Viking has bought a narrative history of the Allied bombing of Dresden by historian Sinclair McKay, author behind the Christmas hit Bletchley Park Brainteasers (Headline).
Publisher Daniel Crewe bought world English rights from Anna Power at Johnson & Alcock.
Scheduled for publication on the 75th anniversary of the bombing, Dresden will provide a "minute-by-minute" account of the aerial bombing attack on the city of Dresden during the Second World War - a campaign estimated to have killed up to 25,000 on a single night.
According to Viking, it is still hotly debated whether it was a legitimate military target or a last act of atavistic mass murder in a war already won. In McKay's account, he will cover the history of the city, the attack itself and the period of reconstruction under the Soviets in the following years, telling "untold stories" of both civilians and the military.
Mckay said: "I am completely thrilled to be working with the team at Viking on a subject that resonates powerfully even now. After 75 years, the hideous moral questions thrown up by the 1945 destruction of Dresden remain as perplexing to the people of that beautiful city as they do everywhere else. Time has also brought sharper clarity to individual stories, and the trajectory of family lives before and long after the cataclysm. This isn’t just about the darker impulses of war, though: for out of that fiery horror eventually came moving reconciliation, cultural rebirth and miraculous regeneration."
Crewe said: "We’re all thrilled to welcome Sinclair McKay to Viking. His deep research, careful reflection and powerful storytelling will make for a highly moving account on this important anniversary."
McKay’s previous books include The Secret Life of Bletchley Park (Aurum Press), which sold 250,000 copies TCM and the puzzle book Bletchley Park Brainteasers (Headline) which currently stands at 150,000 copies TCM. The Lady in the Cellar (White Lion) and Secret Service Brainteasers (Headline) are published this September.