William Collins will publish Financial Times journalist Tom Burgis’ exploration of how “capitalism’s monster” has become the ultimate power.
Arabella Pike, publishing director at the HarperCollins imprint, acquired UK and Commonwealth rights to Kleptopia: How Dirty Money Conquered the World, in a “substantial deal” negotiated by Sophie Lambert at C&W. The book will be published in 2019.
The word ‘Kleptopia’ is known as “a place of theft” and the book is “a story of capitalism’s monster, a global kleptocracy, and how this masquerades as legitimate authority, concealing its true purpose – the pillage of power”. It combines Burgis’ “immense skills as an investigative reporter with the character-driven narrative of a thriller”.
The book by the FT investigations correspondent is billed as a “riveting work of narrative non-fiction, the product of years of investigative reporting and told through vivid, flesh-and-blood characters”.
It is based on scores of interviews which the award-winning journalist conducted across Europe and North America, Kazakhstan, Russia, Ukraine, Zimbabwe, Congo and South Africa, supported by thousands of pages of documentation.
Many Africans, Asians, Eastern Europeans and Latin Americans have known for long decades what it means to live under predatory kleptocrats, the blurb reads. The ascent of the first US president to fuse his business interests with the highest office in the free world means that the three great poles of power today – Washington, Moscow and Beijing – are controlled by regimes that could justifiably be called kleptocratic.
Kleptopia follows the writer’s prize-winning The Looting Machine (William Collins), which explored how the resource trade impacts on Africa.
Pike said: "I can think of few books as vital for understanding the world today as Kleptopia. Tom’s work to expose networks of dirty money corrupting the institutions that protect us from tyranny develops this insidious story from Misha Glenny’s McMafia or Michael Lewis’ The Big Short."
She added: "We couldn’t be more excited and proud to be publishing it."
Burgis has reported from Africa since 2006, and is now partly based in London. He described the topic as “an urgent, deeply troubling story”.
He said: “Reporting it has made me understand how some of the things we hold most precious are being stolen. I’m delighted that Arabella Pike and William Collins want to help me tell this tale.”
Glenny, whose analysis of global corruption, McMafia (Vintage) was developed as a drama series and broadcast by the BBC earlier this year, discussed the adaptation journey with The Bookseller in December.