Cleave Goes ‘Gold’ for S&S
Simon & Schuster has nabbed U.S. rights to a new novel called Gold by Chris Cleave, the British author who had a major sleeper hit for the house with 2009 ‘s Little Bee. Sarah Knight bought Gold, which is scheduled for July 2012, from Jennifer Joel at ICM. In the novel, a pair of elite athlete/best friends—Zoe and Kate—are tested, physically and emotionally, just before their first Olympics, in 2012 London. As S&S elaborated: “They must confront each other and their own mortality to decide, when lives are at stake: what would you sacrifice for the people you love, if it meant giving up the thing that was most important to you in the world?” Little Bee, published originally in the U.K. as The Other Hand, has sold more than 1.6 million copies (combined print and e-book) for S&S, and film rights were acquired by BBC Films, with Nicole Kidman attached to star. S&S also acquired the reprint rights to Cleave’s first novel, Incendiary, and, after releasing it in 2009, has over 190,000 copies (p and e) in circulation.

Thomas Dunne Nabs Marathoner
Rob Kirkpatrick at Thomas Dunne Books bought North American rights to a currently untitled memoir by marathoner Bill Rodgers. Robert Wilson, at Wilson Media, brokered the deal for Rodgers, who won eight marathons (taking the top spot in the Boston and New York City events four times each). Rodgers, before he gained fame as a professional runner, worked for a hospital, where he had the grim job of delivering dead bodies to the morgue. In 1975, when he emerged on the scene by winning the Boston Marathon, he also broke Frank Shorter’s American record. Kirkpatrick said Rodgers was an integral part of the country’s changing attitude about running, encouraging many everyday people to start doing distance races. The book is tentatively scheduled for winter 2014.

Caine, Springer Land at NAL
Rachel Caine, who we reported last week closed a major deal with NAL for three more titles in her Morganville Vampire series, has sold a stand-alone novel to NAL built around the character of Benvolio, from Romeo and Juliet. Caine’s agent, Lucienne Diver, at the Knight Agency, sold world English rights in a six-figure deal, to Anne Sowards. The novel will be told from the point of view of Benvolio, who is Romeo’s cousin and, in Shakespeare’s play, attempts to get the lovelorn Montague interested in other girls after it’s discovered that Juliet is a member of the clan his family despises: the Capulets. Caine’s novel, Diver said, explores a scenario in which Romeo and Juliet are not the only couple to fall into dire romantic straits and is “a tale of intrigue, betrayal, hatred, and tragedy,” about “lovers lost, and lovers found.”

In another NAL deal, Ellen Edwards bought world English rights to Nancy Springer’s thriller A Knife’s Edge. Jennifer Weltz at Jean V. Naggar closed the two-book deal with Edwards; the second book is currently untitled. In Knife’s Edge, a 30-something woman who is battling lupus becomes caught in what Weltz dubbed “a psychological nightmare” after she witnesses a kidnapping. Springer writes the middle-grade Enola Holmes series, which is published by Philomel, Knife’s Edge is scheduled for spring 2013.

Atria Re-Ups Kennedy
Agent Grainne Fox, at Fletcher & Co., sold two more novels by Douglas Kennedy to Sarah Branham at Atria. Fox handled the deal on behalf of the British agent, Antony Harwood, who has an eponymous firm. Branham bought U.S. rights to Five Days, and U.S. and Canadian rights to a second, currently untitled, work. Five Days follows two people whose comfortable lives are uprooted when they fall for one another and launch into a passionate affair after only a few days together. Kennedy’s latest novel, The Moment, was published by Atria in May, and the film adaptation of his 2007 novel, The Woman in the Fifth, is opening in France in November, with plans for the film to hit U.S. theaters later.