John Murray editorial director Mark Richards bought world English rights to Orient by Stephan Abarbanell, a literary thriller published last month in Germany by Blessing Verlag. US rights were sold in a pre-empt at the Frankfurt Book Fair to Claire Wachtel at Harper.
Richards bought world English rights from Gesche Wendebourg at Random House Germany; rights in Holland have also been sold at auction to Signatuur. John Murray plans to publish Orient as a hardback in spring 2017.
A literary thriller, it is described as “an epic novel about the world in the aftermath of catastrophe”, set in 1946 against the backdrop of Zionist resistance to the British mandate in Palestine and in the ruins of post-war Europe. The plot revolves around Lilya Wasserfall, involved in the resistance, and tasked with a mission to search for a missing Jewish scientist Raphael Lind in the ruins of post-war Germany.
Richards said: “Orient is exactly what you want in a literary thriller; it is both very well-written and hugely compelling, and examines a situation of great moral complexity and, sadly, still contemporary relevance. I’m so pleased that we’ll be publishing it in the UK, and that it’s so quickly found such a good home in the US.”
Orient is Abarbanell’s first novel. Born in Braunschweig in 1957, he grew up in Hamburg and now lives in Potsdam and is the culture editor of RBB Broadcasting.