The Future Is Now for Samantha Shannon: Big Debut for a Seven-Book Series

Samantha Shannon strikes gold with her debut novel, The Bone Season, which debuts at #9 on our Hardcover Fiction list. The blend of alternate history, dystopian future, and paranormal fiction takes place in 2059 in London, which is ruled by a shadowy organization that has outlawed the use of psychic powers, and in Oxford, now a penal colony run by extradimensional entities, where captured psychics are trained in mental warfare. Protagonist Paige Mahoney is pulled between these two groups as she fights for self-determination and comes to understand the political underpinnings of her strange world.

The novel opens a seven-book series; Bloomsbury reportedly paid six figures to publish the first three installments, and film rights to The Bone Season have been optioned by the Imaginarium Studios. To capitalize on this investment, Bloomsbury sent Shannon on a tour of media outlets in the U.K. and U.S., including Vanity Fair, the Independent, Entertainment Weekly, and the Guardian. Those interviews and positive early reviews (including PW’s, which called The Bone Season “richly imagined” and an “extremely strong beginning”) have given Shannon the best launch a debut author could hope for. Now the question is whether she can keep the momentum going.

Comparisons to another seven-book woman-authored Bloomsbury series are inevitable, of course, but Shannon brushes them aside. As she told Vanity Fair, “We don’t need a new J.K. Rowling, so, you know, I’d rather be the first Samantha Shannon.”—Rose Fox

The Late Vince Flynn’s ‘Last Man’ Stands at #3: Another Manuscript Awaits Assessment by Pocket

The mass market edition of Vince Flynn’s The Last Man Standing landed in the third spot on this week’s Mass Market Paperback list, coming in behind The Inn at Rose Harbor and Low Pressure. With just over 17,000 copies sold at outlets that report to BookScan, Last Man, published by Pocket Books, was the biggest selling titles among those that were released in the week. Despite that honor, the 17,000 copies sold were about 8,000 copies lower than first-week sales of the mass market edition of Kill Shot, which was released by Pocket in August 2012. The decline reflects the steady overall drop in mass market paperback sales, sales that in some part are made up for by e-book sales. A spokesperson for Pocket parent company Simon & Schuster said that the kinds of promotions that helped Kill Shot in its first week won’t begin until the second week of sale for Last Man. “We think we’ll be making up ground on this over time,” the spokesperson said. Kill Shot has sold just under 180,000 copies in mass market paperback at BookScan outlets since it went on sale a year ago, selling another 1,550 copies last week. Flynn died in June after a battle with prostate cancer, and S&S continues to say his unpublished manuscript, titled The Survivor, is “postponed indefinitely” until a determination is made if there is enough material available to complete the novel.
—Jim Milliot

Romance, British Style: Newspaperwoman Tugs the Heartstrings

Not only has British author Jojo Moyes written 12 romance novels in 12 years—the latest of which, The Girl You Left Behind, lands at #24 on our Hardcover Fiction list—but she’s penned scintillating blogs to accompany, elucidate, and frequently send up each of her literary efforts. No run-of-the-mill chronicles here: these essays are composed with tongue planted firmly in cheek. Her blog that chronicles a 2012 Swedish junket, for example, is headlined “A trip to Sweden (contains no references to Abba, meatballs or IKEA).” In addition to Moyes’s novels, readers can revel in these 29 blogs, from February 2007 through August 2013.

Born and raised in London, Moyes in 1992 won a bursary financed by the Independent to attend the postgraduate journalism course at City University. She worked at the newspaper for the next 10 years, including stints as assistant news editor and arts and media correspondent. She’s been a fulltime novelist since 2002, when her first book, Sheltering Rain, was published. (She currently writes for the Daily Telegraph.)

Moyes’s previous novel, Me Before You (2012), received a starred PW review, and ecstatic reviews greeted the author’s latest work, including another starred PW review (“Lovely and wry, Moyes’s newest is captivating and bittersweet”), an “A-” from Entertainment Weekly, and the L.A. Times notice that “Moyes keeps the reader guessing down to the last hankie.”

In the U.S., Penguin has published The Girl You Left Behind, Me Before You, and The Last Letter from Your Lover. Moyes is one of only a few authors to have twice won the Romantic Novel of the Year Award by the Romantic Novelists’ Association, and her work has been translated into 11 languages. She first won the award in 2004 for Foreign Fruit and then in 2011 for The Last Letter from Your Lover.

The author’s current tour, which runs from Sept. 11 till Sept. 20, includes stops at the Greenwich, Conn., Library; the Georgia Center for the Book at the Decatur Library; Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, N.C.; Powell’s Books in Beaverton, Ore.; Warwick’s in La Jolla, Calif.; Watermark Books in Wichita, Kans.; B&N’s Mayfair Mall store in Wauwatosa, Wisc.; and the Madison Public Library in Madison, Wisc. —Dick Donahue