A debut thriller which went for six figures to Orion has gone on to sell in 25 territories altogether.
The flurry of international deals over the past three months for British screenwriter Alex Michaelides' The Silent Patient is an “extraordinary” feat for a debut, according to the author's agency Rogers, Coleridge and White (RCW).
The "utterly gripping thriller", as described by Orion on its acquisition in January, follows a successful painter who shoots the husband she loves in the head five times - and then never speaks again.
Since agent Sam Copeland has sold it in a “major” pre-empt by Celadon Books in the US and a further 23 territories. As well as the UK and US, as of Wednesday (25th April) the book has sold to Brazil, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Italy Korea, Lithuania, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Turkey.
“I’m over the moon to see how publishers across the world are responding to The Silent Patient – it mirrors my first feelings when I first opened the submission and simply could not stop reading,” Copeland said.
He believes that there is "definitely still life in the old psychological thriller yet, if it is executed as brilliantly as Alex Michaelides has done".
RCW’s director, Stephen Edwards, who handles translation rights, told The Bookseller: “It is extraordinary for a debut”.
“We are very excited that the rights sales for The Silent Patient have taken off so spectacularly. This brilliant psychological thriller immediately struck a chord internationally with offers in nine territories before an English language deal was agreed.”
Edwards added: “We sell established authors like Ian McEwan and Kazuo Ishiguro very widely, but this number of sales, particularly for a debut is very rare.”
Further foreign deals are expected to follow.
Film rights to the work have also sold to an Oscar-winning producer, yet to be revealed. The thiller is slated for a hardback release in spring 2019.
Michaelides, who was screenwriter on “The Devil You Know” among other films, was inspired to write the novel partly based on his experience of working at a psychiatric unit, as well as his interest in the Greek legend of Alcestis and Agatha Christie thrillers.