Bloomsbury Publishing has acquired a "sexy, bloody and murderous" historical saga entitled Tsarina by Ellen Alpsten.
Faiza Khan, consulting publisher at Bloomsbury, acquired UK and Commonwealth rights for two books from Alice Lutyens at Curtis Brown. In a simultaneous auction, Charles Spicer of St Martin’s Press acquired US rights from Deborah Schneider of Gelfman Schneider and Bolinda Audio Books won the audio rights following a "hotly fought" auction.
Alpsten’s debut Tsarina is a "vivid and richly atmospheric romp" telling the story of the rise of Martha Skavronskaya from illiterate daughter of a Baltic serf to one of the many lovers of Peter the Great to all-powerful Russian Empress Catherine I.
Khan said: “I am thrilled to be publishing this intimate, brutal and utterly compulsive novel of rags to unimaginable riches taking place against the backdrop of one of the most transformative moments of European history.”
Alpsten, who is a journalist and TV presenter, added: "I feel privileged to be part of such forward-thinking and inspirational publishing houses as Bloomsbury and St. Martins Press, and am so looking forward to working with them."
Bloomsbury and St Martin’s Press will publish in summer 2020.