Jonathan Cape has pre-empted Life Story: Nature, Culture, Future by Jonathan Loh, "an epic, thrilling journey through the past, present and possible future of life on our planet".
Michal Shavit, publishing director, bought UK and Commonwealth rights in the work from Catherine Clarke at Felicity Bryan Associates. The book, Loh's first, will be published in 2023. North American rights have also been sold to Basic, Chinese rights to Citic and Spanish rights to Debate.
According to Cape, the book "shows us how nature gave birth to culture, how they grew apart, and asks what evolutionary history lessons we can learn to help us face the future as we reach one of the most critical junctures in the history of life on Earth".
Loh is an independent scientist and consultant to organisations including the UN Environment Programme and the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) on the conservation of biological and cultural diversity.
Shavit commented: "With this extraordinary book, Jonathan Loh brings his expert knowledge in the fields of biology and anthropology to explain life on earth. He identifies three critical stages in evolution that will make us understand our world in startlingly new ways. Could this phase of evolution on Earth be our last? How are cultural diversity and biodiversity linked? Do we have the power to change the course of history? What can we learn from our origins when trying to look to our future? These are just some of the life changing questions Loh addresses. I have no doubt this will be a groundbreaking book."