Viking has pre-empted world rights for a debut psychological thriller My Sister’s Bones by British author Nuala Ellwood.
Commissioning editor Katy Loftus acquired the novel and one other in a "substantial" deal with Madeleine Milburn at the Madeleine Milburn Literary Agency.
My Sister’s Bones tells the story of two sisters, Kate, a war reporter, and Sally, a recluse who never left their childhood home of Herne Bay. When their mother dies, Kate returns from Syria to Herne Bay and becomes convinced there’s something terrible going on in the house next door. But, as it becomes apparent Kate is a victim of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the reader struggles to know who to believe, or who is actually guilty.
Author Ellwood was provided with Arts Council funding for her research into PTSD, the affliction that her character Kate suffers with. She said: "The idea for My Sister's Bones came from a lifelong fascination with female foreign correspondents such as Marie Colvin, Janine Di Giovanni and Martha Gellhorn; how they made themselves heard in such a male-dominated world and always sought the human story within the chaos and horrors of war."
Loftus said: "My Sister’s Bones has had the Viking team on the edge of their seats. It’s intensely creepy, emotionally compelling, and has one of the most unexpected twists I’ve ever read. Psychological thrillers are here to stay, but this one marks a new move: from the unreliable to the unstable narrator."
Agent Madeleine Milburn added: "I'm thrilled to share such a talented author of upmarket psychological suspense with Viking – I was immediately struck by Nuala's smart female protagonist and her war reporter background which brings something really fascinating and topical to a popular genre."
The novel will be published in hardback in January 2017, with the paperback following in August.