Rodale Waters Ritz’s ‘Plant’
In a world-rights acquisition, Rodale’s Marisa Vigilante bought Stephen Ritz’s The Power of a Plant. The book, which agent Lynn Johnston sold, is about a green curriculum’s positive impact on the students in the South Bronx high school where Ritz teaches. A “green curriculum” focuses on sustainability, and Ritz, who was featured in the Michael Pollan documentary In Defense of Food, shows in the book how the program improves everything from attendance to students’ personal health habits.

Wilkes’s ‘Vine’ to Two Dollar Radio
Visual artist and musician J.D. Wilkes sold world rights to his debut novel, The Vine That Ate the South, to Eric Obenauf at Two Dollar Radio. Wilkes is the frontman for the rockabilly band the Legendary Shack Shakers, which has toured with the Black Keys and others. The novel, Obenauf said, is “a mesmerizing fantasia” that “grapples with the contradictions of the contemporary American South while subversively considering how well we know our own family and friends.” Vine is scheduled for April 2017.

Berkley Nabs Torjussen’s Latest
Danielle Perez at Berkley Publishing Group took U.S. and Canadian rights, in a two-book deal at auction, to Mary Torjussen’s Without a Trace. Kate Burke at Diane Banks Associates brokered the sale for Torjussen. The novel, Berkley said, is a psychological thriller about a woman named Hannah who, after her live-in boyfriend abruptly disappears with all of their belongings, realizes she is being watched. The publisher said the book asks, “What has happened to him? And is Hannah’s account the whole truth?” Torjussen is from Liverpool, England, where the book is set. The novel is slated for April 2017.

Gratton Takes Two to Tor
In a two-book deal, Miriam Weinberg at Tor took world English rights to Tessa Gratton’s adult fantasy debut, The Queen of Innis Lear, along with a second book set in the same world. Laura Rennert at the Andrea Brown Literary Agency handled the sale. Rennert said Queen of Innis Lear, which is scheduled for winter 2018, follows three sisters “sharing the same tragic ancestry and ambitious destiny” who “vie with each other and with the kings who will be their allies, enemies, and pawns, in a dangerous, sexy, deadly game for power.” Rennert added that the book has “the operatic feeling of Game of Thrones.” Gratton is an established YA author whose titles include The Blood Keeper and the Gods of New Asgard series.

‘Monkey’ Lands at HMH
In a two-book deal, Tim Mudie and Bruce Nichols at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt preempted North American rights, for six figures, to The Fourth Monkey, a thriller by J.D. Barker. Barker, who self-published the indie bestseller Forsaken, was represented by Kristin Nelson at Nelson Literary Agency. Pitched by Nelson as “Se7en meets Silence of the Lambs” the novel opens with a notorious serial killer being hit by an oncoming bus. With the killer suddenly dead, the detective on his case has to scramble to unravel the maniac’s clues in order to rescue the serial killer’s final victim. The book, which has also been acquired in major deals in the U.K., Germany, Spain, and Italy, is slated for a spring 2017 release from HMH.