15/05/2009. Contributed by Jessica Martin
John Jarrold has concluded a three-book World Rights deal with Simon Spanton of Gollancz, for a YA fantasy series by novelist Stephen Deas, for a good, five-figure sum in pounds sterling. Deas' debut novel, a dragon fantasy entitled The Adamantine Palace, was published by Gollancz in March 2009 to plaudits and a fast reprint. There are two forthcoming sequels.
This new series will be interleaved with the adult dragon fantasies. The first volume, The Thief-Taker's Apprentice, will be delivered in December 2009, for publication in early autumn 2010. Deas is presently completing final editorial work on the sequel to his debut, King Of The Crags, which is due for publication in April 2010.
Simon Spanton said 'Following the success of The Adamantine Palace it only seemed natural to approach John and ask if Steve would be interested in writing something for our upcoming YA list. And I shouldn't have been surprised that the material Steve came up with would prove to be exactly what I was looking for - a fast moving fantasy tale, set in a richly realised world, centred round a young character who rapidly finds himself deep in a web of conspiracies he is barely able to survive despite his skills.'
'Being Steve this is also a book that pulls no moral punches and admits to a genuine darkness - no-one escapes the impact of their actions and with this book describing the fall of a young thief into a life as an assassin that's a particularly powerful aspect to the story for a younger readership. Much like Kristin Cashore's Graceling and Carrie Ryan's The Forest Of Hands And Teeth I expect this book to appeal equally both to readers of 14 years and upwards and those, like myself, well past their teenage years who nevertheless enjoy fantasy's ability to make you feel a world afresh. That Steve has been able to add this string to his bow only increases my admiration of his talent and professionalism.'
'To get a second deal so quickly after Steve's initial publication (with two out of those three books still unpublished) is remarkable, and a sign of how highly Simon and the team at Orion/Gollancz regard him,' said John Jarrold. 'He writes quickly and brilliantly. His stories and characters involve the reader from page one, with wit and inventiveness.'
Stephen Deas has worked as a systems designer and project manager for a number of technology-based aerospace companies and has reviewed books for the British SF Association's magazine VECTOR. He currently lives in Essex with his wife and two sons.
Stephen Hunt's novels - USA