Within paragraphs of meeting 26-year-old bond trader Garrett Reilly, readers will know that The Ascendant is not their parents’ thriller. The thoroughly modern, half-Irish, half-Mexican kid from the slums of Long Beach, Calif., is a video-game player, a pot smoker, and a numbers savant.

Reilly is the brainchild of Drew Chapman, a writer who has, until now, been bound by what he laughingly refers to as the “arcane and idiotic” structural rules of TV and screenwriting. “Writing the book was orgasmic in terms of the freedom,” Chapman says, adding that it was exciting to create a world that encompasses all his basic obsessions, including but not limited to technology, economics, politics, geopolitics, and the future of warfare.

When Markus Hoffman of Regal Literary sent the manuscript to Marysue Rucci, vice president and editor-in-chief at Simon & Schuster, she was immediately hooked by the setup, the pacing, and the effortless writing—but Chapman’s leading man was the clincher. She says, “Garrett Reilly is the perfect antihero for the 21st century, with an extraordinary genius for pattern recognition and a questionable relationship with authority. Readers will quickly see why his unorthodox recruitment into government service is both brilliant and rife with challenge.”

Simon & Schuster bought world rights to The Ascendant, which has been sold in the following territories: Denmark, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Holland, Italy, Japan, Turkey, and the U.K. and Commonwealth. Announced first printing: 75,000 copies.