A debut literary crime thriller, Sixteen Horses, by UEA graduate Greg Buchanan has been snapped up following an exclusive partial submission at pre-empt by Mantle in the UK, and by Flatiron in the US for a six-figure sum.
Editorial director at Flatiron Books Noah Eaker secured the first deal by pre-empting North American rights at six-figures and Maria Rejt, publisher at Pan Macmillan imprint Mantle, similarly pre-empted, after receiving the exclusive partial submission by Sam Copeland at RCW. Sixteen Horses will be published as a lead title by both in 2021.
The debut is tipped as an early contender for book of the fair at LBF next month, already with nine foreign language already in tow through a mixture of pre-empts, auctions and offers. There are deals in Denmark, Germany, Israel, Italy, Lithuania, Norway and Spain as well as an ongoing auction in the Netherlands.
"Sixteen horses are found buried on a farm near the sea, with only their eyes exposed to the light of the sun," reads the synopsis. "After veterinary forensics expert Cooper Allen travels to the scene and something deadly is discovered lurking there, the dying seaside community of Ilmarsh goes into quarantine.
"With hysteria mounting and fighting her own demons, Cooper must work with Inspector Alec Nichols to uncover the truth behind these shocking events. But not everything in Ilmarsh is at it seems and as Cooper battles through her recovery, forces move to prevent the uncovering of a past long thought forgotten."
Copeland signed Buchanan, who also writes graphic novels and video games, after meeting through a mentoring scheme at UEA (University of East Anglia). Copeland told The Bookseller he beat off seven other interested agents to represent the 29-year-old.
Copeland said: “I had to fight a fierce battle with a large number of agents to get to represent Greg, but it was worth it. The fact that this has sold so widely on just a partial is totally unsurprising; as soon as you start reading, you know you are in the hands of a very special writer indeed.”
Rejt said: “What drew me to Greg's writing is the extraordinary way he evokes atmosphere - of a lost place, a community left behind. The material is haunting, in a unique way, and I know we have found a new novelist with a very special voice indeed.”
Buchanan added: “I never could have predicted quite how wonderful and overwhelming the response to Sixteen Horses would be – from receiving so many offers of representation from agents, and now the amazing pre-empts and foreign rights deals achieved by Sam and the incredible team at RCW, this has been more interest and support than I ever dreamed might be possible. I am looking forward to working with some extraordinary editors on bringing the manuscript to its full potential, and can’t wait for people to read in 2021.”
Buchanan completed his BA in English Literature at Pembroke College, University of Cambridge, his PhD at King’s College London, and the UEA Prose Fiction MA, Greg now writes prose fiction, graphic novels, and video games. Buchanan was the writer of the critically acclaimed sci-fi narrative “No Man’s Sky: Atlas Rises”, exhibited at the V&A’s 2018 video game exhibition with acclaim from Vice and GQ. Earlier this month he was named on the Forbes '30 under 30 list'.