Big War Books
Less than 48 hours after receiving the proposal, Houghton's Amanda Cook preempted North American rights to Oxford University historian Rana Mitter's The Enduring War: The Sino-Japanese War of 1937—45 and How It Changed the Course of Asian History; agent Susan Rabiner brokered the deal. The book draws on newly available archival material in China to offer a major reinterpretation of the war years, in particular the role of Nationalist leader Chiang Kai-shek. Mitter also reexamines America's actions during World War II, arguing that if the West hadn't abandoned the Chinese in their hour of need, China might have taken a very different path. Houghton plans to publish in fall 2010.
Shifting to a more recent conflict, agent Jim Hornfischer just concluded a four-house auction for an untitled combat narrative by David Bellavia, a sergeant with the 1st Infantry Division in Iraq; Bruce Nichols at the Free Press bought world rights for mid-six figures. Bellavia reportedly is up for the Medal of Honor for his exploits at Fallujah, where he killed five insurgents in hand-to-hand house fighting, helping to save his platoon, which suffered severe casualties. The book is intended to be the definitive work on house-to-house city combat. John Bruning will co-write and Free Press tentatively plans to publish in fall 2007.
Book for All Ages
Christy Ottaviano at Holt has acquired Revolution Is Not a Dinner Party, a debut novel by Ying Chang Compestine; Laura Rennert at the Andrea Brown Literary Agency did the world rights deal. Inspired by a true story and described as "Anne Frank in the Cultural Revolution," the novel portrays the experience of a young girl whose parents are doctors in a Wuhan hospital, and how her world gradually disintegrates when Comrade Li moves into her family's house. Ying is the author of eight children's picture books and three cookbooks; Holt plans to publish in fall 2007, both in the adult division and at Holt Books for Young Readers.
Doing Business in China
John Mahaney at Crown Business has acquired Jack Perkowski's Managing the Dragon: Building a Billion Dollar Company in China; Wayne Kabak at William Morris sold world rights. Perkowski, who after a successful 20-year career on Wall Street moved to China in the early 1990s and started his own auto components business, will share his experiences and business insights learned from meeting the needs of people within the Chinese market. Crown plans an April 2008 publication.
Thrillers to Viking
Joshua Kendall at Viking has acquired U.S. rights to Tom Cain's The Accident Man in a two-book deal with Julian Alexander at Lucas Alexander Whitley in the U.K. The novel is the first in a series of books featuring Daniel Carver, who arranges "accidental" deaths for money—from a ruptured gas line to a fall from a window. In the first book, a job below a bridge in Paris goes very wrong. Tom Cain is a pseudonym for a journalist living in England; Transworld will publish in the U.K. and Viking plans a winter 2008 publication here.
Max to Simon Spotlight
Jeremie Ruby-Strauss at Simon Spotlight has acquired world rights to blogger Tucker Max's next book, A**holes Finish First; the deal was made directly with the author. This will be a collection of new stories about Max's debauched adventures; his first book, I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell, has sold more than 70,000 copies. The book is currently scheduled for publication in January 2008.
In a rare (for him) fiction buy, Random's David Ebershoff won North American rights to a debut by Charles Bock titled Beautiful Children in an auction conducted by Sterling Lord's Jim Rutman. The book centers on the day a 12-year-old Las Vegas boy disappears in the desert.