For Dave

The characters and backgrounds of Franklin Marks, Fennec, Fred Berkov, and many other characters that populate my universe, sprang entirely from the head of my close friend David Allan. My job of telling those characters' stories is relatively simple, given the quality of material Dave gave me to work with. Although my name appears at the top of each story, Dave's contribution has been immense.

Dave died in 2002, after fighting against illness for much of his life. Other people have already praised his many qualities. All I can do is tell you about the depth and breadth of his imagination, his ability to draw my story threads into conclusions I hadn't even seen myself, his painstaking (and occasionally annoying) attention to detail, his efforts to find and plug gaping holes in my plots, and his joy in enriching my world with the stories of an array of fascinating and complex characters.

Fourteen years after he left us, I can still write a new story and realise that something of Dave's is in there. If the story of the Heroes Universe ever reaches its last chapter, I will still be able to point to parts of it and say, "that's Dave's". Just one more reason why he won't be forgotten.

This is for Dave. Sorry it's taking me so long to finish it.