H&S buys historical secret agent thriller

H&S buys historical secret agent thriller

Hodder and Stoughton is publishing a new historical thriller, The Irregular: A Different Class of Spy, by H B Lyle, on May 18th 2017.

Publisher Nick Sayers acquired the novel plus two sequels from Jemima Hunt of The Writers’ Practice, who control translation and dramatic rights. Hodder control world English publishing rights.

The Irregular has been acquired for development as a TV series by See-Saw Films, with Saul Dibb to direct, and the author to co-adapt.

The novel is set in London in 1909 and picks up the story of Wiggins, now an ex-soldier earning a hard living as a bailiff on the streets of East London. Once the leader of a group of urchins, known as the Baker Street Irregulars, employed as spies by Sherlock Holmes, Wiggins is persuaded by Captain Vernon Kell to join the battle against covert threats to the Empire by becoming an agent in his newly-fledged Secret Service.

Sayers said: "I love the way Kell knows he can’t win the secret war with officers trained on the playing fields of Eton, but he still finds it hard to deal with Wiggins and his street smarts. This is the start of a wonderful series, which will appeal to thriller fans and historical fiction fans alike. And the Sherlock Holmes connection won’t do any harm. It will make for fantastic television – but first it will be a very enjoyable book in its own right. We are really looking forward to publication."

Lyle, who lives in South London, began his career in feature film development. He took an MA in creative writing at the University of East Anglia, an experience which led to the creation of The Irregular. He also writes screenplays and teaches undergraduates.