Little, Brown imprint Orbit has won a three-way auction for two novels from Thomas D Lee, including his debut Perilous Times.
Jenni Hill, editorial director, bought UK and Commonwealth rights from Harry Illingworth at DHH Literary Agency. North American rights were pre-empted in a six-figure deal by Julian Pavia at Ballantine, from Sam Morgan at The Lotts Agency on behalf of Illingworth, while German rights were sold to Heyne at auction.
Perilous Times is billed as a "sharply witty and relevant" novel which mixes Arthurian legend with contemporary fantasy. An extract of the novel was originally submitted as Lee's MA dissertation, which was awarded a distinction and won the PFD Prize for Best Fiction in 2019. It will be published by Orbit in early 2023.
Lee commented: "I'm superlatively happy to be signing with Orbit and Ballantine, and I can't believe I get to work with a pair of accomplished, talented editors like Jenni and Julian. I'm confident that they share my strange, fantastical vision for Perilous Times and will help it to reach the widest possible readership."
Hill said: "As a die-hard Discworld fan with over a decade of commissioning novels behind me, I’ve always had a certain cynicism when comparisons to Pratchett were made. However all doubts disappeared within the first chapter of this witty and vital debut. Thomas’ novel will absolutely delight fans of Good Omens and The Old Guard, while demonstrating a uniqueness that is all Thomas’ own, and a blisteringly contemporary perspective that cements his position in the new generation of writers we are seeing address the issues of the 2020s. Lee’s writing entertains, but it also matters."