Pan Macmillan's Tor imprint has signed Waterstones bookseller Lucy Holland’s new folktale retelling, which reimagines the legend of the Wild Hunt for a modern audience.
Publishing director Bella Pagan acquired world rights from Veronique Baxter at David Higham Associates. In the US, Hachette Book Group senior editor Priyanka Krishnan then bought the novel from Pan Macmillan, to publish under Orbit’s Redhook imprint. The untitled new novel will be published in the UK and the US in summer 2022.
Holland’s tale re-casts the folklore of Herla and his Wild Hunt into a dark feminist fantasy, set in the early medieval age, against the backdrop of ancient Cornwall.
The synopsis explains: “In centuries past, Herla the Erlking was cursed to bring death to all she meets. The warchief now rules her immortal court and dreams of vengeance. In 710 AD, Cryda’s monastery home is destroyed, her king slain. The young scholar flees across the moors with the child heir of Dumnonia, and encounters Herla. Together, Herla and Cryda will walk a knife’s edge between the living and the dead, the faery realm and a war-torn land. Their goal – to save a kingdom and their own souls.”
Holland, a bookseller at Waterstones Exeter, is a writer who co-hosts "Breaking the Glass Slipper", an award-winning feminist podcast. Her novel Sistersong, retelling an old English murder ballad, will be published by Tor in the UK in April 2021.
She said: “I'm delighted to be working with Bella and the team at Pan Macmillan to bring another famous folktale to a modern audience. The figures of the Erlking and the immortal Wild Hunt are deeply woven into the fabric of Britain's mythical landscape − and sometimes it's hard to draw the line between history and legend."
Pagan added: “I’m thrilled that Lucy has revisited early medieval Britain to bring us this glorious new retelling. Lucy will breathe fresh life into this ancient tale, reimagining the heroes and monsters of old as we’ve never seen them before.”