Gollancz has acquired an epic "coming-of-age" fantasy trilogy from author Chris Wooding in a six-figure deal.
Publishing director Gillian Redfearn pre-empted world rights to The Ember Blade and two further titles direct from the author.
Designed to return to classic fantasy adventures and values, from a modern perspective, the series follows a young man’s journey to find his destiny, featuring a cast of diverse characters, set-pieces and a plot-driven story.
First in the trilogy, The Ember Blade, which publishes February 2018, begins when the protagonist's father is executed for treason and he and his best friend Cade are thrown into a prison mine. After their escape a revolution begins to brew at the heart of which is the Ember Blade: the sword of kings and Excalibur of his people. Only with the Ember Blade in hand can their people be inspired to rise up, but it’s locked in an impenetrable vault in the most heavily guarded fortress in the land. All they have to do is steal it.
Wooding said: "With The Ember Blade I wanted to recapture the sense of wonder I felt on first discovering fantasy, but to marry it with modern storytelling sensibilities. I didn’t want the black-and-white morality of 20th century epic fantasy, but I did want its warmth and magic. I didn’t want the bleak nihilism that has prevailed in the genre of late, but I did want its nuanced characters and its willingness to plunge into darkness. Fans of 'classic' fantasy, YA adventure and GrimDark will find something to love here."
Redfearn said: "Chris Wooding has always been amazing to work with, but his new concept for an epic fantasy trilogy was a dream. A series told in a modern way, which draws on all the appeal of classic quests like David Eddings’ novels, character-driven stories like Robin Hobb’s, and British mythology from Arthur to Robin Hood. This is a series full of heart, determination and grit, and readers will adore it."