Welbeck Publishing Group has acquired an epic historical fiction series by Dr Hilary Jones, the general practitioner and media doctor.
Fiction publisher Jon Elek made a two-book world all language deal with Kerr MacRae at Kerr MacRae LPA.
The series will chart the rise of a prominent British medical family in the 20th century. From wars to a pandemic, the discovery of penicillin to the birth of the NHS, the titles will follow successive generations of the Burnett family who are at the helm of life-saving developments in medicine.
The first title in the series, Frontline, is billed as a "sweeping" First World War drama, and is set on the battlefields of Europe as the threat of the global influenza pandemic looms. The novel will follow an aristocrat’s daughter who joins the war effort as a nurse. In a field hospital in rural France she meets Will, a dockworker’s son serving as a stretcher-bearer. As rumours of an armistice begin to circulate, so too does a mysterious respiratory illness that soldiers are referring to as the Spanish flu.
Frontline will be published in hardback in September 2021.
Elek said: "This is big, page-turning stuff full of incredible historical and medical detail – I was completely gripped by the story and I think readers will connect with these brave, naïve, characters who are caught up in the tide of history. Fans of Jeffrey Archer, Barbara Taylor Bradford and Ken Follett will find much to enjoy here."
Jones commented: "During a brief period, 1914-1918, the world was dealt the twin blows of war and a pandemic. For those innocently caught up in such events the consequences are shocking, random, terrifying and life changing. War and disease bring about the worst in people and challenge our concept of humanity, but they also bring about the best in people and define what is truly important in life. Frontline is a celebration of all those unsung heroes past and present who possess resilience, kindness and courage in equal measure."
Jones is a GP who appeared on ITV's "GMTV" and "Good Morning Britain". He will be donating a portion of the proceeds from Frontline to NHS Charities Together, the national charity partner of the NHS and an umbrella membership organisation for the 241 NHS charities throughout the UK.