Cornerstone has acquired a high-concept debut by Andrew Hunter Murray, a writer on BBC's "QI" and one of the team of writers at Private Eye, in a 24-hour pre-empt.
The novel, titled The Last Day, is set 40 years into the future after the planet’s rotation has slowed to a halt, resulting in half the earth facing the constant light of the sun while the other half lives in an endless, frozen night. The plot centres on a young scientist who is called back to London from the frozen Atlantic and begins to uncover a truth which could change the future of the human race.
The deal for British Commonwealth and exclusive Europe rights in the thriller was struck by Cornerstone m.d. Susan Sandon and publisher Selina Walker with Peter Straus at Rogers, Coleridge & White. The book will be a Hutchinson hardcover in 2020.
Walker said both she and Sandon had been "bowled over" by the world Murray had created. "His vision is terrifyingly plausible and his fiction plays with themes that are all too relevant today," she expanded. "This is a truly prescient, gripping, accomplished read that keeps you glued to the pages while making you think about the fragility of the world around us. It is particularly exciting to be publishing such an original and creative writer at the beginning of what we fully expect to be a long fiction career."
Murray is also the co-host of the "QI" podcast No Such Thing As A Fish, which has accrued 200 million downloads, and a co-author of the podcast’s spin-off books The Book of the Year and The Book Of The Year 2018 (Cornerstone). He also hosts Private Eye’s podcast, Page 94.
Of his latest project and fiction debut, Murray commented: "The idea for The Last Day grabbed me in 2016 and it didn’t let me go until it was finished. I’m thrilled to be working with the wonderfully talented team at Cornerstone, who will be bringing it to life, and I can’t wait to share the story with readers."