Macmillan Children's Books has won world rights in a first novel called Soldier Dog by Sam Angus, following a "hotly contested" three-way auction".
Fiction editor Rachel Petty bought world rights to the novel, the story of a boy soldier and his messenger dog during the First World War, through Lucy Juckes at Jenny Brown Associates. MCB plans to publish in September 2012.
The book tells the story of Stanley who runs away from his father to enlist in the army as a messenger dog handler. Before long he is heading to the front line with Great Dane, Bones, and as he becomes exposed to the brutality of war, he realises the loyalty of the dog is the one thing he can rely on.
Petty said: "Soldier Dog is so heartbreaking that I found myself sobbing at my desk as I read it. It has the great virtue of being an historically accurate and wonderfully vivid portrayal of the messenger dogs and their handlers. Sam really brings them to life on the page in gripping and beautifully written prose.
"Sam is a fantastic new voice in children's fiction, and we have big plans for her future at Macmillan."
Angus grew up in Spain, studied literature at Trinity College, Cambridge and taught A-level English before becoming a ski wear designer. She lives in London and Exmoor.
Photo credit: Mary McCartney