Blake delays Rushdie book

<p>Independent publisher John Blake has delayed publication of the biography of former Special Branch officer Ron Evans for one week, to allow Salman Rushdie time to read the whole book.<br /><br />Although originally due out on Monday (4th August), <em>On Her Majesty&#39;s Service</em> was put on hold after the publisher received a letter from Rushdie&#39;s lawyers &quot;inviting&quot; Blake to withdraw the book.<br /><br />As a result, the firm has sent a copy to the prize-winning author of <em>The Satanic Verses</em> and <em>Midnight&#39;s Children</em>, and given him until Friday to respond.<br /><br />John Blake, founder and m.d of the firm, said publication would go ahead next Monday (11th August), confident that on reading the full story Rushdie&#39;s concerns would be alleviated. &quot;We are hoping when he reads it, and sees that it&#39;s fair, he will withdraw his objections,&quot; said Blake. &quot;When he reads the whole thing, I&#39;m sure he&#39;ll feel it&#39;s a great book . . . he&#39;ll probably have a chuckle.&quot;</p><p>Rushdie was unavailable for comment. His solicitor Mark Stephens has read the book, but Rushdie, who is out of the country has not yet seen a full copy. Stephens said he was &quot;hopeful&quot; Rushdie could read it and respond by Friday, but said it was unlikely he would change his stance.</p><p>He added: &quot;Contrary to some reports, Salman won&rsquo;t apply for an injunction to prevent the book being published, but he would sue for damages &ndash; if they publish it knowing there are lies and falsehoods in the book, they will be liable for damages that flow from that.&quot;</p><p>Evans was one of the Special Branch officers assigned to protect Rushdie at the height of the Fatwa. Rushdie, who claims Evans was a driver who has magnified his own role, told the <em>Guardian</em>: &quot;This is not a free speech issue, this is libel - there is a difference between those two things.&quot; </p>