Raven Books has landed Lady Macbethad, a historical novel exploring the "real Lady Macbeth" set in medieval Scotland, and a second title by debut author Isabelle Schuler.
Katie Ellis-Brown, editorial director of the Bloomsbury imprint, acquired world all language rights including audio from Louise Ripley-Duggan at the Ripley-Duggan Agency, after receiving the manuscript on an exclusive submission.
Publishing in spring 2023 as a lead title, Lady Macbethad follows Gruoch, the daughter of an ousted king, who, as a child, is told by her grandmother that she is destined to become Queen of Alba. The synopsis explains: "When she is betrothed to Duncan, the heir-elect, this confirms for Gruoch her grandmother’s prophesy. Determined never to be as powerless as her mother was before she died, Gruoch leaves behind her home, her family and her friend Macbethad, and travels to the royal seat at Scone to seal her fate."
"When a deadly turn of events forces Gruoch to flee the capital and her betrothed, her grandmother’s words become the empty ramblings of an ancient woman, and Gruoch finds herself at the mercy of an old enemy. Her hope of becoming Queen all but lost, Gruoch does what she must to survive, until she is given a choice: live a long and peaceful life but fall into obscurity, or seize her chance for vengeance and a path back to the throne."
Ellis-Brown said of the novel: "This is not a retelling of Shakespeare’s Lady Macbeth, but the story of Gruoch, a royal princess descended from ancient druids and Pictish kings, who was a major player in 11th-century Scotland’s game of thrones. In Lady Macbethad, Isabelle brings to the fore a woman’s story which has been sidelined in history, and in doing so, has created one of the most memorable characters I have ever read. This is a novel chock full of passion, intrigue, suspense and drama and I can’t wait for readers to discover the 'real' Lady Macbeth."
Schuler is a Swiss Hawaiian-American actress, writer and former Waterstones bookseller. Her latest self-penned short film, "I Am A Unicorn", is currently playing at festivals in the UK, US and Europe. She has a BA in journalism and her screenplay "Queen Hereafter" was longlisted by the Thousand Films Screenwriting Competition in 2019. In 2020, Schuler adapted "Queen Hereafter" into her debut novel, Lady Macbethad.
She said: "As an uber fan of Shakespeare, I have been fascinated by the depth and complexity of Shakespeare's commentary on human nature, juxtaposed with the way he writes his female characters, especially the infamous Lady Macbeth. That he presents her ambition and her sex as diametrically opposed has always been problematic for me, no more so than when I had the opportunity to portray her in my work as an actor. Diving into the history surrounding her and Macbeth only increased my desperation to tell her story. I can think of no better home for this passion of mine than Raven Books."
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