Transworld has acquired two high-concept thrillers, Zero and Helix, by German-language author Marc Elsberg.
Jane Lawson, editorial director at Transworld, acquired world English language rights in both titles from Michael Gaeb in Germany.
Tapping into our relationships with technology, Zero imagines a new social media site Freemee, a competitor to Facebook, whose lifestyle app promises everything you need to succeed: confidence, knowledge, money. The premise: "It puts the power to change your life in your pocket. But what if it wanted your life in return?"
Lawson says she believes there is "a gap" in the mass market space for high-concept action thrillers and they are “bang on the zeitgeist”.
"With such issues as election hacking, data-mining and online blackmail, Zero could not be more terrifyingly current,” she said. "We are delighted to welcome these two new blockbusters to Transworld where they will occupy a unique space on the crime and thriller list alongside thrillers by Terry Hayes and Frank Gardner."
Helix meanwhile imagines genetic engineering taken to extremes.
Elsberg, who is Austrian, speaks fluent English and was formerly in advertising before he embarked on a writing career with Random House Germany, where he is a million-copy number one bestseller. Transworld is now planning an author tour to introduce him to an English-speaking audience.
Zero will be published as a Doubleday hardback in May 2018, translated by Simon Pare.