I formally retired from Osprey in December but will happily be staying involved in much the same way as I began in 1999, doing various freelance and consultancy jobs. To these I am hoping to add some writing, and I have started work on a proposal to do Salamis 480 BC for the Campaign series.
This will be a direct sequel to the Thermopylae title published in November last year and which we have already had to reprint. In fact, the narrative will begin before that battle with the crucially interlinked naval operations. These led to the first clashes of the Greek and Persian fleets off Artemisium, not far to the east and on the same days as Leonidas\'s doomed defence of central Greece on land. The great sea battle, with consequences for western civilisation that make it one of the most important battles in history, followed a few weeks later between mainland Attica and the island of Salamis.
The background to this battle, fought as it was over several hours of a September day and a few square miles of sea by hundreds of war galleys and tens of thousands of men (and one very feisty woman), is as rich and fascinating as the engagement itself. The survival of the fragile Greek alliance was tortuous and miraculous. It was an astonishing victory against the odds, halting the western expansion of the immense Persian Empire. It was made possible, above all, by the leadership, diplomacy, cunning, and strategic and tactical vision of one man, the Athenian Themistocles and his creation, just in time, of the Athenian navy. The capital ship deployed by both sides was the trireme, that extraordinary achievement of pre-industrial technology. And all this is spiced up by what would would be recognised today as “double cross” disinformation and PsyOps activity, and by sophisticated manipulation of religious belief and observance, and the mumbo jumbo of oracles. I have been here before. Many years ago I did a translation of Herodotus\'s 5th century account of the Persian Wars; it has been out of print for a while but still has an existence in school stock cupboards and, faintly, here on Amazon. This was published by Cambridge University Press in a series I was responsible for in my first editorial job, commissioned after I\'d moved on from Cambridge in the career that finally brought me to Osprey. As with Cambridge, previous employment has given me no privileges as a would-be author! (The second part of William\'s series about writing an Osprey Campaign book will follow this time next week - Mike)