Orbit UK has pre-empted a debut epic fantasy trilogy by British author Richard Swan in a six-figure deal.
Editor James Long pre-emptively acquired world rights in a three-book deal agreed with Harry Illingworth at the D H H Literary Agency. Orbit UK will publish alongside sister imprint Orbit US as a "major" global launch with a co-ordinated campaign, with the first book in the Empire of the Wolf series scheduled for spring 2022. German rights have been pre-empted by Piper.
The Empire of the Wolf trilogy centres around Sir Konrad Vonvalt, who the synopsis describes as "an 'Emperor's Justice' ... a detective, judge and executioner rolled into one. Vonvalt travels the Empire investigating crimes and dispensing justice, but when he investigates the murder of a noblewoman, Vonvalt uncovers a plot that threatens to bring down the entire empire."
Long called it "exceptional". "Sir Konrad Vonvalt is a captivating and unconventional fantasy hero – think Shardlake and the Witcher rolled into one," he said. "The narrative voice drew me in immediately and I was gripped by the authenticity of Richard’s world-building and how the central mystery snowballs to truly empire-shattering stakes. Intrigue, action and magic combine to deliver a truly memorable reading experience. I’m thrilled to welcome Richard to Orbit."
Swan said: "Having grown up obsessed with Iain M Banks’ Culture series, being published by Orbit has, since my early teens, been a long-held ambition of mine. To see that ambition realised so fully is absolutely exhilarating, and I am tremendously grateful to my agent, Harry Illingworth, and the Orbit team for their vote of confidence in the trilogy."
Illingworth said: "Sir Konrad Vonvalt is one of the most interesting characters I’ve read in a fantasy novel for quite some time and I was hooked within a few pages of starting this smart novel. I couldn’t be more pleased that Rich’s trilogy has found the perfect home at Orbit. Its energy and excitement on both sides of the Atlantic made the decision a no brainer, and I’ve not doubt that Rich’s fantasy writing career is going to be launched in style."