Ebury's new science-fiction and fantasy imprint, Del Rey, which shares its name with the already-established Random House US imprint, will begin publishing in early 2013.
With editorial director Michael Rowley at the helm, the imprint will work closely with Del Rey in the US, acquiring authors jointly where possible, and working together on marketing and publicity campaigns. Ebury's Del Rey will also acquire authors solely for the UK market, and plans to publish one or two such titles each month.
The first titles to come from the UK publisher include two from Mark Hodder, winner of the Philip K Dick award. A Red Sun Also Rises will be published in early 2013 as a £16.99 hardback, followed by a second book in Steampunk series The Burton & Swinburne Adventures, which features explorer and scholar Captain Sir Richard Francis Burton. The title of the book is yet to be confirmed.
Rowley has also acquired début author Liesel Schwarz's Steampunk trilogy The Chronicles of Light and Shadow, with the first book in the series, A Conspiracy of Alchemists, to be published as a £14.99 hardback in early 2013. Rowley described it as "full of action, suspense and passion" and claimed readers would be "begging for more".
Rowley also snapped up three books in The Penitent Damned series by Django Wexler following an auction. The first book in the series, The Thousand Names, will be a £20 hardback in summer 2013. The publisher described it as "an epic fantasy that is full of great characters in a unique setting, complete with conspiracies, politics and bloodshed galore".
Rowley, who joined Random House in December 2011 after seven years as an SF and fantasy specialist buyer at Waterstones, said the publisher will be building up a platform for the imprint in the UK using social media. He also said the imprint plans to publish across all formats, depending on the individual title.
Rowley said: "There is lots to offer in the SFF genre at the moment; there is so much media stuff around—TV, films, games—that it reaches a wider audience. We've had quite a few years of urban fantasy and paranormal romance doing really well, and on the other side, the more traditional fantasy stuff too, like George R R Martin. People are passionate within the genre."
Rowley said trends coming through for the genre were the anti-hero persona in fantasy, with science-fiction becoming a "bit darker and more visceral".