Hutchinson has acquired a new novel by Paulo Coelho called The Spy.
Coelho, bestselling author of Adultery (Arrow) and other works, has sold 200m copies in 160 countries, according to Hutchinson. His new novel is based on the life of Mata Hari, the famous courtesan and accused spy who was executed for treason 100 years ago. Coelho has previously been published by Arrow and HarperCollins.
Susan Sandon, managing director of Cornerstone - acting on behalf of Hutchinson at Cornerstone, Hamish Hamilton in Australia and New Zealand, and Penguin Random House India - struck a deal for UK and Commonwealth rights for an undisclosed figure with Mônica R. Antunes at Sant Jordi Asociados. The Spy will be published this November simultaneously with Knopf in the US.
Jocasta Hamilton, publishing director at Hutchinson, said: “We are thrilled to be publishing a new novel from one of the world’s most popular storytellers. Almost a hundred years after her execution, Mata Hari remains a fascinating figure. Paulo tells her story in a way that is gripping, thought-provoking and original.”
The Spy explores the life of Mata Hari, a dancer who shocked and delighted audiences during the First World War and became a confidant to some of the era’s richest and most powerful men. She dared to liberate herself from the moralism and provincial customs of the early twentieth century, but ultimately paid for it with her life. As she waited for her execution in a Paris prison, one of her last requests was for a pen and some paper to write letters.
The novel was made possible after MI5 in the UK and Germany and Holland released their files on Mata Hari over the last 20 years. Using first-person narrative, Coelho reimagines Mata Hari's life through her final letter, which was written the week before her execution by firing squad.
“Mata Hari was one of our first feminists,” Coelho said, “defying male expectations of that time and choosing instead an independent, unconventional life. There are lessons we can draw from her life today, where accusations by the powerful still cost the innocent their lives.”
The Spy will be published by Hutchinson in hardcover and as an e-book on 22nd November 2016.