Stripes has acquired a middle-grade fantasy adventure by Harriet Whitehorn about a circus ship.
Ruth Bennett, editorial director at the Little Tiger fiction imprint, bought world rights to The Company of Eight and a second book in the series from Catherine Pellegrino at Marjacq Scripts.
Stripes will publish The Company of Eight in May 2018, with a sequel to follow in 2019. Whitehorn's previous middle-grade detective series, the Violet books, are published by Simon & Schuster.
The series follows the "indomitable Cass" who wants to audition for Ravellous’s Circus Ship despite her guardian Mrs Potts’s disapproval. She follows the ship which “leads her into dangers that challenge even her adventurous spirit”.
Bennett said: “In The Company of Eight, Harriet has created a wonderfully unique and richly imagined world of circus boats, mysterious archipelagos and dangerous exploits. At the story's heart is Cassandra Malvino, a young girl in search of freedom and excitement who all young readers with a taste for adventure will be sure to love.”
Whitehorn, who is based in London, described how she had first "dreamt up" the series as a child.
She said: "I am thrilled to be working with the team at Stripes on my new novels. I think they are the perfect publisher for my rip-roaring tales of princes, perils and acrobatic capers featuring the indomitable Cass.
"The books are set in a world that I first dreamt up as a child and have been carrying around in my imagination ever since, so it is a delight to finally get the stories down on paper and share them with readers.”
Whitehorn’s Violet books have been shortlisted for several awards, including the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize, the Sainsbury’s Children's Book Award and the Crimefest Best Crime Novel for Children (for ages eight to 12).
Before becoming a full-time writer, she worked in building conservation.