Ebury Press has signed a two-book deal with Jenny Barden, who is this year's organiser of the Historical Novel Society Conference, with the first title to follow a stowaway on Francis Drake's ship The Swan.
Editorial director for fiction Gillian Green bought UK and Commonwealth rights, excluding Canada, from Jonathan Pegg at Jonathan Pegg Literary Agency.
The first book, Mistress of the Sea, follows the fortunes of privateer Will Doonan and Ellyn Cooksley, the object of his affections, who stow away on Francis Drake's ship The Swan. It will be released in hardback in September 2012, with paperback to follow in summer 2013. Ebury will publish Barden's second book in 2014.
Green said: "Jenny is an incredibly evocative writer whose impeccable research and love of her subject really shine through. Her novels are perfect for reading groups and all fans of historical fiction.
"Mistress of the Sea takes us well away from the perhaps over-familiar courts and palaces of most 16th century-set novels. This is a swashbuckling historical adventure set in the Caribbean with a love story at its heart."