The second of two previews of agents' hotlists on the eve of the Frankfurt Book Fair.
WME UK has a black comedy from Brock Clarke on submission. In The Happiest People in the World, a Danish cartoonist escapes bomb threats and flees to upstate New York. Alix Christie's novel Gutenberg's Apprentice, also on submission, tells the story of the birth of the printing press—and the Frankfurt Book Fair. The Book of Memory is a novel by Petina Gappah, sold to FSG in the US and Faber in the UK, following a woman writing her defence from a Zimbabwean prison cell. Laline Paull's novel The Bees, set in a beehive on the verge of collapse, has been signed by HarperCollins in the UK, US and Canada, with offers from other territories.
AM Heath has done eve-of-Fair deals in the UK for S L Grey's Underground and for debut thriller writer Steve Cavanagh. The agency is bringing The Country of Ice Cream Star by Sandra Newman, which presents an indomitable heroine, with Chatto buying UK rights and Ecco signing it in the US. How to Make a Friend by Fleur Smithwick sees a woman wake from a coma to find her imaginary friend back in her life and more demanding that ever.
David Higham Associates is bringing Paula Hawkin's début The Girl on the Train, sold to Transworld in the UK with pre-empts accepted in Germany, Holland and Spain. Also with Transworld is Jimmy Rice and Laura Tait's co-written The Best Thing That Never Happened to Me, a love story narrated by a man and woman in turn. Biblical is a "high-concept thriller" about international hallucinations written by Christopher Galt, placed with Quercus in the UK, and sold in Brazil, Germany, Italy and Turkey. Tim Winton's Eyrie is a novel that asks how we can do good in a compromised world, while Would You Kill the Fat Man? by philosopher Dave Edmonds is a non-fiction study on moral dilemmas, published by Princeton University Press in the UK and US.
United Agents and AP Watt are bringing heavyweight non-fiction with Kate Williams' biography Josephine: Desire, Ambition, Napoleon, sold in several territories, and Family Politics: Domestic Life, Revolution and Dictatorships, 1900–1950 by Paul Ginsborg, representing 25 years of work on the topic, and coming from Yale University Press in the UK and US. Creation Stories: Riots, Raves and Running a Label by Alan McGee charts record label Creation's impact on British music, with Macmillan publishing here. In fiction, Joanna Trollope's new novel The Breadwinners, about a successful working woman, has been delivered; while Toby Clements' Winter Pilgrims, the first in a three-book deal set during the War of the Roses, has gone to Century. A Slight Trick of the Mind by Mitch Cullin, featuring a 93-year-old Sherlock Holmes, was originally published in 2005 in the US, and is now being made into a film starring Sir Ian McKellen. A UK publisher has been found but is still to be announced. The Distinguished Things by Anthony Quinn is a mystery set in 1930s London theatreland, with Cape signing UK and Commonwealth rights. More non-fiction comes from Dr John Briffa, Ian Mortimer and Dominic Lieven.
PFD has début thriller Wolf Winter by Cecilia Eckback, signed by Hodder in the UK, Weinstein in the US, HarperCollins in Canada and Droemer in Germany. Catherine Chanter's The Well has been pre-empted by Atria in the US, Fischer in Germany and Ambo Anthos in the Netherlands, with offers in the UK; it is a chilling suspense story set to the backdrop of a three-year nationwide drought in the UK. Daisy Goodwin's The Fortune Hunter is with Headline here and St Martin's Press in the US—the historical novel follows Empress Sisi of Austria and her affair with a charismatic horseman. In non-fiction, Transworld has signed Bear Grylls' True Grit: The Epic True Stories of Heroism and Survival that have Shaped My Life. Victor Maymudes' Another Side of Bob Dylan is a portrait of the singer by his former tour manager and has been pre-empted by St Martin's Press for US rights, and Caught in the Revolution: Petrograd 1917 by Helen Rappaport explores the Russian Revolution from the perspective of foreign nationals trapped there.
Luigi Bonomi Associates is bringing Karen Swan's Christmas at Claridges, a tale set in London and Italy, with UK and Commonwealth rights sold to Macmillan. Sarah Skye's Code Red Lipstick follows a teenage model-turned-spy investigating her father's death, with world rights signed by Scholastic. In non-fiction, former Capitol Hill press secretary Ion Valaskis examine how mistakes inform us in The Magnificent Mistake, on submission. End Game: Tipping Point for Planet Earth by Professor Tony Barnosky looks at our failing environment, with HarperCollins signing UK rights. Professor Bryan Sykes' The Yeti Enigma explores the yeti myth, with his surprising findings now on submission.
Curtis Brown brings Evie Stevie by Linda Grant, a novel set in 1970s Yorkshire, with a glamorous, androgynous couple arriving at a university campus. Virago will publish in the UK next year. The Serpent Papers by Jessica Cornwell is a début thriller set in Barcelona, where bodies are found with strange tattoos and their tongues removed. Sam Bourne's American Winter features a journalist uncovering China's power in the US, with HarperCollins publishing in the UK. Faber has signed rights in Kate Hamer's Girl in the Red Coat, about an abducted girl, with rights also sold in Germany and the Netherlands. In non-fiction, The Billion Year Business by Andrew Parker shows what technology can learn from the natural world.
Capel & Land is offering One Night in Winter by Simon Sebag Montefiore, a new novel set in Moscow in 1945, where the death of two teenagers collides with Stalin's victory. Century will publish in the UK, while US rights have gone to HarperCollins. Katharine Grant's Sedition is her first adult novel, following five girls in London in 1974. Virago has UK and Commonwealth rights. Kindle bestseller The Detective's Daughter by Lesley Thomson, published by Head of Zeus in the UK, has all other rights available. In non-fiction, Allen Lane has UK rights in Andrew Roberts' biography of Napoleon, with Dutch, Hebrew and US rights also sold. Faber has world English rights to Turkish Awakening by Alev Scott, an Anglo-Turk's rediscovery of Turkey in a time of change.
David Godwin Associates brings début novel The Defections by Hannah Michell, a novel of betrayal set in South Korea. Quercus has UK and Commonwealth rights. Fellow début A Bad Character by Deepta Kapoor, set in Delhi, tells the story of an intense affair, with rights sold to Cape in the UK, Knopf in the US, plus India and France. Marie Phillips also returns with The Table of Less Valued Knights, following the less-celebrated Arthurian heroes. In non-fiction, James Mallinson and Mark Singleton's Roots of Yoga explores the history of the Indian tradition, and William Skidelsky's Federer and Me explores his fascination with the Swiss tennis ace.
Janklow & Nesbit has psychologist Tanya Byron's The Skeleton Cupboard, sold to Pan Macmillan after an 11-way auction, with pre-empts from the US, Holland and Germany. The Knowledge: How to Rebuild the World from Scratch by Lewis Dartnell is popular science that asks what skills would we need to begin after the apocalypse, with rights sold to The Bodley Head in the UK, Penguin Press in the US, and several others. J&N also has an untitled book by Chris Lintotton on crowdsourcing, acquired by Orion. In fiction, C E Smith's début My Brother's Keeper follows a surgeon whose brother is killed by terrorists, with Atlantic signing UK rights. Mantle has signed UK and Commonwealth rights to Before the Fall by Juliet West, a story of an East End love affair during the First World War.
The Hanbury Agency brings fiction from 16-year-old author Anna Caltabiano: The Seventh Life of Miss Hathfield follows a time-travelling girl, and is to be the first of a trilogy. The Whitehall Mandarin by Edward Wilson is a Cold War espionage thriller. In non-fiction, Young Kim and Paul Gorman present a portrait of punk pioneer Malcolm McLaren in The Sound of Fashion, The Look of Music, with rights available in several territories. Empathy: A Handbook for Revolution by Roman Krznaric shows how the emotion can shape our thinking and our lives. Luke Dormehl's The Formula: How Algorithms Solve All our Problems, and Create More, explores how we are living in a world dominated by numbers.
Aitken Alexander has Helen Fielding's return with Mad About the Boy, out shortly from Cape. Also in fiction is Edward St Aubyn's new novel Lost For Words, a satire on contemporary culture, to be published here by Picador. Redstart by Helen Humphreys is set after the Second World War, following three lives torn apart by war. Roopa Farooki's The Good Children is an epic discussing the South Asian immigrant experience over several generations. In non-fiction, Jung Chang's Empress Cixi: The Concubine Who Launched Modern China explores the woman who turned medieval China into a modern society.
Mulcahy Associates has Paul Lynch's The Black Snow, a story of secrets and suspense set in rural Donegal, sold to Quercus in the UK. Rights have gone to Albin Michel in France. Wendy Wallace's The Sacred River has sold to Simon & Schuster in the UK and Scribner in the US, and follows Victorian women on a trip to Egypt. Death Can't Take a Joke by Anya Lipska is a crime thriller set in London's Polish community, with The Friday Project signing UK rights. M L Stewart's The Hunter, currently on submission, follows a man bent on murder, following in his father's footsteps. The Daughterhood by Natasha Fennell is currently up for auction, and is non-fiction, exploring women's relationships with their mother.
Christopher Little has Darren Shan's novel for adults (Orion)—Lady of the Shades follows a US author looking for inspiration in London, getting caught up in a deadly affair. Skinjob by Brice McCabe is a thriller set in a world where virtual sex means anything is possible, while protests lead to a deadly bombing campaign. Philip Kazan's Appetite is set in Florence, 1466, and follows Nino Latini, a man who can taste everything and dreams of creating the ultimate feast. The Feast of Artemis by Anne Zouroudi is set amid Greek olive groves, where two rival families confront each other (with Bloomsbury in the UK).
Sheil Land is selling translation rights in Neil White's new crime thriller, Next to Die, signed in the UK by Little, Brown. It also has rights available in Mark Lawrence's new epic fantasy series, The Red Queen's War, which has already been snapped up by Ace in the US and Harper Voyager here. Rights are available in Diane Setterfield's novella, Bellman and Black, a haunting tale set in Victorian England, as well as Catherine Quinn's novel The Thief Taker, a thriller set in 17th-century London. In non-fiction, Ebury has signed James Wylie and Michael McKinley's World War One Decoded in the UK, with more rights available.
Hardman & Swainson is bringing a new novel from Jenny Ashcroft called Remember Me, a story of love and loss set during the Great War, currently at auction in Germany and with offers in the UK. Tracy Buchanan's The Atlas of Us is described as a book group novel with an international setting, and has been signed by Avon in the UK. All rights are available on Kate Hulme's début Doppelgänger, a literary noir novel described as Jean-Paul Sartre meets "The Office". In non-fiction, translation rights are available on Miguel Farias and Catherine Wikholm's book From Monster to Buddha: Can People Change?, that looks at the effect of yoga and meditation. World English rights have sold to Watkins Publishing.