Orion Fiction has signed standalone thriller The Siege by former hostage negotiator and police officer John Sutherland.
Publishing director Francesca Pathak acquired UK and Commonwealth rights to the novel from Laura Williams at Greene and Heaton. Orion Fiction will publish a hardback in summer 2022, with a paperback to follow.
"The Siege is a fast-paced thriller told over the course of one night from three different points of view: a hostage negotiator with the police, a far-right extremist, and a female bystander who gets caught up in a terrorist incident," Orion said. Sutherland is the author of Blue and Crossing the Line, both published by W&N.
Pathak said: “I’ve always wanted to work with John once he was ready to take the leap into fiction, and reading The Siege fully cemented that fact. It’s a fantastic commercial read that pulls on John’s authenticity and themes of his non-fiction: violence and its origins, understanding why people do the things they do, and how everyone has their scars. I can’t wait to bring The Siege to readers in the UK.”
Sutherland joined the Metropolitan Police in 1992, serving for more than 25 years until his retirement in 2018. Having won the Baton of Honour as the outstanding recruit in his training school intake, he rose through the ranks to become a senior officer. During his career, he worked in a variety of roles across London, both in uniform and as a detective. He is an experienced hostage and crisis negotiator and Premier League football match commander, whose last operational posting was as the borough commander for Southwark.
He said: “As a police officer and hostage negotiator, I spent countless hours listening to people and the stories they had to tell. I listened to criminals and their victims, to the lonely and the lost, to good people having bad days, and to those who had reached the very end of themselves. In retirement, I have spent much of my time reflecting on all that I heard and what it might mean."
The author added: "The Siege is a story that I have been wanting to tell for a long time—and I am absolutely delighted that it has found its publishing home with Francesca Pathak at Orion Fiction. The characters at the heart of the book are a product of my imagination, but their stories are as real as any I encountered during my 25 years in blue.”