Reiss Moves to Crown

After a major auction that reportedly included high-level bids from Penguin Press, Knopf, Norton and Spiegel & Grau, Crown's Rick Horgan snapped up world rights to the next two books by bestselling author Tom Reiss (The Orientalist) via Tina Bennett at Janklow & Nesbit. In the first of the two works, tentatively titled Black Marquis, Reiss will tell the story of Gen. Alexandre Dumas. A black Frenchman, Dumas rose from slavery to become a master swordsman, lady's man, Napoleon's cavalry commander and ultimate rival, and the father of an identically named son who fictionalized his father's exploits in The Three Musketeers and The Count of Monte Cristo. Publication is likely not until 2009.

Spanish Preempt

Penguin Press editor-in-chief Scott Moyers paid low six figures in a preempt for North American rights to a debut Spanish novel titled The Creator's Map; the author is Emilio Calderon and agent Thomas Colchie handled the deal on behalf of Antonia Kerrigan in Barcelona. Set in the period surrounding the rise and fall of fascism, the novel is narrated by a young Spanish architect who arrives in Rome in 1937 and becomes entangled in a web of political intrigue, love and deceit involving a librarian, a prince and a map. The novel will be published in Spain this October, and thus far rights have also been preempted in Holland, China and Australia.

More on Shakespeare

Columbia professor James Shapiro, whose A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare: 1599recently won the Samuel Johnson Prize in the U.K., is moving from Harper to Simon & Schuster for two new Shakespeare tomes. Bob Bender took North American rights in a several-bidder auction conducted by agent Anne Edelstein. The two books are Contested Will: The Shakespeare Authorship Controversy and The Year of Lear: 1606, about the year the playwright produced Lear, Antony & Cleopatra and Macbeth. No pub date for either book has been set yet.

The Right Note

Zoe Pagnamenta at PFD NY has just concluded an auction for Emma Brockes's memoir, What Would Barbra Do? How Musicals Can Change Your Life; Jonathan Burnham and Claire Wachtel at Harper prevailed over Scribner and S&S (in a house bid) and Bloomsbury with a six-figure offer for North American rights. Brockes, a 30-year-old writer at the Guardianin the U.K. who is obsessed with show tunes, will explore the world of musicals through her own story of growing up with a mother who knew all the words to the songs in The Sound of Music and Oklahoma. Pagnamenta handled the deal on behalf of Pat Kavanagh in London; Transworld will publish in the U.K.

Two for Hyperion

Gretchen Young just acquired a new novel by Mark Frost titled The Second Objective. The plot revolves around a little-known fact of WWII— Hitler's plan for a select group of English-speaking soldiers to infiltrate Allied lines, disrupt the invasion and, failing that, achieve the Second Objective, the assassination of Supreme Allied Commander Dwight D. Eisenhower. Frost, who writes both fiction and nonfiction, is most recently the author of The Greatest Game Ever Played and Grand Slam, both published by Hyperion. Young took North American rights from agent Ed Victor; pub is May 2007.

Brenda Copeland has acquired world English rights to Kerry Cohen's Loose Girl: A Memoir of Promiscuity from agent Ethan Ellenberg. Driven by divorce and inattentive parents, Cohen tried to empower herself through sex; her story begins as she tries to compile a list of all the boys and men she has slept with. Cohen is a therapist whose practice specializes in adolescent girls. Hyperion's tentative pub is March 2008.

Stage to Screen to Book

Journalist and author Denene Millner (The Vow; Money, Power, Respect) has signed on with Harper Entertainment's Will Hinton to write a novelization of Broadway musical Dreamgirls, the forthcoming screen version of which stars Beyoncé Knowles and Jamie Foxx. Agent Victoria Sanders sold world rights, and Millner has already delivered the book, which will be published in November in time for the film's release. Dreamgirlswas written for the screen and directed by Bill Condon.

The Briefing

Harmony's John Glusman has acquired world rights to Rich Blake's The Day Donny Herbert Woke Up, which is the story of a Buffalo, N.Y., firefighter who fell into a coma-like state for nearly 10 years, until April 2005, when he miraculously began to speak for one extraordinary 16-hour period. Blake is a cousin of Herbert's widow and a senior editor at Trader Monthly magazine; Larry Kirshbaum made the deal and a fall 2007 publication is planned.... Lucia Watsonat Viking Studio has acquired North American rights to Melissa Murphy's The Sweet Melissa Patisserie Recipe Book: Everyone's Favorite Desserts Better than They've Ever Had Them Before from Michael Psaltis at Culinary Cooperative/Regal Literary; Murphy is the proprietor of several Sweet Melissa Patisserie shops in Brooklyn and Manhattan, and a winter 2008 pub is tentative.