Little, Brown bags rights to Second World War tale Liberation

Little, Brown bags rights to Second World War tale Liberation

Little, Brown UK has acquired world rights for a fictionalised take on Second World War hero Nancy Wake, due to be turned into a movie by Anne Hathaway.

Thriller Liberation will be published by Sphere editorial director Ed Wood in the UK and by senior editor Wes Miller at Grand Central in the US. It was written by Imogen Kealey, a pseudonym for screenwriter Darby Kealey and author Imogen Robertson. Broo Doherty at DHH Literary Agency represented Robertson, with Rachel Clements at Abner Stein on behalf of CAA, representing Kealey.

The novel will be released in hardback, ebook and audio in spring 2020. It follows Australian-born Wake as she trains with the Special Operations Executive in Britain after the capture of her French husband by the Gestapo. She parachutes back into France to work with the Resistance, where she has a cat-and-mouse hunt with the Gestapo officer who took her husband. At her height, the remarkable Wake led 7,000 fighters and had a bounty of five million Francs on her head.

Kealey is the writer of Amazon series “The Patriot” while Robertson has written historical novels and two recent books for Wilbur Smith. Liberation is to be a major Hollywood feature film based on Kealey’s script, produced by Anne Hathaway and Jesse Silver of Mindframe Films, and starring Hathaway as Wake.

Wood said: “The novel of Liberation is one-part superb human drama, one-part cathartic zeitgeist-smashing thriller. It’s incredibly exciting and I can’t wait to share it with editors and readers around the world.”

Kealey explained: “Given the ugly resurgence of nationalism in Europe and America, this is the crucial moment to tell Nancy's story. In a time when women were largely seen as weak and victimized, she transcended traditional gender roles, seized control over hundreds of recalcitrant men, and fought like hell against the forces of patriarchal fascism, thereby providing us with a model of resistance and blazing a trail for the modern woman.”

Robertson added: “Women often appear in traditional narratives as brave helpmates or suffering innocents. Nancy is none of those things. She's a leader, a warrior and fiercely independent. The novel just watches her changing the story.”