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The Dove Is Dead, the final novel in The Unholy Trilogy, is more or less ready to go, or at least was until this last week. Harold Macmillan famously answered when asked what was the biggest challenge to a statesman, “Events, dear boy, events.” He said this at a time when Armageddon was thought to be just around the corner, Nikita Khrushchev banging the table with his shoe as Macmillan addressed the UN, Tom Lehrer in 1958 writing his great We’ll all go together when we go in contemplation of ‘complete participation in that grand incineration’ of the nuclear holocaust. Well, events are proving the biggest challenge to this family saga author too. The trilogy covers the period from 1945 to 2035, with the last book the period from 2020, so mainly looking forward. It sorrowfully describes the expected decline of the western world and the Christian religion, summed up in the title The Dove is Dead. It was already proving a difficult thing to write with the pandemic casting its shadow, but mercifully that cloud seems to be lifting. Unfortunately, it has been replaced by the shadow of Putin. He’s unfortunately no Khrushchev. The Cuban Missile Crisis happened in 1962, when a young Bob Dylan wrote A Hard Rain’s a-gonna Fall, each line the first line of a song he wasn’t sure he’d have time to write. I was a sixth former waiting with every one else for the bang. It didn’t happen because Khrushchev and Kennedy were sane. Sixty years on, old Bob has written Murder most Foul, about Kennedy’s assassination which only happened a couple of years later. “Events, dear boy, events.” But we’ve had sixty years without the existential threat of nuclear annihilation, where we could think of the apocalypse in personal terms of when we’re called to meet our maker. We should have known that what can happen will eventually happen, with a madman’s finger on the button. Let’s just hope the dove isn’t dead. If the world hasn’t been blown up, I’ll publish this summer.