HarperCollins buys new series from Sidebottom

HarperFiction has signed a three-book deal with historical novelist Harry Sidebottom, for a series of novels charting the bloodshed of Imperial Rome.

The Oxford academic, who only began writing fiction three years ago, will write three books in a series called Throne of the Caesars, with the first title, Iron and Rust, planned for publication in spring 2014.

Kate Espiner, publishing director at HarperFiction, bought UK and Commonwealth rights for the books from James Gill at United Agents.

Sidebottom, fellow and director of studies in Ancient History at St Benets Hall, Oxford, has previously written five books in the Warrior of Rome series, published by Michael Joseph. His new series will be set around the tumultuous "Year of the Six Emperors" in 238 A.D.

Espiner said: "We could not be more excited to be welcoming Harry to HarperCollins. He is an extraordinary writer, who, whether in the closed-doors, small-room power-play of imperial politics, or on the grand-scale narrative of epic set-piece battle, underpins his thrilling storytelling with incredible authenticity and historical insight. His Throne of the Caesars promises readers fiction where Patrick O’Brian meets A Song of Ice and Fire.

Sidebottom said: "I'm delighted to be working with the team at HarperFiction on this new series – the faith they’ve shown with this deal is hugely energising for a novelist, and their commercial record in bringing readers to both historical and series fiction is second to none."