Transworld buys trilogy by ex-Methven's chair

Transworld has acquired three historical crime novels by Andrew Swanston, former Waterstone's director and chairman of Methven's.

Assistant editor Emma Buckley bought world rights in the trilogy directly from the author. The first of the three novels, The King's Spy, is set in the 17th century, and follows bookseller Thomas Hill as he is called to be cryptographer at the king's court in Oxford. The second book will see Thomas arrested and deported to Barbados, where he has to decode a message from naval captain and Parliamentarian Sir George Ayscue to a secret sympathiser. The third book will then see him return to England, where he must decipher coded letters intercepted by the Post Office.

Buckley said: "The King's Spy was a read-in-one-sitting novel for me–it's intelligently written, meticulously researched, fast-paced, with a brilliantly original and sympathetic protagonist, and a really refreshing, vivid setting. I'm confident that Andrew's trilogy will place him firmly alongside such household names as C J Sansom and Rory Clements."

Transworld will publish the first book in August 2012. Swanston was director of Waterstone's from 1983 to 1990, and chairman of Methven's between 1993 and 2000.