The London Walks Book
September 2012 update: it's plural now!  Our Book should be
Our Books. And that's by way of introducing Out of London
Walks: Great escapes by Britain's best walking tour company.
One of my favourite London images. And it's an apt way of
welcoming you to the book. Apt because in the Introduction I
use the image of a lamp lighter: "London Walks guides are,
after a fashion, latter-day gas-lamp lighters. Picture it: the
lamplighter's figure moving along a London street in the
gloaming and one by one the street lamps coming out like
stars. And you think there's no romance in London? So that's
what we do - light things up for people. Both out on the
streets of London when we're guiding, and here, in these pages."
That's from the Introduction. But the image is also right
because he's lighting the gas lamps on the Embankment,
along the Thames. And the Thames and London - river
and its city - their thousands of years of shared history -
is, how could it be otherwise? - the silver stream that
merrily merrily we row along in the book's great opening
Read it and you'll know your London onions...
"Better than buying from Amazon: I much prefer a boutique retailer!" was how one walker put it when he bought his copy of London Walks London Stories from Author-Guide Adam. That was on the Kensington Walk yesterday (Jan. 29th). The "boutique retailer" in the photo is in Hampstead. Both of which London villages loom large in the book. I (David) know because I wrote those two chapters!
"Brilliant and long-awaited". The money quote from the first ever review (just served up by a bookseller in Brentford). Here's the full enchilada:
"I've been on well over 20 of these fascinating London Walks (an excellent cheap entertaining and informative way to spend an afternoon or morning over the weekend!) and I cannot recommend them highly enough. Finally our favourite blue badge guys have got a book together of some of the best stories London has to tell. London is my favourite city in the world and if you take a look at this book you'll begin to learn just why. Brilliant and long awaited." Here's the link.
And on that note we're off to the review races! Writing this on February 3rd - 48 hours before publication date. Just noticed as well that have put up a Temporarily Out Of Stock sign - which means one thing and one thing only. To wit: they've moved a lot of them via "Pre-orders". Hardly surprising, given that it's been way up* in their London "guidebooks" chart these last few days.
*In the top 20, sometimes the top 10.
JAN 30TH UPDATE: Don't just have a "preview" copy, have about a 100 copies! The consignment arrived a couple of days ago. And, yes, like Adam, I'm "packing" a couple of copies on my (David's) walks. So if you're on same and would like one...well, just say the word. And that'll be the case with a good few of the other guides as well, especially the author-guides.
JAN 20TH: We're closing and closing fast. Publication date (Feb. 5) is just round the corner. And, yes, I've got a copy! Random House rang up a week ago and said "just got our first copies in, if you're down this way why don't you stop by and pick one up." And whooooooosh it was. I knew there was a reason for getting that bigger bike a couple of months ago!  
(And while we're at it, see also the Books page - the full complement of London Walks Guides-authored books is set out there. Along with a couple of very special wild cards!)
First reaction: the heft is perfect. Heft? Yup, heft. It's got the right "feel" to it. Literally and figuratively. Got the right weight, right size. It's carry-able. That's the physical dimensions. As for the other "heft" - the "heft" that really matters - i.e., its verbal felicities, the way it reads, what you learn from it, the sheer fun of it, its stunning flashes of I-Never-Knew-That!, its "intellectual audacity" (in a phrase I use in the Introduction to describe what sets London Walks guides apart) - well, it's punching way over - WAY OVER - its weight.
Not least because it's not a bog-standard guidebook. You know the kind of thing I mean: "come out of the tube, turn left, go 25 yards, turn right at the Starbucks..." Pure chloroform - who wants to read that sort of stuff.  London Walks wouldn't be caught dead putting its imprimatur on that kind of production. In short, we've got ourselves a guidebook that is both a great armchair read and a companion for a bit of flaneuring!
It got its first "focus group" treatment on my Along the Thames Pub Walk. Handed it around - people got a good look at it - and, well, I was very confident that it was going to meet with a lot of approval - but I wasn't expecting quite the response I got. Namely that had I had a satchel full of them everybody in that group - well, every singleton and doubleton (couple) - would have bought one. Or so they said.
Anyway, as you know - if you've had a mosey round this website lately - we've been running with the cover for several months now. And we've been trailing several of the chapters via audio clips. Indeed, people have been pre-ordering it - on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Waterstones, etc. - all autumn. (I've been astonished at high it's been bobbing along in the Amazon charts. It bops about but it's not unsual for it to be in the top 25 in its Amazon category. Not bad for a book that's yet to be published.)
This, for example, on "inauguration day" (84 minutes before the shoe drops, if that's the mot juste)
Popular in these categories:
#16 in Books > Reference > Atlases & Maps > Countries A-Z > United Kingdom > Special Interest > Hiking
#18 in Books > Travel & Holiday > Countries & Regions > United Kingdom > Regions > South & South East England > London, Greater London
#22 in Books > Reference > Atlases & Maps > Cities A-Z > London
That said, we're now just days away from publication date - Februrary 5th. So it's going to get rather more of an airing here on from here on out. A lot more about structure, content, who the 17 author-guides are, etc. etc. So stay tuned.
First update. Structure. It's 23 chapters plus an Intro.
Here's the line-up:
Foreward by Rick Steves ("the leading authority on independent European travel")
Introduction by David Tucker
(click on the title to hear the opening "bars" of the chapter)
Tale of Two Cities
The Famous Square Mile by Judy Pulley
The City at Night by Peter Glancy
Literary London
Shakespeare's London by Shaughan Seymour
Bloomsbury: The Heart of Literary London by Brian Hicks
London's Villages
Highgate Village by John Mahoney
(click on the title to have a bit of this chapter read to you)
(click on the title to hear the opening "bars" of this chapter)
Old Chelsea Village by Brian Hicks
Old Soho and Its Pubs by Ed Glinert
Mystery and Secrets: Hidden London
Secrets of the City by Hilary Ratcliffe
(click on the title to hear the opening of this chapter)
The Royal City
The Old Palace Quarter by Angela Down
A Right Royal Route by Richard Roques
South of the River
(click on the title to hear Nick reading a bit of this chapter)
(click on the title to hear Adam reading a bit of this chapter)
Early and Mediaeval London
The Origins of London by Kevin Flude
(click on the title to hear Sue reading a bit of this chapter) 
Of Law and Newspapers
(click on the title to hear Tom reading from this chapter)
(click on the title to hear Adam reading a slice of this chapter)
                   The Street - Yup, that street - Fleet Street
Sinister London
Jack the Ripper by Donald Rumbelow
Haunted London by Shaughan Seymour
Dickens's London
Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol by Jean Haynes
Second update. The line-up itself speaks volumes. The world's leading expert on Jack the Ripper wrote the Ripper chapter! London's best ghost walk guide wrote the Haunted London chapter. A top journalist wrote the Fleet Street chapter. A barrister wrote the Inns of Court chapter. A (former) Museum of London Archaeologist wrote The Origins of London chapter. And so on. Well, you'll get my drift...