Trapeze has acquired a high-concept love story, The After Wife, by Cass Hunter, exploring the differences between human and virtual relationships.
The book introduces readers to Rachel Prosper, a high-flying robotics scientist who has created a humanoid android. When she dies suddenly, her grieving family take the robot she has created, which looks just like Rachel, into their home as part on an experiment and are given a second chance to connect with the woman they loved and lost.
Sam Eades, editorial director at Trapeze, acquired World rights (all languages) to The After Wife in a deal struck by Caroline Hardman at Hardman & Swainson. It publishes in January 2018 as an e-book, and in mass market paperback and audio edition formats in July 2018.
Eades said: "The popularity of the likes of Westworld and Black Mirror show the continued appetite for big, bold and ambitious stories that explore our complex relationship with technology. The pitch might be high-concept but the story Cass tells is a human one. The After Wife explores the difference between intimate relationships and virtual ones, how it is our imperfections and flaws that make us human and more universally, the gaping hole left after the death of a loved one. It is a poignant, emotional story that will resonate with readers everywhere, and I’m delighted to welcome Cass to the Trapeze family."
Hunter added: "In writing The After Wife I have loved nerding out on the research – learning about the psychology of human/ robot interaction, and about how a robot might learn to be empathetic. But much more importantly, I’ve loved thinking about love. We’ve all seen so many stories about the sinister side of robots, so I wanted to create something different. What if a robot could be endlessly kind and patient – more so than a real human being? What if it could say the things that a person might be too unaware or flawed or frightened to say? Technology brings so many new possibilities, and a love letter can come in many different forms."
Cass Hunter is the pen name of Rosie Fiore, whose novels include After Isabella, What She Left, Babies in Waiting and Wonder Women, published with Allen & Unwin. The author was born in South Africa and moved to the UK in 2000.