Angry Robot Books has acquired The Second Bell by debut author Gabriela Houston: a novel inspired by the pre-Christian Slavic folklore of the author's childhood and the vast forests of her native Poland.
Angry Robot bought world English language rights, audio rights and foreign translation rights from John Baker of the Bell Lomax Moreton agency. The book will be published in March 2021.
The Second Bell follows the story of 19-year-old Salka, who is born with two hearts. She is branded a "striga" and considered a demon who must live on the edge of the forest.
She and her mother must leave society and live in squalor, and the striga tribe they find share the human belief that to follow the impulses of their "other" heart is dangerous, and invites unspoken horrors and ruin onto them all. But Salka is a headstrong and independent young woman, and when she finds herself in a life-threatening situation, she is forced to explore the depths of her true nature and test the bonds between mother and child.
Commissioning editor Eleanor Teesdale commented: "When I first heard the pitch for the book, I was worried it was too good to be true. Then it arrived in my inbox and blew me away with its magic. It’s a story with power, heart and the joy to be found from looking within yourself."
Angry Robot describes The Second Bell as "perfect for fans of Katherine Arden, Naomi Novik and Madeline Miller".