Harvill Secker to publish Erin Morgenstern's The Starless Sea next November
Liz Foley, publishing director at Harvill Secker, has acquired UK & Commonwealth rights, excluding Canada, from Richard Pine at InkWell Management. According to the acquisition statement The Starless Sea is 'a magical, timeless and wholly original love story set in a secret underground world.
'Zachary Ezra Rawlins is a graduate student in Vermont when he discovers a strange book hidden in the library stacks. As he turns the pages, entranced by tales of lovelorn prisoners, key collectors, and nameless acolytes, he reads something strange: a story from his own childhood.
'Bewildered by this inexplicable book and desperate to make sense of how his own life came to be recorded, Zachary uncovers a series of clues – a bee, a key, and a sword – that lead him to a masquerade party in New York, to a secret club, and through a doorway to a subterranean library, hidden far below the surface of the earth.
'What Zachary finds in this curious place is more than just a buried home for books and their guardians – it is a place of lost cities and seas, lovers who pass notes under doors and across time, and of stories whispered by the dead. Zachary learns of those who have sacrificed much to protect this realm, relinquishing their sight and their tongues to preserve this archive, and also those who are intent on its destruction.
'Together with Mirabel, a fierce, pink-haired protector of the place, and Dorian, a handsome barefoot man with shifting alliances, Zachary travels the twisting tunnels, darkened stairwells, crowded ballrooms, and sweetly-soaked shores of this magical world, discovering his purpose - in both the mysterious book and in his own life.
'The Starless Sea contains the hallmarks of Morgenstern’s The Night Circus – magic, mystery, and inimitable imagination – and brings them to life in a richly layered and entirely new story.'
Morgenstern said: "Seven years ago the circus arrived without warning. Next fall readers and booksellers will be invited to sail The Starless Sea. When I started working on my new novel I thought I was writing a book about books, but as it turns out I was writing a book about stories. Stories and choices and change and also time and fate and video games. It took quite a while to get it all to fit in a single book, even down to the bees."
Foley said: "From the first page of this exhilarating and glorious book I was transported to the unique world which only Erin could have created. I could not let go of Zachary’s story until the very last, intensely moving, page and so many scenes and characters are vividly imprinted in my memory. Erin’s imaginative powers are unparalleled and this is a truly immersive, epic book about storytelling itself. After the wonder of The Night Circus, it’s incredible to have a novel that even exceeds that one in its flair, richness and ingenuity. Nothing else like it will be published next year."
Doubleday, an imprint of Penguin Random House US, and Doubleday Canada, an imprint of Penguin Random House Canada, will simultaneously publish The Starless Sea on 5 November 2019.
Published by Harvill Secker in 2011, The Night Circus was a Sunday Times bestseller, and was nominated for the Guardian First Book Award, the Orange Prize for Fiction and the Galaxy Book Awards. It has been translated into 37 languages; is currently in development with Lionsgate as both a feature film and stage play; and has sold over 3 million copies worldwide.
Pictured: Erin Morgenstern (cr Allan Amato)