Doubleday has pre-empted The Second Sight of Zachary Cloudesley by Sean Lusk, a historical debut set against the backdrop of 18th-century London and Constantinople.
Editor Eloisa Clegg acquired UK and Commonwealth rights from David Headley at DHH. Publication is slated for summer 2022.
The novel is billed as a "dazzling and imaginative" tale of a young man’s search for his father. The synopsis reads: "In 1754, maker of clocks and automata Abel Cloudesley is stricken when his wife departs the world at the moment of the birth of his son, Zachary. After a fateful accident leaves Zachary nearly blinded, Abel decides that he must leave his son in the care of an eccentric aunt while he completes a precarious job in Constantinople. He is never seen again. As Zachary grows older, he is plagued by visions that reveal the hearts and minds of those around him. It is these visions that will help him complete the journey he must take – to travel across Europe to Constantinople and find out what happened to his father all those years ago."
Clegg said: "This is a rich, detailed and vibrant tale of a young man finding himself. It has everything you would want: wonderfully realised descriptions, unforgettable characters and a storyline that encompasses the essence of that human yearning for love and acceptance. And with a dash of magical realism, it is original, complex, funny and thoroughly immersive. I cannot wait for readers to fall in love with Zachary Cloudesley."
Lusk added: "In a back alley in Istanbul a couple of years ago I found a clock made on Leadenhall St, London, in 1750. As soon as I held it I knew it was going to take me on a journey, one which led to the discovery of intrigue in the Ottoman court of the 18th century, of sinister diplomacy in time of war, of fearless women fighting for their rights, and of a chess-playing automaton that was far from what it seemed. The story of Zachary and Abel Cloudesley is of its time and, I hope, of all time."
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