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John F. Baker -- 10/30/00

Big Bucks for Deaver | Such a Book! Rosten's Back
An Irishwoman as Slave | Still More War Memories | Short Takes

Big Bucks for Deaver
Jeffrey Deaver
, author of headlong thrillers starring the unforgettable quadriplegic investigator Lincoln Rhyme, has just been enjoying some spectacular paydays. First Hodder & Stoughton in London paid £500,000 (about $800,000) at Frankfurt for his next two novels. Then his agent, Deborah Schneider at Gelfman & Schneider, made a three-book deal with publisher David Rosenthal at Simon & Schuster for several million more. S&S bought U.S., Canada and open market. First of the new trio will be a new Rhyme tale, scheduled for May 2002, but no details are available on the others. Meanwhile, working with Ron Bernstein at ICM, Schneider has sold Deaver's next novel, The Blue Nowhere,a non-Rhyme opus involving computer trickery, to director J l Silver for Warner Bros. (the book is due next May). And last year's The Devil's Teardrop was bought for the movies by another big-name director, Wolfgang Peterson.

Such a Book! Rosten's BackMore than 30 years ago a book called The Joys of Yiddish took America by storm. LeoRosten's guide to the language is still in print, selling thousands of copies annually. But life has moved on since 1968, and now Crown senior editor Doug Pepper has bought North American rights to a revised edition to be prepared by Larry Bush in cooperation with the humorist's daughters, Madeline Lee and Margaret Rosten Muir. There will be a text "updated to the millennium," and, for the first time, a cross-referenced Yiddish-English index. The deal was made with lawyer Robert F. Levine, acting on behalf of the estate, who said he could envision future spinoffs like TV specials, merchandising and foreign editions. Crown will also do further books based on its content and themes. "We're kvelling to be publishing this Jewish-American classic," said Crown president Chip Gibson.

An Irishwoman as SlaveThat's the startling notion of a first novel just preempted by Viking Penguin publisher Kathryn Court and based on historical fact. The book is Cot by an Arizona university teacher, Kate McCafferty, and tells the tale of an Irish girl shipped out in the late 17th century with other poor and orphaned folk as an indentured servant to work on an English plantation in Barbados. There she toiled alongside African slaves, her condition no different from theirs, and eventually joined them in an unsuccessful uprising in which her African husband was killed. Court, who said, "It's the best thing I've read in quite a long time, written in a wonderfully believable voice," paid just below six figures for world rights to agent Barbara Braun, who hung on to movie rights and already has expressions of interest. Court plans to publish early in 2002.

Still More War MemoriesTwo books looking back on World War II made substantial sales just before the Frankfurt fair. Bill Thomas at Doubleday and Marty Asher at Anchor/Vintage preempted a book by Joseph E. Stevens called Zero Hour: America at War from Pearl Harbor to Midway, a detailed account of the first six months of American participation in the war, in which America scrambled to find its wartime footing. The six-figure North American rights sale was made by Russell Galen at Scovil, Chichak & Galen, and the book should be delivered in just over two years. Stevens's last book was 1863: The Rebirth of a Nation with Bantam. Executive editor Mauro DiPreta at HarperCollins, also for six figures, picked up world rights for a book called Brave Men, Gentle Her s: American Fathers and Sons in World War II and Vietnam, which in a series of interviews spells out the lessons of war and the very different kinds of wars these were. Author Michael Takiff was represented by agent Craig Kayser at the Queens, N.Y.-based Kayser Pierce agency. The book was bought for Morrow and is set for Veterans Day 2002; there may be a TV special to go along with it.
Hall: In pursuit of
Lewis &Clark.

Judy Clain at Little, Brown paid "a hefty sum" for a trilogy of novels by NBA-winning Robb Forman Dew (Dale Loves Sophie to Death) that will cover the life of an Ohio family as it grows and changes during the 20th century. The first, The Evidence Against Her, will appear next fall. The agent was Miriam Altshuler, and the deal was for world rights... Novelist Brian Hall (The Saskiad) has written a novel detailing the relationship between explorers Lewis and Clark and their Native American guide Sacagawea on their famous Western expedition, and Viking Penguin's Paul Slovak bought hard/soft North American rights from Sarah Chalfant at the Wylie Agency. Publication is in spring 2002.... A novel discovered and read overnight at last month's Maui Writers Conference by agent Mary Ann Naples of The Creative Culture was preempted for half a million dollars by Kristin Kiser at Crown. The author is a young Filipina,
Holthe: A big deal
from Maui.
Tess Uriza Holthe, and her book, When the Elephants Dance, is about a group of Filipinos sheltering in a cave from the horrors of the Japanese invasion in WWII and telling each other mythical stories as a comfort. Kiser took world rights, first serial and audio and is publishing in spring 2002.