There’s nothing like having a work from an international bestseller at Frankfurt, and Writers House thinks it has a must-see property in an ambitious new proposal for a series from Ken Follett. The agency has just submitted a writeup about the author’s new three-book series, dubbed The Century, to Follett’s U.S. publisher, Penguin; a deal is expected to close stateside next week, and the agency is planning to close all of its foreign deals for the series in Frankfurt. At the Fair Follett’s current foreign publishers, who have all received the proposal, will get first crack at the work.
Pointing to Follett’s international success, Amy Berkower at Writers House released some impressive stats on his current book, World Without End. Penguin allowed Follett’s Italian publisher, Mondadori—the author’s most significant following is in Italy—to release the book there first; it’s due out in the U.S. October 9. The work, a loose follow-up to Follett’s 1989 international smash Pillars of the Earth, has gone back to press twice in Italy, Berkower said. Mondadori, which assigned five translators to the book, released World on September 20 with a 400,000 announced first printing; already, Berkower said, Mondadori has gone back to press for 200,000 more copies. In the U.S. Penguin has gone to press for 55,000 copies and will ship 475,000.
The Century, which will follow three families of different nationalities over the course of three wars—the first book will be set during World War I, the second during World War II and the last during the Cold War—will bring a level of “epic storytelling” to the kind of espionage thrillers that initially brought Follett fame, Berkower said.