Michael Joseph has snapped up a "pulse-racing emotional thriller" by Sunday Times bestselling author Lauren Beukes.
The publisher acquired UK and Commonwealth rights, excluding South Africa, to Afterland from Oliver Munson at the A M Heath Literary Agency.
"Set in a near future where men are almost extinct, as one of the survivors, 12-year-old Miles is now one of the most valuable commodities in the world," reads the synopsis. "His mom, Cole, will do whatever it takes to get him to safety. But, as their journey takes them across a dangerous and changed America, Cole’s chances of securing freedom for her child seem ever more uncertain."
Beukes is the award-winning South African author of The Shining Girls (HarperCollins) and Zoo City (Penguin) among other works. Her novels have been published in 24 countries and are being adapted for film and TV. She said: "I was excited to write a world-without-men novel that allows women to be the villains as well as the heroes, blow up our ideas of gender and sexuality and also tell a very intimate story of a mother and son on the run from the worst person she knows, Cole’s sister. I’m thrilled to be working with the team at Michael Joseph."
Michael Joseph fiction publishing director Maxine Hitchcock said: "Lauren Beukes’ unique voice and powerful imagination combine in Afterland to create an inventive, unforgettable novel. Her previous titles have won her richly deserved accolades and effusive praise from readers and reviewers, and she’s an author who never fails to impress and entertain – we are hugely excited and proud to be publishing her new book this year."