WE'VE BOUGHT A NEW TRILOGY - IN THE TRADITION OF JONATHAN STRANGE AND MR NORRELL
18 December 2014
By Bella Pagan
The best books are rare and special - and when you discover one, it's electrifying! I tore through Zen Cho's Sorcerer to the Crown in double-quick time and knew I needed to acquire it. If only to discover what happens in the sequels before anyone else. (A huge editor perk by the way!).
I just adored the characters, their dilemmas and Zen Cho's lively and wonderfully-crafted Regency backdrop. I also knew that Naomi Novik had loved it too - so a top recommendation already. The parallels between Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell and Georgette Heyer's amazing Regency adventures was very clear too and a massive plus in favour of Sorcerer to the Crown.
To whet your appetites further, a hint of the plot is below. And I include some fervent in-house praise and our official press release underneath that. We'll be publishing in Autumn 2015, so next year already has an important new red-letter-day in the calendar!
Expect a sparkling Regency setting, adventure and alarums galore! Here Zacharias Wythe is England's first African Sorcerer Royal. But a faction schemes to remove him from his position by fair means or foul. He must also contend with the Fairy Court refusing to grant Britain the magical resources it needs and with pernicious rumours that he murdered his predecessor. However, his most outrageous problem yet is a female magical prodigy. Ambitious orphan Prunella Gentleman is desperate to escape the school where she’s drudged all her life. Now things are looking up – as she has just stumbled upon English magic's greatest discovery in centuries. And she intends to make full use of it.
- ‘I really enjoyed it. This feels very Jonathan Strange and Mr Norell without all the annoying footnotes!’
- ‘I finished this yesterday…It was brilliant. I loved the really strong characters and the definite sense of absurd. Just to add that I also think that it is more immediately accessible than Jonathan Strange and Mr Norell with more pace. There is also a real understated and appealing humour to the writing.’
- ‘I’m enjoying it immensely! The first scene with Rollo is strongly reminiscent of the trials and tribulations of Bertie Wooster, with his formidable aunts...the whole story seems very intriguing.’
- ‘There’s the right amount of humour, mystery and charm. I’ve found myself really warming to the characters and at a third of the way through, I’m excited to find out what happens next.’
- ‘It’s written beautifully, in an authentic-feeling historical tone, and I’m definitely hooked. The magical world is spine-tingling.’
- ‘I thought it was absolutely delightful. I love this type of storytelling: witty and warm, funny with just enough romance and the spunky female protagonist is excellent. And I like how Cho pulls in ideas about gender, race and empire’
THE PRESS RELEASE
PAN MACMILLAN BUYS NEW TRILOGY IN THE TRADITION OF JONATHAN STRANGE AND MR NORRELL
Pan Macmillan is delighted to report the acquisition of Sorcerer to the Crown by debut novelist Zen Cho. Senior Commissioning editor Bella Pagan bought UK and Commonwealth rights in this novel and two others by Cho from Penguin US. And this book generated a great deal of excitement, with auctions on both sides of the Atlantic.
Zen Cho’s creation is an irresistible combination of Georgette Heyer and Susanna Clarke, with a pinch of fairyland in a brilliantly-drawn Regency London setting. With the BBC TV series of Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell due in 2015, enthusiasm for this type of fiction will be running high.
In the novel, Cho draws us in with charismatic protagonists and sparkling plotting. Here Zacharias Wythe is England's first African Sorcerer Royal. But a faction schemes to remove him from his position by fair means or foul. He must also contend with the Fairy Court refusing to grant Britain the magical resources it needs and with pernicious rumours that he murdered his predecessor. However, his most outrageous problem yet is a female magical prodigy. Ambitious orphan Prunella Gentleman is desperate to escape the school where she’s drudged all her life. Now things are looking up – as she has just stumbled upon English magic's greatest discovery in centuries.
Zen Cho said: ‘I'm delighted that the book has found such a wonderful home in the UK. It's a great honour to join Pan Macmillan's fantastic list, and I know they will do a fabulous job of orchestrating Zacharias and Prunella's debut in society!’
Malaysian author Zen Cho lives in London and she is already building a name for herself. She was on a number of speaking panels at London’s Nine Worlds convention last year. She’s also had short stories published and was a finalist for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer.
Pagan shared her enthusiasm, saying: ‘Sorcerer to the Crown is warm, clever and witty. I just adored the characters, their dilemmas and the lively world Zen Cho has created. It’s very special and I just can’t wait to share this wonderful book with as many readers as possible’.
Author Naomi Novik is already a big fan of the book, also finding it ‘an enchanting cross between Georgette Heyer and Susanna Clarke, full of delights and surprises.’
Pan Macmillan will be publishing Sorcerer to the Crown in Autumn 2015, with the two sequels to follow in due course.
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ABOUT PAN MACMILLAN
Pan Macmillan UK is one of the largest general book publishers in the UK, with imprints including Macmillan, Mantle, Pan, Picador, Boxtree, Sidgwick & Jackson, Bello, Tor, Macmillan Children’s Books, Campbell Books, Macmillan New Writing and Macmillan Digital Audio. Pan Macmillan is part of the Macmillan Publishing Group which operates in over 70 countries. www.panmacmillan.com