At the outset, all toasted the success of the non-fiction work – a journey into the largest gun-running network the world has ever seen, from Eastern Europe to Africa and beyond – with crystal glasses of iced, triple-distilled Russian Standard vodka (to give things a truly Russian flavour) and champagne. There were talks from Ingrid Connell, editorial director at publishers Pan Macmillan, and author Matt Potter, followed by signings as the party spilled out onto the flagstoned courtyard of London’s Cecil Court. The highlight? Apart from the book, of course, the edible Hammer & Sickle cupcakes, Soviet star petit-fours with Lenin’s head on them, and muffins decked with edible dollars and ‘lines’ of icing sugar – all courtesy of cake artist Jules O’Neill – held guests rapt.
Thanks to David at Goldsboro Books for playing the role of host to the hilt, to Jules O’Neill for the edible artistry, and to all at event sponsors Russian Standard vodka for providing the thirsty media types, UN inspectors, diplomats and publishers in attendance with a taste of Slavic sophistication they won’t forget!