As far as I can see, no book written by a single person without the help of others would be worth reading. I'm therefore pleased to acknowledge that I did not write this book alone, and that I am extremely grateful to those who helped me out along the way. The historical scholars A. Rupert Hall and Marie Boas Hall gave me a much needed injection of enthusiasm halfway through the writing, as well as lending me the wealth of their historic know-how, and Professor Michael Hunter pointed me towards some great leads at the beginning of the project as well as commenting on some of the script. In addition, consultant haematologist Dr John Amess helped tidy-up my understanding of the science of blood transfusion reactions.
Researching the material for this book involved working in a number of archive libraries, and I would particularly like to thank the staff in the Royal Society library for their friendly assistance in finding ancient documents. Finally, my prime reader Ade'le, agent Mandy Little, commissioning editor Sally Smith, copy-editor Caroline Ellerby, production editor Amie Jackowski Tibble and picture-researcher Benjamin Earl all worked hard to give you, the reader, a book that is worth picking up and not putting down until it is finished. Thank you.