We are delighted to announce the acquisition of a heartfelt and emotional middle grade story – A KINGDOM OF HORSES by Zillah Bethell. Editor Matilda Johnson acquired UK and Commonwealth rights for KINGDOM, plus a second untitled book from Julia Churchill at A.M. Heath at auction. The book will publish in hardback in autumn 2016, followed by a paperback edition in spring 2017.
The story follows Serendipity Gouge, a twelve year old living in Lahn Dahn, a city with a wall around it, ten people high, called the Emm Twenty Five. Nobody comes in and nobody goes out. The rich live in crystal towers with magnificent wealth and the poor spend their days doing back breaking physical labour for a lone potato or a sup of goat’s milk.
Serendipity loves horses, but no-one in Lahn Dan has ever seen one. All that remains are statues and paintings, as well as the little wooden horse her mother gave her. But when Serendipity’s mother dies, she is left all alone and the Minister’s law means that orphans will shortly be moved into work-houses. Serendipity knows she must get away. When she finds a map that suggests there is life outside of Lahn Dahn, and a place where horses roam, she knows she needs to escape from the city, out beyond the wall and the Minister’s grip. With the help of a trader boy called Tab, and his little dog Mouse, she heads into the unknown to find the horses she’s always dreamed of.
This is a journey of hope and freedom, escape and adventure, perfect for fans of THE LAST WILD.
Zillah Bethell was born in a leprosy hospital in Papua New Guinea, spent her childhood barefoot playing in the jungle, and didn’t own a pair of shoes until she came to the UK when she was eight. She was educated at Oxford University and lives in Wales with her family. Zillah has written two adult novels for a small Welsh press. This is her first children’s book.
Matilda Johnson said:
“I was absolutely captivated by Serendipity’s voice from the first page and am thrilled that Zillah is joining the Piccadilly list. She is a natural storyteller.”
Zillah Bethell said:
“I am delighted to be joining the excellent list of Piccadilly Press. Such awesome books that they are. I am trespassing on air!”
We hope you’re all as excited about A KINGDOM OF HORSES as we are!