Michael Lewis writes 'stunning' coronavirus book for Allen Lane

Michael Lewis writes 'stunning' coronavirus book for Allen Lane

Michael Lewis has written a “stunning” book on a group of people who predicted the coronavirus pandemic, to be rushed out by Allen Lane.

Tom Penn, publishing director at Penguin Press, acquired UK and Commonwealth rights to The Premonition: A Pandemic Story from Peggy Boulos Smith at Writers Hours.

Set for publication on 4th May 2021, the book is billed as the “extraordinary” tale of those who “anticipated, traced and hunted the coronavirus; who understood the need to think differently, to learn from history, to question everything; and to do all of this fast, in order to act, to save lives, communities, society itself”.

Its synopsis explains: “In January 2020, as people started dying from a new virus in Wuhan, China, few really understood the magnitude of what was happening. Except, that is, a small group of scientific misfits who in their different ways had been obsessed all their lives with how viruses spread and replicated – and with why the governments and the institutions that were supposed to look after us, kept making the same mistakes time and again. This group saw what nobody else did. A pandemic was coming. We weren’t prepared.”

Lewis is a journalist and bestselling author of books including Moneyball (WW Norton), The Big Short (Penguin) and Flash Boys (Penguin). Through Nielsen BookScan's TCM in the UK he has sold 689,075 books for £7m, with The Big Short his bestseller, on 105,570 copies sold in paperback.

He said of the new book: “I’ve effectively been quarantined with my characters — three of the best characters I have ever had — and it has been as unsettling for them as it has been delightful for me.”

Penn added: “The Premonition is at once a stunning, unsettling, edge-of-the-seat story, a powerful reminder of what happens when our systems fail us, and a revelatory exploration of the fallibilities and possibilities of the human mind. Michael is, quite simply, one of the greatest storytellers of our time, and this extraordinary book will without a doubt be one of the defining accounts of our pandemic age.”