Hodder & Stoughton has snapped up debut author Claire Heywood’s “vivid and illuminating reimagining of the story of the Siege of Troy”, Daughters of Sparta.
Commissioning editor Thorne Ryan bought world rights from Sara Keane at Keane Kataria literary agency in a two-book deal. Daughters of Sparta will publish in hardback and e-book in July 2021.
Written from princesses of Sparta and sisters Helen and Klytemnestra’s point of view, “while still only girls they are separated and married off to foreign kings, never to meet again. When the weight of their husbands’ cruelty, neglect and ambition becomes too heavy to bear, they must push against the constraints of their sex to carve new lives for themselves – and in doing so make waves that will ripple throughout the next three thousand years,” says the book’s synopsis.
Heywood, who has a BA in Classical Civilisation and an MA in Ancient Visual & Material Culture from the University of Warwick, said: “With Daughters of Sparta, I set out to vindicate two vilified women. I wanted to give them voices, to discover their whole stories, to treat them as real women who lived real and complex lives. I am so glad to be sharing their story with modern readers, and very grateful to the Hodder team for making this possible.”
Ryan added: “The moment I started this wonderful novel, I knew it was special. Claire has given voices to two women who have been denied them for millennia, and I am so excited to be part of making them heard.”
Keane said: “Daughters of Sparta is a compelling story of female experience in a world of death and danger, sacrifice and loss. In this assured reimagining of the lives of Helen and Klytemnestra, Claire Heywood reveals herself as an exciting new voice in historical fiction. She couldn’t ask for a more passionate and visionary editor than Thorne, and I am thrilled that Hodder will be publishing her captivating debut novel.”