I am hugely and particularly grateful to my special friend and colleague, Dr Andy Prendergast, who has championed this project from the outset, was instrumental in the early planning stages, and contributed specifically to the envenomation chapter and the reference list. Without his unique charm, consistent good humour, boundless energy, and engaging optimism, this manuscript would certainly never have seen the light of day.
I would also like to thank Emeritus Professor David Warrell for generously sharing notes and insights on envenomation; I could not have asked for a more esteemed source of wisdom on this topic.
It has been a pleasure to work with Nicola Wilson, Caroline Smith, and Karen Moore at Oxford University Press; I am hugely indebted to them for having the courage to take on this new and unusual challenge, and grateful for everything they have taught me along the way—it has been an amazing journey. Special thanks to Caroline, Karen, and the OUP design team for being so accessible, enthusiastic, and accommodating.
A band of loyal supporters has provided encouragement along the way. Thank you to all those who have participated in review, feedback, and critique of the manuscript, as well as keeping me generally afloat. For their thoughtful and positive suggestions on early manuscript drafts, particular thanks to Howard Moore, Sarah Oakley, and Jo Szram. For moral support, words of wisdom, and sustained optimism throughout this project (and beyond), thank you to Susie Dunachie and Paul Klenerman.
Finally, sincere thanks to three generations of my remarkable family, who constantly delight, inspire, and cheer me on. David, Clare, Andrew, Phoebe, and Rachel, you are my heroes.
Philippa C. Matthews