HarperVoyager has won a four-way auction for Ascension, a “fast-paced modern science-fiction thriller” set during a mountain expedition, by Nicholas Binge.
Vicky Leech Mateos, commissioning editor, signed UK and Commonwealth rights from Alexander Cochran at Conville & Walsh. Rights have been sold in 10 territories around the world, including in the US to Riverhead at Penguin Random House.
The synopsis explains: “When a mountain mysteriously appears in the middle of the ocean, a group of scientists are sent on a secret mission to investigate it—and discover what is at the summit. Told through letters written by one scientist during the mission, the reader looks on as time and space begin to bend around the climbers as they advance higher up the mountain. Ascension is a story about memory, fatherhood, ambition and the limits of science.”
Binge was born in Singapore and has since lived in Switzerland, Hong Kong and the UK. He is an author of speculative fiction and his debut novel, Professor Everywhere, was published by Proverse Hong Kong in 2020. He lives and works in Edinburgh, where he also teaches literature.
He said: “I’m thrilled to be working with Vicky and the team at HarperVoyager. They have published some of my favourite authors, with books that have enthralled and inspired me since I was a boy. I am beyond honoured to join their ranks. With Ascension, I set out to craft a novel that was challenging, terrifying and heartbreaking, all at once. I wanted to use the full and rich canvas of genre fiction—sci-fi, gothic, horror, thriller—to explore some of the fundamental questions behind what it means to be human, questions about free will and consciousness, about ego and guilt. Vicky picked up on all that from day one, and I’m so excited to work with someone so passionate about bringing my book to the world.”
Leech added: “Ascension captivated me. From the opening page, I was met with the unexpected. The writing is tense, immediate, intriguing; big ideas are delivered with an icy clarity. Nick combines a heart-stopping thriller with insights and real heart, drawing contrasts between the search for adventure and the quest for scientific discovery. This is one mountain of a novel and I’m so excited to welcome him to Voyager.”
Cochran commented: “I was blown away by Nick’s incredible storytelling from the moment I read an early draft of Ascension, and I’m absolutely delighted that we have found the perfect home for his writing with Vicky and the team at HarperVoyager.”