Atlantic lands Walters' English Civil War historical novel

Atlantic lands Walters' English Civil War historical novel

Atlantic has landed The Swift and the Harrier, a new historical novel about the English Civil War by Minette Walters.

Set in Dorset during the English Civil War of 1642-1649, the novel will be published on 2nd November by Allen & Unwin in Australia and New Zealand, and on 4th November by the Allen & Unwin imprint of Atlantic Books in the UK.

Atlantic publishing director Sarah Hodgson and Allen & Unwin publisher Annette Barlow jointly acquired UK and Commonwealth rights from Jane Gregory at David Higham Associates.

The synopsis explains: "Walters’ novels are characterised by powerful storytelling, vivid settings, and vibrant characters. The Swift and the Harrier is a sweeping tale of adventure and loss, sacrifice, and love, with a unique and unforgettable heroine at its heart. As civil war breaks out between the King and Parliament, and families and communities across England are riven by different allegiances, Jayne Swift, a Dorset physician from a Royalist family, offers her services to both sides in the conflict, witnessing the brutality of war and the devastation it wreaks."

Atlantic kicked off a marketing campaign this week with an animated cover reveal, alongside a proof mailing evoking the book’s time period and setting, which will be sent to influential reviewers and journalists. Early readers will be targeted throughout the summer in the lead-up to publication with a rigorous pre-order campaign in place for Waterstones and independent booksellers, with a view to working particularly closely with independents in the Dorset and West Country region, due to the book’s setting. On publication, the book will form a key focus for Atlantic’s Christmas campaign.

Walters enjoyed a long and illustrious career as an author of crime fiction before turning to historical fiction and has sold 25 million books worldwide, according to the publisher. The Swift and the Harrier is her third historical novel. She has sold 1.9 million books for £11.7m in the UK through Nielsen BookScan, with her bestseller 2008's Disordered Minds (Pan), on 194,472 copies sold in paperback.

She said: "The Civil War was one of the bloodiest and most turbulent periods in England’s history. Strongly held beliefs divided families, friends and communities, and to set a story against such a background is to explore the best and worst of human nature. I loved writing The Swift and the Harrier and hope readers will find it as rewarding."

Hodgson said: "It’s been a huge honour and an utter joy to work with Annette on Minette’s wonderfully rich and emotionally satisfying novel. Jayne Swift is a remarkable creation, intelligent, capable and witty, and I can’t wait for readers to meet her."