The Bookseller can exclusively reveal the new jacket and title of Conn Iggulden’s first book with Penguin imprint Michael Joseph.
Stormbird is the first in a series about the Wars of the Roses to be published in October across multiple formats: hardback (£18.99), trade paperback (£12.99), e-book and audiobook, as well as a special edition.
This is Iggulden’s first book with Penguin UK after 10 years with HarperCollins. The fifth book in his Emperor series, The Blood of Gods (out 23rd May), will be his final book with HC, with whom he has sold more than five million copies of his various titles.
Michael Joseph publishing director Alex Clarke said: “This is a complete change of period for Conn, having previously done Julius Caesar and Genghis Khan. But Conn’s ability of conjuring the atmosphere and the tension and the characters is second to none. Stormbird is blisteringly good.”
Stormbird’s starting point is the marriage of Margaret of Anjou and King Henry VI in the mid-15th century. Clarke said: “With the discovery of Richard III’s remains, the interest in this period is at an all-time high. It’s very exciting to have a big-name author to be writing for us, and we will be working with him to create additional material.”
Agent Victoria Hobbs of A M Heath negotiated a three-book deal with Clarke last January. Clarke said there was potential for further books in the Wars of the Roses series: “It depends on whether he feels he will be finished writing about that period after three books—we may do more.
“We will be doing a special edition as well as hardback, trade paperback, e-book and audiobook. The [hardback] cover—for which we’ve used foil printing—is a thing of pure beauty, over and above the usual.”
Clarke said it was “early days” for marketing and publicity plans, but confirmed Michael Joseph was planning a “spectacular piece of branded marketing” and hoped Stormbird would be a “major big-hitter for the autumn”.
A chapter sampler is available to the trade from Michael Joseph (email firstname.lastname@example.org), which Clarke said gave a perfect feel of Iggulden writing this period.
The next instalment in the Wars of the Roses series will be published in September 2014.