Bloomsbury to publish urban fantasy series by Oxford undergraduate, Samantha Shannon

Bloomsbury has pre-empted world English rights in The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon in a major three book deal and will publish the first of the seven book series in print and ebook globally on 12 September 2013, after the author graduates from Oxford University. Bloomsbury Editor-in-chief Alexandra Pringle moved to acquire the series from David Godwin at DGA during the London Book Fair, ahead of meetings with other publishers.

The Bone Season is a startling combination of a unique literary voice, a fully conceived, terrifying parallel world and a narrative pace that grips like a vice. It marks the arrival of an extraordinarily talented British writer set to challenge the worldwide bestseller list domination of Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series and Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games.

The Bone Season begins in 2059. Nineteen-year-old Paige Mahoney is working in the criminal underworld of London, based at Seven Dials, employed by a man named Jaxon Hall. She works as an envoy between secret cells: she drops in and out of people’s minds. For Paige is a lucid dreamer, a clairvoyant, and in her world, the world of Scion, she commits high treason simply by breathing. It is raining the day her life changes forever. Attacked, kidnapped and transported to Oxford, a city that has been kept secret for two hundred years, she meets Warden, a Rephaite with dark honey skin and heavy-lidded yellow eyes. He is the single most beautiful and frightening thing she has every laid eyes on—and he will become her keeper.

Born in 1991, the daughter of a policeman, Samantha Shannon grew up in Ruislip in West London and went to Bishop Ramsey School. One of the Harry Potter generation, Samantha Shannon devoured books and wrote her first 200,000 word novel while studying for her GCSEs. Her mother worried that that her obsessive 15 hours a day writing habit was damaging her health. Now halfway through her degree at St Anne’s College, Oxford, Samantha Shannon talks of the inspiration behind the series:

“The Bone Season came to me during my first year of university. I’ve always been fascinated by the supernatural. Reading John Donne’s poetry, I thought up the idea of there being a sort of ‘spirit trade’ in a world populated by clairvoyants. This came together with my love for dystopia, inspired by Orwell’s 1984 and Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. Early in the writing of The Bone Season, I realized it was a big story to tell but I know exactly what will happen to Paige and how it will all end.”