Faber & Faber has acquired The City That Fell off a Cliff by historian Matthew Green following a "heated" nine-way auction.
Laura Hassan, editorial director, acquired UK and Commonwealth rights excluding Canada from Chris Wellbelove at Greene & Heaton.
The City That Fell Off A Cliff tells the "fascinating" story of the British Isles through our lost cities, ghost towns, and vanished villages.
The synopsis reads: "Some places were razed to the ground, others wiped out by pestilence, and a few deliberately drowned. The reasons for their demise vary, but the engrossing tale of each forgotten settlement tells us something important about the history of Britain and why it looks the way it does today. In this unique blend of groundbreaking history and travelogue, Green will explore not just the physical remains but the extraordinary stories of how those places met their fate. The author's journey will take him from the Neolithic stone cottages of Skara Brae in the Orkneys to the ruins of Greyfriars Priory in Dunwich, as he vividly evokes these lost worlds and animates the people who lived, worked, and died there. It is a book that looks at the forces that shaped our isles and reminds us of the precariousness of our own towns and cities today."
Green is a historian, writer and presenter. He has a PhD in the history of the mass media from Oxford University and runs Unreal City Audio, which offers historical tours of London for the public. He is the author of London: A Travel Guide Through Time (Michael Joseph) and writes historical features for the Telegraph, Guardian and Londonist.
Green said: "It's a great honour to be working on this book with Faber & Faber, the publisher of many of my favourite writers. Laura has an intuitive grasp of where I want to go with the writing, and I know that the whole team at Faber will do a brilliant job of helping me realise my dream of resurrecting the places that fell through the fault lines of history."
Hassan said: "In turning our gaze towards the ghost towns and lost cities Green enriches our understanding of British history and give us a truer picture of the progress of time. He combines scholarship with first class storytelling and unusually vivid prose. Green is a remarkable talent and I am absolutely delighted to welcome him to Faber & Faber."
North American rights were sold this week to Matt Weiland at W. W. Norton, at auction, by Zoë Pagnamenta of the Zoë Pagnamenta Agency, acting on behalf of Chris Wellbelove at Greene & Heaton.
Faber & Faber will publish as a lead title in 2019.