With all major work completed on May 1812, having sent it to the official proofing/typesetting bods–the growlery floor curiously unlittered with pages of rejected copy and my desk unwontedly clean–I have realised that I now have time for that unparalled joy, that abiding delight of the historical writer: research.
I have at hand, and it’s been there singing a siren song to me for the past couple of months actually, Michael Leggiere’s The Fall of Napoleon. To be sure, I cannot suppress the buzzing anticipation I feel toward the fascinating details I know I shall encounter within. Beside it is Robin Harris’s biography of Talleyrand, looking just as enticing, and finally I’m longing to dive into Adam Zamoyski’s Poland. And that’s just for openers.
And while it’s not exactly the same heady rush of adrenaline that I feel at the beginning of set of cross country jumps, the sharpening of all the senses as I look over the placing of the jumps, assess the turns, which will have to be sharp and which wider, the places I shall need to slow and those where I’ll want flat-out speed, it is close, very very close.
But like a series of jumps where everything flows perfectly, horse and rider together, there is already this unequalled pleasure of just being alive on such a fine day. And I am already humming with the delight in the as yet unrevealed challenges of new information and satisfaction of the discovery of new answers as I look upon the stack of books awaiting me.
Honestly, it just doesn’t get better than this.