OUP has now had its editorial and sales meeting and has produced this thrilling cover for my book. I’m really delighted with it, as it is almost the same as the image I’ve had in my head all along. Book covers are often a source of friction between publishers and authors but I couldn’t be more happy. Choosing the book’s title, however, has caused me, my agent and my editor much more difficulty – right up to the last moment. I had used the working title of Conflagration throughout the book’s creation and that was the title as sent off in various submissions. This wonderfully evocative word was used constantly about the fire at the time. However, I became increasingly nervous that this was not a title which would make the book walk off the shelves, so after much dicussion – with the sales and marketing people having the final say – we have settled on what had emerged first as a subtitle – The Day Parliament Burned Down. However, a definition of the word ‘conflagration’ from the Oxford English Dictionary still opens the book: it means a lot more than just ‘a great and destructive fire’, as the narrative gradually reveals.