Gollancz makes 'dream acquisition' of Zahabi's epic fantasy

Gollancz makes 'dream acquisition' of Zahabi's epic fantasy

Gollancz has secured The Collarbound and two sequels from French-born writer Rebecca Zahabi after a submission through Hachette’s Future Bookshelf scheme for authors from underrepresented communities.

Publishing director Marcus Gipps, and senior commissioning editor Rachel Winterbottom bought the rights from Abner Stein, who was acting on behalf of Alice Speilburg of the Speilburg Literary Agency. The deal is for world English rights, including audio and translation. Gollancz is planning to publish in hardback in spring 2022. 

The blurb reads: “On the other side of the Shadowpass, rebellion is brewing and refugees have begun to trickle into the city at the edge of the world. Looming high on the cliff is The Nest, a fortress full of mages who offer protection, but also embody everything the rebellion is fighting against: a strict hierarchy based on magic abilities, and the oppression of the Kher community.
“When Isha arrives as a refugee, she attempts to fit in amongst the other mages, but her Kher tattoo brands her as an outcast. She can't remember her past or why she has the tattoo. Tatters, who wears the golden collar of a slave, knows that this rebellion is different from past skirmishes. He plans to stay in the shadows, until Isha appears in his tavern. As the rebellion carves a path of destruction towards the city, The Collarbound follows an unlikely friendship between a man trying to escape his past and a woman trying to uncover hers, until their secrets threaten to tear them apart.” 

Gipps said: “I first came across Rebecca’s work as part of Hachette’s Future Bookshelf scheme for authors from underrepresented communities. I wasn’t surprised to learn that she had found herself an agent and withdrawn from the programme, as it was obvious her work was of striking quality. When the finished book was submitted to Rachel, we both agreed it was something we had to have on the Gollancz list.” 

Winterbottom said: "The Collarbound is every SFF editor’s dream acquisition – commercial epic fantasy with a genuinely fresh magic system that fans of Brandon Sanderson and R F Kuang’s The Poppy War will adore. I’m thrilled to welcome Rebecca’s world of rebels, outcasts and magical mind-brawls to the Gollancz list."

Zahabi, who grew up in France, said: "The Collarbound is a project that’s been on my mind since I was a teenager and which has only grown since. I’ve always wanted to write about mixed identities, belonging, and how to change the world if you don’t quite fit in. So I was overjoyed when Future Bookshelf, then Gollancz, decided to help bring the characters to life.”