Melissa Cox, editorial director at Hodder & Stoughton, has pre-empted rights to publish an international conspiracy thriller, This Is Gomorrah by Tom Chatfield, tackling themes of surveillance, radicalisation, identify theft and the politics of the internet.
Cox pre-emted world rights (all languages) to the book and a sequel within 24 hours of submission ahead of ahead of Frankfurt Book Fair. The deal was struck by Jon Elek at United Agents.
Hodder Fiction’s "lead title at Frankfurt", the title is set in the technological underbelly of the 21st century, following elite hacker Azi Bello on a journey of discovery into the dark marketplace known as Gomorrah, where the world’s worst people trade lives and influence. Taking readers between London, Berlin, Athens and Los Angeles, as well as into terrorist-controlled Syrian cities, This Is Gomorrah explores what it means to win, and to lose, at the global games of ideology and power.
Chatfield, who studied and taught at St John's College, Oxford, published his first book on the culture of videogames, Fun Inc (Virgin) in 2010, followed by further books on technology and new media.
Cox said: "I knew from his non-fiction that Tom knew the tech world and the darker recesses of the Internet, but I was thrilled to discover that he also knows how to pack a punch as a writer of fiction. This is the book you’d get if Jason Bourne knew as much as Edward Snowden – but also had a sense of humour. It explores the ways in which the internet has transformed human behaviour and morality and brilliantly sets up the character of Azi Bello for more escapades to come."
Chatfield said: "Years of researching, speaking and writing about the inner life of 21st technology have exposed me to a host of true stories almost too strange for fiction: unseen battles that define the politics, conflicts, passions and perils of our age. Weaving this covert realm into narrative is a chance to take readers into a dark zone that underpins every aspect of ordinary life—that connects social media and mobile phones to the inner workings of the Islamic State, and reveals our astonishing vulnerability to technological manipulation. I'm massively excited to have the opportunity to tell this story."
This Is Gomorrah will be published by Hodder & Stoughton in spring 2019, in hardback and e-book.