John Murray has acquired the debut novel from former BBC News journalist Terry Stiastny.
Acts of Omission is the first major acquisition by Mark Richards, who joined John Murray from Fourth Estate last autumn.
Richards acquired UK and Commonwealth rights excluding Canada from Rebecca Carter of Janklow & Nesbit in a two-book deal.
Acts of Omission is set in 1998 in Britain and Germany. Ten years after the Berlin Wall came down the Germans want a disk containing the names of British informants to the Stasi, which has been lost by Alex, a young man working for the SIS. When the disk is delivered to the newspaper where Alex’s ex-girlfriend Anna Travers works, “she finds herself unravelling not just a mystery, but many people’s lives – including her own”.
Richards said: “I’m delighted to be publishing Terry’s morally complex and narratively immensely satisfying novel.
“It is both a brilliant evocation of late ‘90s Britain and Berlin, and a novel of great current resonance, in these days of leaks and secrecy and government intimidation of journalists.”
Stiastny said: “I am thrilled that John Murray will be publishing Acts of Omission and very honoured to be associated with such a renowned name.
“It’s a story of political intrigue inspired by the time I spent working as a journalist in Westminster and in Berlin, about what happens when state secrets become public, and the human cost of those secrets.”
During Stiastny’s career at the BBC she worked in Berlin and Brussels, covered politics in Westminster and spent many years on BBC Radio 4 news programmes.
John Murray will publish in hardback on 17th July.