Big Debuts

Reagan Arthur at Little, Brown won an auction for a debut novel titled The Heretic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent; agent Julie Barer bought North American rights. The book, about a young girl in Puritan New England who defends her mother against accusations of sorcery, is based on the true story of the author's nine-generations-back grandmother, who was one of the first women to be hanged in Salem as a witch. Expected pub date is early 2009.

Ellen Archer and Pamela Dorman have preempted U.S. rights to Stephen Lovely's Irreplaceable for Hyperion's Voice imprint via Lisa Bankoff at ICM. The story of four people whose lives intersect in the aftermath of a heart transplant, the novel was selected by Lan Samantha Chang, director of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, for a 2006—2007 James Michener/Copernicus Society Award. Lovely is the director of the Iowa Young Writers' Studio.

Two Strikes for S&S

Alice Mayhew at Simon & Schuster has acquired North American rights to a new, untitled book by NBC News senior correspondent Richard Engel via Paul Fedorko at Trident. Engel will describe what it's been like to live and work in the Middle East for the past 11 years, especially the last four, during which he has been reporting from Iraq on a daily basis. He will also talk about his start as a journalist, including his decision to move to the slums of Cairo after graduating from Stanford so he could teach himself Arabic and learn about the region. Engel, the recipient of an Edgar R. Murrow award in 2006, is the author of one previous book, A Fist in the Hornet's Nest (Hyperion, 2004). S&S plans a 2008 publication.

In another S&S deal, David Rosenthal bought a new novel by Tony Award—winning playwright David Rabe, Dinosaurs on the Roof, via agent Deborah Schneider, who sold North American rights. The book will explore the collision of two lives, an old woman who believes she is living the last night of her life, and the daughter of her deceased friend, whose life is in a tailspin of self-destruction after a recent divorce. Rabe has written one previous novel, Recital of the Dog (2000), as well as a book of stories, A Primitive Heart (2005), both published by Grove.

Rollins for Kids

James Rollins, whose last two thrillers, Map of Bones and Black Order, have been New York Times bestsellers, is developing a middle-grade series that has just been won at auction by Ruth Katcher at HarperCollins Books for Young Readers. Russell Galen at Scovil Chichak Galen made the mid-six-figure, two-book North American rights deal. The series, the Lost Tribes, concerns an orphaned brother and sister on the lost continent of Pangea, a world where refugees from different cultures and eras all find themselves trapped. Tentative pub date for the first book, The Stone Dragon, is fall 2008.

An Activist's Life

Henry Ferris at Morrow just bought North American rights to Mark Rudd's Weatherman via agent Jane Dystel. In 1968 Rudd was the chairman of the Columbia University chapter of Students for a Democratic Society before going on to start the Weatherman faction of SDS, ultimately going underground for seven years and finally turning himself in, in 1977. The book will provide a chronological narrative of his life and this period of American history. Planned pub date is spring 2009.

The Briefing

Genoveva Llosa at Collins has acquired a new book by UCLA psychiatrist and Brain Lock author Dr. Jeffrey Schwartz, who will team up with strategist David Rock to write The Brain at Work. The book will examine the latest findings on brain research. Agent Susan Rabiner sold world rights; pub date is 2008.