic job with Caligula, and I'll be interested to see what horrors she spots this time that I failed to see the many dozens of times I've read it.
It's a year since I went through this process, but the memory is as fresh as if it was yesterday. I know I'll get the copy-editors manuscript in the post in a couple of weeks. That'll be followed by the cover art. Then the book proof, then the books themselves. Finally publication day on Thursday July 16. A huge buzz every step of the way. I'll be fascinated to see what the designers come up with for the cover. Caligula was fantastic but with Claudius the opportunities for something really special are enormous.
The Emperor's elephant has taken her next big step!