HarperCollins’ Voyager and children’s imprints have jointly acquired UK and Commonwealth rights in three novels by UK fantasy writer Joe Abercrombie.
The publishers paid a “substantial” six-figure sum for the deal, done with Robert Kirby of United Agents.
Half a King, the first of three standalone but interconnected novels aimed at younger readers, will be published in 2014. The novel is described as “a classic coming-of-age tale” set in an alternative historical world reminiscent of the Dark Ages. The story tells of Yarvi, the youngest son of a warlike king, who—as he has been born with a crippled hand—can never live up to his father’s expectations.
The publisher offered "immediately" on receiving the submission. Acquiring editor Jane Johnson, publishing director for HarperFiction, said: “I've never experienced such universal enthusiasm for a project in all my years at HarperCollins. We received the submission on a Wednesday and by Thursday afternoon everyone had read and adored it - the whole building was buzzing with the huge potential for this series. Nick Lake (Children's), Emma Coode (Voyager) and I discussed a cross-divisional strategy and on that basis offered immediately. Both Nick and I have been fans of Joe's adult work since The Blade Itself, but I had no idea he had so many other fans in-house.”
Lake said: “I’ve been a huge fan of Joe’s work for ages—his vivid imagination, unparalleled action scenes and dark humour are perfect for the crossover audience.”
Abercrombie said: “With this trilogy I’ve set out to do something a little different—shorter, tighter, and with a broad, page-turning appeal—while still giving readers the vivid characters, crunching action, twisting plots and black humour that I’m known for.”
Abercrombie’s backlist includes The First Law trilogy and standalone The Heroes, published by Gollancz.