Bestselling YA author Cassandra Clare closed a major two-book deal with Random House for a new adult fantasy series called Sword Catcher. Del Rey executive editor Anne Groell bought North American rights to the novels for a sum rumored to be in the seven-figure range.
According to insiders, the heated auction for the books stretched on for months. Set up by Clare's agent Russell Galen at Scovil Galen Ghosh Literary Agency, the auction, sources told PW, required that bidders come in with an initial offer of $2 million per book. Asked about the figures, Galen declined to comment.
Galen did note, however, that there has been a notable amount of foreign interest in the series, which is not surprising. The Bookseller reported that a U.K. deal for the series has already closed, with Pan Macmillan acquiring it for seven figures.
Best known for her Mortal Instruments series, Clare, according to Random House, has more than 50 million copies of her books in print worldwide. A film based on the first book in the Mortal Instruments series was released in 2013, and a series adaptation of the books called Shadowhunters currently airs on the TV channel Freeform.
The first book in the new series, The Sword Catcher, was, Clare said in a statement, inspired by a story she read years ago about "an Iraqi man forced to give up his life to serve as the body double for one of Saddam Hussein’s sons." In the series, she went on, a boy is kidnapped as a child and forced to change his appearance in order to become a decoy for the cruel son of a despised king.
"For years, this character lived in my head, and as I got to know him, I came to imagine the web of friends and enemies surrounding him," Clare said. "As these men and women took shape, so did the city they lived in. My own journey as a writer has brought me to the point where I am ready to realize this world."
Correction: An earlier version of this article misstated the basis of the Freeform TV series Shadowhunters. It's an adaptation of the Mortal Instruments series, not Cassandra Clare's book (co-written with her husband), The Shadowhunters Codex. Additionally, Sword Catcher does not technically mark Clare's first series for adults, as previously stated, as she has co-written some adult series titles.