Fourth Estate at Harper bought world English rights to a new book of popular science by Simon Singh (Fermat's Enigma) called The Theory of Creation. Editor Leo Hollis bought it from Singh's London-based agent, Patrick Walsh, and will edit it for fall 2004 publication. Singh, whose earlier books were published to much acclaim in the U.S. by Walker, had been successfully published by Fourth Estate in London, and the new deal means Harper will publish in the U.K., Canada, Australia and New Zealand as well as the U.S.... A first novel by journalist Elise Blackwell based on a true story during the WWII siege of Leningrad was bought by Michael Pietsch at Little, Brown from agent John A. Ware. It's called Life Science and describes how a group of scientists at a Leningrad plant institute fought to protect their precious rare seeds despite the terror and starvation all around them; it's set for a 2003 pub date.... Norton senior editor Bob Weil brought back a treasure from a recent trip to South Africa: a color-illustrated book called Nelson Mandela's Favorite African Folk Tales, in which the Nobel Peace Prize—winning president collects his favorites, old and new. Weil bought U.S. and Canadian rights from Capetown publisher Tafelberg and will publish it in November.... Mathematics professor John Allen Paulos, who has done two bestselling books for Basic, has now sold them his next, tentatively titled A Mathematician Plays the Stock Market, in which he tries to determine if the market works by rational math principles, and whether various systems work. Basic senior editor William Frucht bought world rights from agent Rafe Sagalyn and will publish in fall of next year.