HC buys fantasy debut by 18-year-old

HarperCollins has acquired a fantasy debut by 18-year-old classical musician, Stefan Bachmann.

Editorial director Nick Lake bought UK and Commonwealth rights in The Peculiar and one other from Greenwillow Books at HarperCollins US. The first book will be published in hardback 2012, with paperback to come in spring 2013.

Bachmann is currently studying music at the Zurich Conservatory in Switzerland, and he began writing the book when he was 16. It is set in an alternative Victorian England, and follows Bartholomew Kettle, a changeling child, despised by both humans and faeries. His mother keeps him locked away, but when changelings start surfacing in the Thames, their bodies empty of blood and bone and their skin etched with red tattoos, he realises something is coming for him.

Bachmann plans to compose musical pieces to be released throughout the publication season of both The Peculiar and the sequel, which will then be used to create a multimedia e-book.

Lake said: "Stefan Bachmann is a disgustingly talented young man, and The Peculiar is just the kind of book I love. Readers of almost all ages will be utterly enchanted by this magical and beautifully written tale, as well as by the exceptional fusion of storytelling and music that will come from experiencing the book alongside its brilliant soundtrack."