Publishers put Scientology under the spotlight

Scientology is a hot topic at the moment, with Paul Thomas Anderson's film "The Master" partly inspired by the impact of the movement's founder, science-fiction author L Ron Hubbard.

The controversial organisation will be subjected to further scrutiny in the new year with new books examining how the Church of Scientology operates.

On 7th January, Silvertail Books will release The Church of Fear: Inside the Weird World of Scientology, by journalist John Sweeney. The "Panorama" reporter made two programmes on the church, famously clashing with a Scientology spokesman in a scene that went viral online.

Silvertail publisher Humfrey Hunter said: "These kinds of books have never really been done before, so it's a really interesting time for Scientology. It's a long process. I think the reason they are starting to appear now is that more and more people have been able to leave over the years, and are finally able to talk about what they experienced."

He added: "The internet has made it easier for people who went through the same things to come together and talk about it. There's been this creeping growth, and now it has reached a tipping point." The book will be released as a paperback at £12.99, and around the world in all English language territories, including the US, as an e-book costing £3.99.

A first-hand account of life in the church is released by William Morrow on 12th February priced at £11.99. Jenna Miscavige Hill, the niece of the current church leader David Miscavige, is a former Scientologist who tells her story in Beyond Belief: My Secret Life Inside Scientology and My Harrowing Escape.

Hill is an outspoken critic of the church, made famous by celebrity practitioners including Tom Cruise and John Travolta.