Sam Eades at Trapeze, an imprint of U.K. publisher Orion, has won a five-way auction to sign the debut novel We Own the Sky by Luke Allnutt.
The novel, discovered on the slush pile by Juliet Mushens of UTA, has secured rights deals worth almost £1m in 10 countries, with further deals pending. Orion has U.K. and Commonwealth (excluding Canada) rights, and will publish in 2018. In the States, Liz Stein at Park Row Books (Harlequin/HarperCollins) signed U.S. rights to the novel in a six-figure preempt, and plans to publish the book in winter 2018. The book was also acquired in a six-figure preempt in Germany.
We Own the Sky is about a character named Rob, who runs a photography website where he posts panoramic photos of the places he visited with his son, Jack. Slowly, we learn what he is hiding from: Jack's cancer diagnosis, the loss of his wife, and his obsession with saving his son, against all odds.
Allnutt, a Prague-based journalist specializing in technology and Eastern European politics, began writing the novel while undergoing chemotherapy treatment for his own cancer, which is now in remission. He has written a Kindle Single, "Unspoken," about his father's death from a brain tumor.
Eades called the novel "a soaring debut." Mushens said: "When I read We Own the Sky I knew immediately how special it was--it's page-turning, heartbreaking and ultimately life-affirming."
And Stein declared that Allnutt is the "next big commercial fiction sensation." She went on to say that the book is "beautifully written" and has "an emotional pull that will connect with all readers."
A version of this story originally appeared on the U.K.-based website, BookBrunch.co.uk.
This story has been updated from its original version to include details about the U.S. acquisition of the novel.