Saul David signs three-book deal with William Collins

Saul David signs three-book deal with William Collins

William Collins has landed Saul David’s "compelling" new history of Okinawa, the last major battle of the Second World War, in a three-book deal.

Publishing director Arabella Pike acquired UK and Commonwealth rights for the books from Caroline Michel at PFD.

The first title, Crucible of Hell, is out in April, coinciding with the battle of Okinawa’s 75th anniversary. Its synopsis reads: "Too often missing from Western-centric narratives, this blood-soaked 83-day battle on the small Pacific island had profound consequences for the modern world and ultimately led to President Truman’s decision to deploy the atomic bomb."

His second title will be the first authorised history of the Special Boat Service (SBS), the special forces unit of the Royal Navy. With unparalleled access to the SBS archive alongside newly unclassified material, he will detail the formation, covert operations and characters of the famously secret unit during the Second World War. Publication is scheduled for autumn 2021.

Details of the third title will be announced at a later date.

Pike said: "We are so delighted to be working with Saul David on these three exciting new books. Like the very best historians of war, he combines great original scholarship with deft handling of the big picture and an intense human account of what it was like to live through conflict. April/May 2020 marks 75 years since the battle of Okinawa and with Crucible of Hell, Saul David has written one of the most compelling portraits of a battle I have read."

David is a broadcaster and professor of military history at the University of Buckingham whose previous books include 2004’s Zulu (Penguin), which was named a Waterstones Military History Book of the Year.

He said: "I’m thrilled to be joining such a stellar cast of authors at William Collins, and much look forward to working with Arabella Pike, a legend in non-fiction publishing. I anticipate a long and fruitful partnership."