Transworld has pre-empted The Herd by Emily Edwards, a book club novel about two women who, for differing reasons, don't have their children vaccinated which leads to devastating consequences.
Frankie Gray, publishing director at Transworld, pre-empted world English language rights in The Herd from Nelle Andrew at Rachel Mills Literary.
According to Transworld, The Herd probes the line between individual choice and social responsibility.
The synopsis reads: "Lauren and Bryony are best friends, neighbours and godmothers to each other’s children, and yet completely different in their outlook on life. But both agree on one thing – their children and their welfare is the most important priority. Neither of their daughters have been vaccinated – one because she is unable to have vaccines as she is allergic to a key ingredient, and the other because her mother is terrified of vaccines. But when one woman lies to the other and they all fall ill, the consequences are devastating. Soon their private turmoil becomes public, as the case comes to court in vengeance for the events that have changed all of their lives forever."
Gray said: "Like the very best book club novels, The Herd poses challenging questions, makes you think and leaves you desperate to discuss with others. It’s about the choices parents – and we all – make, often with the best of intentions, how devastatingly things can go awry and how we reckon with those choices and their consequences. I was wholly invested in every one of these character’s lives, testament to Emily’s incredible skill in tackling this topic with care and empathy. The Transworld team read The Herd overnight – such is its whistlestop pace – and we are thrilled to be the lucky publisher to bring it to readers everywhere."
Edwards said: "Frankie and the whole Transworld team have already been so welcoming and supportive. Their enthusiasm and vision for my novel is incredibly exciting and I am overjoyed to find such a fantastic home for The Herd."
A "hotly-contested" TV auction for The Herd is said to be currently under way. Transworld will publish as a Bantam Press hardback as well as in e-book and audio in spring 2022.