Explore our exciting novels available for dramatic adaptation. Click on the images for publishing information and synopses.
Manuscripts and further information available upon request
By C. S. Robertson Genre: Psychological Thriller Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton DEATH IS NOT THE END. FOR GRACE McGILL IT IS ONLY THE BEGINNING. When people die alone and undiscovered, it’s her job to clean up what’s left behind – whether it’s clutter, bodily remains or dark secrets. When an old man lies undetected in his flat for months, it seems an unremarkable life and an unnoticed death. But Grace knows that everyone has a story and that all deaths mean something more. A STAND-OUT NOVEL WITH A UNIQUE NARRATIVE VOICE AND AN UNGUESSABLE MYSTERY, YOU ARE GUARANTEED TO REMEMBER GRACE McGILL.
By B P Walter Genre: Psychological Thriller Top 20 Paperback Seller Publisher: One More Chapter (HarperCollins) Two strangers meet on the pier Only one walks away... Screenwriter Caroline Byrne is desperate to know why her daughter Jessica died, murdered in Stratford when she was supposed to be at a friend's in Somerset. When Caroline discovers the messages Jessica had been sending a boy named Michael, she realises it's because of him. Because he failed to meet her that day. He's the reason why her daughter is dead. And so she makes a choice. He's the one who's going to pay. That is her promise. Her price.
By Cynthia Rogerson Genre: Non-Fiction Memoir Publisher: Sandstone Press In California, Addison Jones’s mother is dying. Often. Flying between home in Scotland and birthplace in San Rafael, she spends time with her mother, recalls her early life, and creates a memoir of a misspent youth that’s funny, candid about mistakes, failures and triumphs, and gloriously full of life. WAH! comprises nineteen stories from the author’s past sandwiched between 21 snapshots of the year spent at her mother's deathbed in California. The later sections are pithy and referred to as deathbed commercial breaks. The stories about her past are longer and tell of misadventures set in California, Mexico and Britain covering the period 1960 to the present. They might reflect the impact of social change on individual development, but no conclusions are drawn. With self-effacing dry humour and occasional epiphanies, WAH! could be seen as a commercial mainstream work with a literary touch, and the audience might be the same as David Sedaris's or Hadley Freeman’s – other Americans living in the UK, writing about their family and past with seemingly no agenda but to understand it. On the other hand, Wah! could be seen as a book about grief and guilt, a confessional tome written by a woman who has not always been a good daughter.
By Kim Hawes Genre: Non-Fiction Memoir Publisher: Sandstone Press 'I can’t play any instrument, sing or read a note of music. I’m not from a musical family. I grew up in a small farming village in Lancashire. I was offered my first job because I was a brunette. And for the first crucial ten years of my career I slept under Lemmy.' Kim Hawes has worked in the music industry for over 30 years with some of the biggest and baddest bands there are. She blagged her way into working merchandise for Elvis Costello which led to a job merching Rush all around Europe. She spent many years sleeping underneath Lemmy from Motorhead….on a tour bus. She toured with Black Sabbath just as Ronnie James Dio entered the band and they unleashed Heaven & Hell on the world. She threw Madonna of her stage, turned Courtney Love down, had to say no to Nelson Mandela, and had to deal with the aftermath of Chumbawumba drenching the deputy Prime Minister John Prescott. Yes there are tales of Sex, Drugs & Rock’N’Roll, debauchery and fights, suitcases full of cash and Hells Angels….there might even be a TV thrown out of a window, but Kim’s story is so so much more. Whilst Kim may have fell into the industry by accident, she was clearly a natural. She was trusted by the bands who had an inbuilt distrust of the industry. She had the ability to diffuse potentially lethal situations and had the rare ability to bridge the gap between industry and talent. Kim would never compromise. She was expected to conform to the stereotypes of the male orientated industry but refused to do so. She would do it her way, the right way. This was a time when there were no woman on the touring or live side of the industry, Kim was a first and is cited as a pioneer for woman in the music industry, an accolade recognised by the University of Lancashire when they awarded Kim an Honorary Fellowship in 2019 for her services to the music industry and to tour management. Kim recognises that with her achievements and accolades comes a responsibility to those following in her footsteps. She has undertaken a pivotal role in many young women’s journey’s into music, offering guidance and much needed support. Kim story is one of naivety, love, frustration and fights, and sheer determination. It is one of not taking no for an answer, sticking to your principals and achieving your goals. It is one of hard work, hard partying and hard times. She defies pre-conceptions, rolls her designer sleeves up and gets on with it. She reached the top of her industry whilst being a wife (twice) and a mother. Hers is no ordinary tale of 'life on the road'.
By Priya Guns Genre: Literary Fiction Publisher: Atlantic Books Damani is tired. Every day she cares for her mum, drives ride shares to pay the bills and is angry at a world that promised her more before spitting her out. That is until the summer she meets Jolene and life opens up. Jolene seems like the perfect girlfriend - attentive, attractive, liberal - and their chemistry verges on obsession. So maybe Damani can look past the one thing that's holding her back: Jolene is white. But Jolene really doesn't seem like one of the bad ones - she's done the reading, she goes to every protest, she even listens. Still, just as their romance intensifies, just as Damani learns to trust, Jolene does something unforgivable, setting off an explosive chain of events. Your Driver is Waiting is a blackly comic and deeply political novel about anger, love and privilege in all their messy forms.
By M. A. Kuzniar Genre: Fantasy Drama The Saturday Times Bestseller #4 The Sunday Times Bestseller #12 Publisher: HQ (HarperCollins) (UK), Haper360 (HarperCollins) (US) A beautiful magical retelling of The Nutcrack 'It was a rainy day that the magic came, and once magic has entered your life, you stay in its glittering clutch forever' Nottingham, 1906 Marietta Stelle longs to be a ballerina but as Christmas draws nearer, her dancing days are numbered. At the wishes of her family, she will be obligated to marry and take up her place in society in the New Year. But when a mysterious new neighbour, Dr Drosselmeier, purchases a neighbouring townhouse, it heralds the arrival of magic and wonder in her life. Although Drosselmeier’s magic is darker than Marietta could have imagined… When he constructs an elaborate set for her final ballet performance, she discovers it carries a magic all of its own. As the clock chimes midnight, Marietta finds herself walking through a land of snow-topped fir trees leading to a frozen sugar palace silent with secrets. In the darkness of night, magic awaits and you will never forget what you find here…
By Cameron Ward Genre: Drama Thriller Publisher: Penguin Random House A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. A luxury superyacht. And a killer picking you off, one by one... When ex-marine Sarah French joins a luxury superyacht as on-board security, she's excited to get her life - and career - back on track. Surrounded by crystal waters, it seems like the perfect place to start over. As they head into open water, though, tensions between the crew quickly build. And when someone goes missing, Sarah has a terrifying realisation. One of them is a killer. All of them are suspects. To protect the other passengers, Sarah needs to uncover the killer's identity, and return the boat safely to shore. But there's a storm on the horizon - and not all of them will make it out alive...
By Nadia Mikail Genre: YA Fiction Publisher: Guppy Books Winner of the Guppy YA Open Submissions Competition 2020 Seventeen-year-old Aisha hasn't seen her sister June for two years. And now that a calamity is about to end the world in nine months' time, she and her mother decide that it's time to track her down and mend the hurts of the past. Along with Aisha's Chinese boyfriend, Walter and his parents (and Fleabag the stray cat), the group take a roadtrip through Malaysia in a wildly decorated campervan - to put the past to rest, to come to terms with the present, and to hope for the future.
By Christine Pillainayagam Genre: YA Fiction Publisher: Faber & Faber Ellie Pillai is Brown is a classic high school romance and coming of age story about a 15-year-old girl just trying to work out who she is, like every other 15-year-old the world over – but being brown in a predominantly white town means Ellie is also hyperaware of her colour and how that feeds into her sense of identity. In a school in the east of England, Ellie is sitting her GCSEs, carefully perfecting the art of invisibility when a set of twins arrive, turning her life, and that of her best friend, upside down… Ellie has to navigate friendship, first love, strict parents, an over-dramatic personality, secrets and many, many misunderstandings, to find out who she really is and what she wants from life. Ellie needs to work out that being different should be celebrated and not hidden behind a wall. All with a splash of music and lots of laughs. Most days, Ellie Pillai is somewhere between invisible, and not very cool - and usually she's okay with that. But suddenly, Ellie feels different. Maybe it's the new boy at school who makes her brain explode into rainbows every time she sees him (and also happens to be going out with her best friend), or maybe it's her new drama teacher, the one who seems to have noticed she exists. Suddenly, her misfit style, her skin colour, her songwriting and all that getting lost in the music in her head seem to be okay too. Because maybe standing out isn't a bad thing after all. This book was written for all those girls who grew up feeling that they could never be a princess or the heroine of a story, because all the princesses have always been white. Not brown, not chubby, not with a dyed-blonde moustache, a monobrow or an unhealthy obsession with music. Teenagers struggle with this feeling of otherness all over the world. The feeling of not quite fitting in, of never seeing a version of yourself out in the world, that truly represents your story, or at least a version of what your story could be. This is that story, for the forgotten girl. The one that doesn’t believe she deserves it, who doesn’t see how special she is, how amazing, how she is going to grow out of high school, and life is going to happen, regardless of the circumference of her thighs.
By Jake Avila Genre: Adventure Thriller Publisher: Bonnier Books Winner of a Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize Acclaimed explorer Rob Nash has lost his way. Grieving the death of his wife, and blaming himself, he sees no reason to carry on. But when his 'Uncle' Frank Douglas offers him the chance to lead a cave diving expedition in the jungles of Papua, Nash can see some light at the end of the tunnel. But the expedition might not be what it seems. With a decades old Japanese submarine buried deep in a cavern, and a team hell-bent on unleashing the treasures it hides, Nash finds himself on a ship heading for danger. With a lethal band of criminals on board, who will stop at nothing to get the gold, Nash is fighting for his life. Whilst battling his own demons, can he forgive himself for the wrongs of his past - and survive the perils of the deep? 'This has it all - exotic locations, a riveting plot, and heart-pounding suspense from beginning to end. An outstanding thriller not to be missed.' Dirk Cussler
By B P Walter UNDER OPTION Genre: Psychological Thriller The Saturday Times Paperback Fiction Bestseller: #1 The Sunday Times Paperback Fiction Bestseller: #8 Publisher: One More Chapter (HarperCollins) Four people walked into the dining room that night. One would never leave. Matthew: the perfect husband. Titus: the perfect son. Charlie: the perfect illusion. Rachel: the perfect stranger. Charlie didn’t want her at the book club. Matthew wouldn’t listen. And that’s how Charlie finds himself slumped beside his husband’s body, their son sitting silently at the dinner table, while Rachel calls 999, the bloody knife still gripped in her hand. Classic crime meets Donna Tartt in this nerve-shredding domestic noir thriller that weaves a sprawling web of secrets around an opulent West London world and the dinner that ends in death.
By William McIntyre Genre: Legal Crime Thriller Publisher: Sandstone Press Twelve Book Series The Best Defence/Robbie Munro series are contemporary legal thrillers following Robbie Munro, a true to life criminal defence lawyer based in the historic town of Linlithgow in Scotland; though his cases take him further afield. Robbie is not rich or powerful, his clients are mostly legally-aided, his morals are dubious, and he’s not even that good at law. What he is, is a trier, a man full of good ideas, most of them landing himself and his clients in more trouble than they started in. The one thing that Robbie has got going for him is his indefatigability as he fights in the battle for truth and justice (hoping truth and justice don’t win too often). Robbie always has the best interests of his client at heart, after all, he’s a crime suspects only friend, and in his view the law seldom equates to justice.
By Jennifer Neal Genre: Literary Fiction Publisher: Catapult (Penguin Random House) (US) 'It wasn't long before my wet and sticky fascination with life beyond the walls of our home could be read all over my face like soot' Gabrielle has inherited the ability to change the colour of her skin from her mother, Tallulah. They guard their power carefully within the walls of a home that's been bleached completely white. This is the doing of Gabrielle's father, Robert. He needs everything in his house to be white – including his wife and daughter. This is a house with secrets. Robert does not know that Talullah keeps a rainbow of spices stored in baggies and sewn into the lining of her handbag. Nor does he know that when he's away, Gabrielle and Tallulah let their skin pass through a spectrum of bright, dark, rebellious colours. But when Gabrielle discovers a love for the piano, she also finds she can change her skin without her mother nearby. Gabrielle is learning of a world beyond her family's carefully-coded existence, and her mother is watching. The Colour of Her Blood is a glittering, witty tale about privilege, music, queerness and hurricanes. It's a novel where the strange and surreal meets the kitsch of Florida as it explores the dynamic of a family traumatised by racial violence in America. At its heart, it's a story about a mother, told by her daughter. This is a novel that plays with genre and doesn't fit neatly into any one category, but could sit somewhere between Avni Doshi's Burnt Sugar and Octavia E. Butler's Kindred, and for all sorts of reasons I can see it speaking to fans of Helen Oyeyemi, Kiley Reid and HBO's Lovecraft Country. Jennifer is an American and Australian writer, journalist, visual artist, and occasional standup comedian currently living in Berlin. She's had work published in multiple titles, including a piece on Black Speculative Fiction and Feminist Thought in Gay Magazine, and she was nominated in 2019 for a Pushcart Prize for her essay in The Willowherb Review entitled In Search of Better Skies. A recent post on her blog, Notes on White Guilt, went viral in June 2020, and she's a 2021 MacDowell Colony artist in residence.
By Anna Goodall Genre: Fantasy Shortlisted for the Costa Book Award 2021 Publisher: Guppy Books Nominated for the 2021 Carnegie Medal The Sunday Times Children's Book of the Week A thrilling tale of friendship and courage - Maggie Blue, strongwilled and isolated, sees her enemy from school taken through a window to a parallel world by one of their teachers and determines to follow, whatever the cost. With the help of irascible cat, Hoagy, they discover a world where happiness is being stolen - and they must do everything they can not to be caught up in its web of destruction. Maggie Blue is an outsider, both at home and at school. She lives with her eccentric aunt Esme, and has no friends other than the irascible Hoagy, a stray cat who can talk to her. When Magge sees Ida, her foe from school, being taken through a window to another world by one of their teachers who has transformed into a wolf, she is determined to save her, whatever the cost. But the dark world is full of danger, a place where happiness is valued above all else, and Maggie discovers that her role is far more important than anyone could have guessed. A thrilling and gripping tale of friendship, courage and the power of being yourself.
By Stephen May Genre: Historical Fiction Publisher: Sandstone Press Revolutionary, poet, lover. Robber, murderer, spy. May 1907 and a young Stalin is in London for a conference of Russian communists. With Lenin, Trotsky, and Rosa Luxemburg among others he battles to keep the party radical, while dodging the attentions of the Czar’s secret police. He also finds himself drawn to a fiery Finnish activist, Elli Vuokko, beginning a relationship that is as dangerous as it is complicated. ‘Original, adept and confident... What can I say, except that I wish I had written it myself?’ Hilary Mantel ‘A fascinating and immersive imagining of real events that both challenges and illuminates history.’ Benjamin Myers ‘Electrically-imagined, immersive and compulsively readable, Sell Us the Rope hums with the visceral energy of revolutionary fervour’ Liz Jensen ‘Boldly conceived, precisely imagined, beautifully written.’ Michael Stewart ‘Stephen May’s writing is convincing and engaging in this brilliant tale of revolutionary shenanigans in London.’ Suzanne Joinson ‘Brilliant and original — part historical novel, part romantic comedy, and part bildungsroman about a tyrant-in-waiting.’ Marcel Theroux ‘Beautifully written, compelling and insightful, brimming with captivating characters and twisty intrigues. This book really got under my skin.’ Katherine Clements
By Emma Musty Genre: Literary Fiction Publisher: Legend Press, Audio: WF Howes Longlisted for the Mslexia Award and Cinnamon Press Novel Award. Theo, an aging Parisian cartographer, is desperately searching for the woman he once loved before Alzheimer’s takes his memories of her. Elise, his estranged daughter, moves in to take care of him. She still blames him for the tragic loss of her mother and is struggling with this new forced intimacy. Nebay, an Eritrean refugee, becomes Theo’s carer and friend. Unbeknownst to Elise, Nebay does not have a visa for France and is working illegally in order to support his sister. Each is living a life of secrets, questions and uncertainty in a world where Nebay’s very presence in France would be invisible on Theo’s maps. An important novel that is as compassionate as it is eye-opening, The Exile and the Mapmaker is a testament to the triumph of the human spirit.
By David Wharton Genre: Literary Crime Publisher: Sandstone Press London: 1963. The lives of a professional shoplifter and a young art student collide. Delia must atone for a terrible mistake; Tess is desperate to be a real artist. With the threat of the criminal underworld encroaching, only their friendship can save them from disaster.
By Ann Sei Lin Genre: YA Fantasy Publisher: Walker Books First instalment of The Paper Spirits trilogy. Kurara has never known any other life than being a servant on board the Midori, but when her party trick of making paper come to life turns out to be a power treasured across the empire, she joins a skyship and its motley crew to become a Crafter. Taught by the gruff but wise Himura, Kurara learns to hunt shikigami - wild paper spirits who are sought after by the Princess. But are these creatures just powerful slaves for the Crafters and the empire, or are they beings with their own souls - and yet another thing to be subjugated by the powerful Emperor and his Princess?
By Peter Winner & Michael Paul Kennedy UNDER OPTION with Phalanx Media Genre: Non-Fiction Publisher: Osprey Publishing No publicity, no media. We move in silently, do our job, and melt away into the background. If you have the stamina, the willpower and the guts, we'll welcome you with open arms and make you one of us. And if you haven't, then it's been very nice knowing you. Eighteen years in the SAS saw Pete Winner, codenamed Soldier 'I', survive the savage battle of Mirbat, parachute into the icy depths of the South Atlantic at the height of the Falklands War, and storm the Iranian Embassy during the most famous hostage crisis in the modern world. For the first time Pete also details his close-protection work around the world, from the lawless streets of Moscow to escorting aid convoys into war-torn Bosnia. He also unveils the problems of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder faced by many Special Forces veterans, and how he battled his own demons to continue his roller-coaster career. This is his story, written with a breathtaking take-no-prisoners attitude that brings each death-defying episode vividly to life.
By Ryan Collett Genre: Literary Fiction Publisher: Sandstone Press After witnessing from her apartment window the killing of two young boys by a hit and run driver, Doreen Durand lies low, alone and friendless, refusing to answer the door or her phone to the investigating police. When she runs away she is picked up and protected by the mysterious Violet Cascade, wealthy and powerful. As Officer Solloway continues to pursue Doreen, a surreal game of cat and mouse begins. Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ktXYF2yVXP0
By Charlotte Duckworth Genre: Suspense Thriller Publisher: Quercus (UK and US) 'Compulsively readable and with an ending you will not see coming' WOMAN & HOME 'A real thrill ride' HEAT 'The perfect read. Surprising and original' LESLEY KARA 'Masterful . . . a great twist' HARRIET TYCE THE PERFECT HUSBAND . . . After a difficult pregnancy, Esther is grateful that her husband Robin offers to put his career on hold so that she can return to the job she loves. But Esther finds leaving her daughter Riley behind more challenging than she'd thought. And soon the new imbalance in her relationship with Robin brings old tensions to the surface. OR A PERFECT LIE? Then one day Esther arrives home from work to find Robin and Riley are missing. As the police investigate their disappearance, it becomes clear that nothing about this modern-day family is what it seems... Is Robin the perfect father everyone thinks he is? Or was it all a perfect lie?
By Nick Ward Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy Publisher: Guppy Books Will Jakeman is an extraordinary inventor, perhaps the best there has ever been! People come from far and wide to buy his 'Mechanimals' - incredible machines that come to life and perform all sorts of amazing tasks. For example, Steel-Skull the gorilla, perfect for dealing with bullies, and The Armoured Armadillo, a magnificent machine that can barge through most obstacles and is even armed with a gunge gun ... Learn all about Will Jakeman's childhood, the terrible fate of his parents, and discover whether the evil Ida Gripp ever gets her hands on his marvellous mechanimals Nick Ward was born in the late Jurassic period, and since then has written over sixty books for children, from picture books to young fiction. His book 'Don't Eat The Teacher' has sold over a million copies and his alter-ego Charlie Small has written twelve volumes of unbelievable but completely true adventurous memoirs. Brought up living above the family shop in a quiet market town, all Nick Ward ever wanted to do was write and illustrate books, and by hook and by crook, that's exactly what he has ended up doing. He has worked in design studios and converted school buildings, but now works from a little wooden studio (shed) at the bottom of his leafy garden. It's all rather lovely.
By Pam Lecky Genre: Historical Thriller/Espionage Publisher: Avon A moment that ruins her life On 31st May 1941, Germany drops bombs on neutral Dublin and Sarah Gillespie loses her family and home that fateful night. Days later, the man she loves leaves Ireland to enlist in the RAF. A decision that changes her life With nothing to keep her in Ireland and a burning desire to help the war effort, Sarah seeks refuge with relatives in Hampshire, England. But before long, Sarah’s family history catches up with her. A mission that could cost her life Sarah is asked to prove her loyalty to Britain through uncovering a spy at Vickers Supermarine, the manufacturers of the legendary Spitfire fighter plane. But to progress with her mission, she must become involved with a fifth columnist. And so the most dangerous game she’s ever played ensues… A gripping story that explores a deadly tangle of love and espionage in war-torn Britain, perfect for fans of Pam Jenoff, Kate Quinn and Kate Furnivall.
By Alexandra Bell Genre: Literary Fantasy Publisher: Del Ray UK (Penguin Random House) Welcome to the Winter Gardens of Half Moon House. Please do not mishandle the exhibits. (The owners accept no liability for any events that occur, magical or otherwise...) The Winter Garden open at the stroke of midnight with no great fanfare - after all, this is a time when all virtuous folk should be in bed. But for the few curious souls that brave the opening of its gates what enchantments await. There is all manner of strange and spectacular flora and fauna collected on her travels by the scandalous Lady Beatrice Sitwell and exhibited for the delight of paying customers. By flickering lamplight, visitors can discover magic fish, spectacular ghost butterflies, and a tiger made of stars. And for the very brave - and a small extra cost - there is the forest of plum trees, ripening against the snow bearing magical fruit which can tell your fortune - if only you dare take a bite...
By Claire McFall Genre: YA Fiction Publisher: Hot Key Books (UK), Beijing White Horse (Simplified Chinese) Liam Hayley, she just doesn’t get it. Doesn’t get that doors which are open for her, are closed for me. Doesn’t get that I’m following in my dad’s footsteps, Aiden’s footsteps, even if the shoes don’t fit. She tells me we can be together, that we can make it work. And I wish, I really wish, that we could. But wishing doesn’t change anything. Hayley When I was eleven, green was my favourite colour. That was before I realised my nose was blue. It was also the year I met Liam. Right from the off, we were best friends. Then more. Then... nothing. Because Tim and Hun, they’re oil and water: they don’t mix. Ask my dad. Ask Aiden. But blue, green, they’re just colours. And I like green. Callum and Hayley are twins, and today is their 21st birthday. They should have been at their party, celebrating with family and friends. Instead, Hayley’s at the hospital, covered in blood and facing the police, and Callum – he’s in the morgue. Making Turquoise takes the reader on the journey of their adolescence, starting at 11-years-old when Liam comes into their life. He’s Catholic to their Protestant, green to their blue. Callum doesn’t like him, knows he’ll be trouble, but Hayley’s found her new best friend; the boy who’ll become the love of her life, her soul mate. And she isn’t letting go. Growing up in Larkhall, a small town in Central Scotland, isn’t easy for the three of them. Hayley and Callum’s dad hates Liam and everything he stands for, and Liam’s brother Aidan just hates everything. And everyone. The two of them are determined to keep Hayley and Liam apart, which leaves Callum playing piggy-in-the-middle. He has the impossible job of trying to keep his family together and keeping his twin happy – two things which seem to be mutually exclusive. As they get older the stakes get higher, until the night of Hayley and Callum’s 21st when a fight turns deadly and Hayley is left wondering whether Liam – the boy she loves – might have been the one to kill Callum, her brother. Her twin.
By Frankie Miren Genre: Contemporary Literary Drama Publisher: Influx Press Lori works illegally in a rented flat in central London, living in fear of police raids which could mean losing her small daughter and her dream of a new life. Freya is a student who finds she can make far more money as an escort than she could in an office; life, after all, is already a tangle of madness and dissociation. And Paula is a journalist whose long-term campaign against prostitution has brought her some strange bedfellows. After a shock change to the law, with brothels being raided by the authorities, lives across the country are fractured. As a threat from Lori’s past begins to catch up with her, the three women are increasingly, inevitably drawn into each other’s orbit The Service is a powerful and challenging novel about women’s bodies, sex and relationships, mental health, entitlement, authenticity, privilege and power – as shocking as any dystopia, but touching and deeply humane.
By Paul Braddon UNDER OPTION with BBC Studios Genre: Speculative Thriller, Grounded Sci-fi Publisher: Sandstone Press Publication Date: 2020 Fear makes her human - humans make her fear! Evie, a bio-engineered human replica, lives in a Thames-side penthouse with her ‘husband’ Matthew and his servant, Daniels. A hugely valuable commodity, she has been kept secret from the world and spends her days pacing their rooftop garden, her life dull but safe. When knowledge of her whereabouts is leaked, she is forced to leave the security of the apartment and everything she knows, and take her chances on the dangerous streets below. With the threat of capture ever present, she learns to be decisive and ruthless. Along the way she rescues charismatic David, the only other humanoid like her, and Sola a ten-year-old pickpocket with whom she forms an instant bond. What greets her at her journey’s end is wholly unexpected. What is ‘the actuality’ and how can Evie make sense of her existence now? The Actuality is a powerful, atmospheric speculative thriller set in a squalid, broken-down England a hundred years in the future in which technology has lurched forward then all but seized up. Evie is a brilliantly depicted character: AI but soulful, aware of her limitations but expanding her ‘consciousness’, experiencing the loneliness of being one of a kind and ultimately forcing us to question the essence of what it is to be human.
By James Gould-Bourn UNDER OPTION with Lime Pictures Genre: Up-lit, Comedy Publisher: Trapeze (Orion) (UK), Scribner (Simon & Schuster) (US) Publication Date: June 2020 Foreign Rights Sales: Germany, Italy, Chinese (Simplified), France, Serbia, Japan, Bulgaria Danny has lost his wife, his job on a building site, and he is about to lose his home. Worst of all though, he’s losing his son, Will, who hasn’t spoken since his mum died 14 months earlier in a car crash. Danny doesn’t know how to reach him. After seeing street performers in his local park apparently raking it in, he spends his last fiver on a vomit-ridden animal suit and becomes a dancing panda… until something unexpected happens that makes the humiliation of his terrible rhythm all worth it. When Danny sees Will being bullied, he runs over in the panda outfit to save his son, who in turn then opens up to him like he hasn’t for over a year. But Will doesn’t know it’s his dad in the suit, and Danny is too afraid to tell him the truth in case he spoils everything. Keeping Mum is a sometimes laugh-out-loud funny, sometimes sad, always poignant and ultimately uplifting story of a father and son overcoming their grief in the most unlikely of circumstances.
By Katie Marsh Genre: Romantic Comedy-Drama Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton Seven-year-old Jake has spent his whole life rushing in and out of hospital after being born with a devastating heart condition. Jake is determined over the course of a year to find his single father, Simon, someone to love. But what neither of them are expecting is for Beth, a nurse, to move into the cottage next door and change both their lives forever. 'Unbreak Your Heart was born in a hospital corridor eight years ago when I carried my baby daughter towards her first operation. It is a love story of hope and courage, about the light that shines through the darkness and the love that can transform a broken heart and let it take flight.' (Katie Marsh),
By Hayley Barker Genre: YA Dystopian Publisher: Scholastic A dazzling, high-octane read filled with death-defying acrobatics, circus crowds with an appetite for disaster, and two forbidden teenage lovers trying to escape the shackles of their very different lives. Set in a near-future England where the poorest people in the land must watch their children be taken by a travelling circus – to perform at the mercy of hungry lions, sabotaged high wires and a demonic ringmaster. The ruling class visit the circus as an escape from their structured, high-achieving lives – pure entertainment with a bloodthirsty edge. Ben, the teenage son of a draconian government minister, visits the circus for the first time and falls instantly in love with Hoshiko, a young performer. They come from harshly different worlds – but must join together to escape the circus and put an end to its brutal sport.
NOTES ON HER COLOUR
LIPSTICK & LEATHER:
On the road with the world's most notorious rock stars