Orion Fiction will publish Anna Mazzola’s "utterly immersive" historical novel, The Clockwork Girl, set in the Paris of Louis XV.
Assistant editor Olivia Barber acquired UK and Commonwealth rights in a two-book deal from Juliet Mushens at Mushens Entertainment, to publish in January 2022.
The synopsis for The Clockwork Girl says: "Mazzola’s novel plunges the reader into the glittering, rotting tumult of Louis XV’s Paris, where uncanny clockwork automata can imitate life itself, children are disappearing from the streets, Madame de Pompadour’s spies pull unseen strings, and three extraordinary women are fighting to escape their fates. Inspired by Descartes’ supposed creation of an automaton of his own daughter, as well as the case of Paris’ vanishing children, The Clockwork Girl is a spellbinding exploration of the darkness at the heart of Enlightenment France."
Barber commented: "Gorgeously evocative and addictively twisty, The Clockwork Girl is historical fiction at its best. I was completely entranced by the Anna’s vividly realised setting, from the snow-covered streets of 1750s Paris to the glittering, rotten court at Versailles, and by these three women surviving on their wits, in a world where a mechanical curiosity might be worth more than a girl’s life. Anna is an incredible storyteller, and I’m thrilled to bring her to the Orion Fiction list."
Mazzola said: "This is the first brilliant thing to happen since lockdown began. I’m delighted that Olivia and the team at Orion will be working with me on The Clockwork Girl, a book that was inspired partly by my fascination with automata and partly by the real scandal of the vanishing children of Paris. A huge thank you to my agent, Juliet, for finding my books such a wonderful home."
Mazzola is the author of two other historical novels, published with Tinder Press: The Unseeing (2017) and The Story Keeper (2019).