Little, Brown's Asya Muchnik preempted a first novel called The Dogs of Babel by Carolyn Parkhurst—the affecting story of a linguist trying to get word from his dog, the only witness, about his wife's death; she paid six figures for world English rights to Douglas Stewart at Curtis Brown.... The Free Press, continuing its fiction buying, has taken the next novel by Southern novelist Larry Brown, previously done at Algonquin; it's called The Rabbit Factory and Dominick Anfuso bought North American rights from Liz Darhansoff.... In an unusual move, a British agent sold a first novel direct to Diane Higgins at St. Martin's Press; it's The Last Girl, a love story set in Lithuania over the past 60 years, and the sale was made by London agent Rupert Heath on behalf of author Stephan Collishaw; it had already made a London sale.... Morrow made a major world English rights deal for two new thrillers from Gregg Andrew Hurwitz even before his first, one called Do No Harm, is out; Meghan Dowling signed with agent Matthew Guma at Arthur Pine Associates.... Agent Jimmy Vines sold a story based on the journals of Italian adventurer Antonio Pigafetta, who sailed around the world with the explorer Magellan on his epic journey. It's called World Without End and is by Parade columnist Lyric Wallwork Winik; the buyer was Emily Loose at Crown.... In a departure for Rodale, the house's Jeremy Katz preempted an autobiography by NBA Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson, to be co-written with Roland Lazenby; the six-figure world rights deal was with Michael Harriot at Vigliano.