Phew. Back from Russia, and it was quite a trip. Probably the busiest foreign trip I’ve done in terms of sheer density of interviews and events. 10 or more print interviews and 3 TV ones, 5 bookshops, a reading at a library, a panel at an outdoor festival, and a Q&A at the Moscow Book Fair. Probably the best attended events I’ve done too. Well over a hundred at most of the bookshops and at the 24 hour bookshop in St. Petersburg there were, apparently, 250, some of them fitting into the shot below:
Signing took an hour and a half. Seemed like the queue would never end. How guys like Martin or Gaiman deal with thousands at an event I will never know.
Got to see about 5% of the Hermitage, and a look round the Kremlin, including such classically tsarist wonders as a cannon too big to ever be fired, and a bell too big to ever be rung.
Managed to fit in a visit to the World Medieval Fighting Championship Club in Moscow for a demonstration of medieval era fighting in full armour which was quite the eye-opener. These guys hit hard, and with anything available. The noise and aggression was pretty intense, though of course less than when I was playing Pathfinder in a Sushi Bar with Maksim, Alexander and Alexandra. Those goblins never knew what hit them.
I need to give a big thanks to all the bookshops and events that hosted me, as well as to Dmitriy, Anna, Alexander, and Gianna from my Russian publisher Eksmo for organising the trip and variously getting up extremely early or staying up unreasonably late to escort me to and from events. Also a big thanks to the unsung heroes of the trip, Masha in Moscow and Yulia in St. Petersburg, my translators, who had the unenviable task of rendering my blather into something vaguely intelligible. And lastly but not leastly, thanks to Mikhail, a very pleasant guy from the oil and gas business with whom I shared the sleeper train back to Moscow and who both translated for me and payed for beers. If you find yourself in the UK, Mikhail, I owe you a beer…