Pan Macmillan has acquired a stand-alone fantasy novel, The Never King, by Jon Abbot.
World rights to the "dark" and "action-packed" book were acquired from the John Jarrold Literary Agency.
Abbot is a pseudonym for an "established" author who is, in the words of Pan Macmillan, "trying an exciting new direction".
The novel explores themes of justice and revenge, oppression and heroism, telling the story of Xavir Argentum, a character legendary as the former commander of an elite warrior cadre. Falsely imprisoned for life for an atrocity during an epic battle, he is taken out of the running for the crown and the kingdom he has sworn to protect falls into the hands of a tyrant. It is then up to "a mixed bag of rogues and heroes" to "right some great wrongs" and for Xavir to make his escape. The book is said to be influenced by the work of the late David Gemmell.
Abbot said: "The Never King is a dark tale that has been a lot of fun to write and it has been liberating to embrace the core elements of the genre whole-heartedly. I hope it conjures up some of the same spirit of heroic fantasy that I admired when I was younger."
Senior commissioning editor Bella Pagan commented: "It will be the perfect next step for readers who love the work of Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn or Joe Abercrombie’s The Heroes. It’s a book that draws you into a dangerously thrilling world of intrigue and struggle, where you root for the protagonists every step of the way."
Pan Macmillan plans to release The Never King in paperback in late spring next year.