Scholastic has signed a global world rights deal for a "heady new YA sensation" that will be a lead title for Frankfurt Book Fair.
Shadowscent: The Darkest Bloom by P M. Freestone is a "sweeping epic, full of adventure, romance and political intrigue to beguile and overwhelm your senses", said the publisher.
Shadowscent came to the attention of Linas Alsenas, senior commissioning editor at Scholastic UK, earlier this year in the SCBWI Undiscovered Voices anthology. The world rights deal in all languages was struck by Alsenas for Scholastic UK and Mallory Kass, senior editor at Scholastic based in New York with Josh Adams of Adams Literary, and Caroline Walsh of David Higham Associates. Shadowscent is the first book in a planned duology.
In the empire of Aramtesh, scent has power. Seventeen-year-old Rahil has a talent for scentlore, but her skills cannot save her dying father. Leaving her desert village in a desperate attempt to find a cure, Rahil finds herself in the city of Aphara indentured to the head priestess at the temple, who holds secrets–ancient tales as well as truths about Rahil’s past.
One night, the temple’s precious scented flowers are set ablaze, and the visiting crown prince is found poisoned. Caught in the smoke, Rahil realizes that she is the prime suspect–and that she holds the only clue to finding an antidote for the royal heir. Accompanied by the prince’s bodyguard, Ash—a devoutly loyal man who harbours secrets of his own—the unlikely pair go on the run, racing across Aramtesh to save themselves, the people they love, and the empire itself.
Freestone said: “Of all the senses, I've always been most intrigued by smell, and have long imagined a society where scent plays a pivotal role. Shadowscent: The Darkest Bloom combines this curiosity with the things I loved about the fantasy novels I devoured as a teen, along with characters whose perspectives I didn’t often see in those stories. Some of my fondest school year memories are of eagerly awaiting the next Scholastic Book Club catalogue so I'm especially thrilled that Scholastic is bringing my debut to today's readers.”
Alsenas said: “Having read a sample of Shadowscent: The Darkest Bloom in the SCBWI Undiscovered Voices anthology this year, I was eagerly awaiting the rest of the text. And it did not disappoint, with a white-knuckle plot that gallops forward, a romance that gradually simmers to a boil, and a lush, fully-realized setting that stays with you long after you finish reading. Peta’s writing is so incredibly evocative, you can’t read this book and not become more aware of the scents all around you!”
Shadowscent will be published by Scholastic UK in February 2019, with the US publication following in the autumn.