I returned from a two-week break in time to receive delivery of The Way of the Panda. It looks great.

It even comes with a very generous quotation from zoologist and author Desmond Morris, who describes it as “A fascinating story of an extraordinary animal”.

Profile Books have sent out masses of copies. For example, I am gladdened to see that novelist Clare Dudman has received a copy and has mentioned it on her blog. And I’m getting the first inklings of feedback. Several broadsheets and magazines have now commissioned articles from me based on aspects of the book. Of course, much of this is just down to the allure of pandas but there are also very heartening comments filtering back about the book. The run-up to publication and review is a nail-biting time for me, probably for most authors. You’ve tried so hard to produce something really good, you are pleased with it but are niggled by the concern that others won’t see it as you do. That said, it’s an exciting time too.

22 days and counting. I have a lot on just now, features for New Scientist (on epigenetics) and Nature Biotechnology (on marine biodiscovery) to wrap up and these panda commissions to write, but if I can get my act together, I hope to post every day from now until publication – -30 September.

Inidentally, if you are thinking of buying a copy, now would be a good time because the prepublication price on Amazon is usually lower than post-publication and has just dropped to a very affordable £9.11, that’s more than £6 off the cover price.

It’s printed