A press release from the John Jarrold Literary Agency:
Jonathan Oliver, commissioning editor of Solaris Books, has commissioned Shanghai Sparrow, the first in a new steampunk series by Gaie Sebold featuring a strong female protagonist. The novel will be delivered in December 2013, for a summer 2014 publication. The agent was John Jarrold, and the deal was for UK/US rights.
Gaie, whose previous novels Babylon Steel and its sequel Dangerous Gifts are already published by Solaris, said:
“I’ve long been fascinated by the British Empire and the contradictions it embodies: appalling exploitation hand in hand with burgeoning ideas on human rights; the expansion of the sciences and exploration even as any respectable woman was expected to occupy an ever-shrinking sphere of influence and experience. And I love the idea of a time that never was, of gleaming brass machines and skies throbbing with zeppelins, where magical creatures still cling to existence and high adventure is propelled by the rush of steam. The idea of a school for spies is not, of course, original to me; but once Eveline Duchen, adolescent con-artist and general troublemaker, popped into my head, I couldn’t think of a better place for her to start her adventures. She’s a little Frank Abagnale, a little Robin Hood, and more than a little Nellie Bly; and she’s going to make some interesting friends.”