Three-book world deal with Headline for UK fantasy novelist

John Wordsworth, Commissioning Editor at Headline, has concluded a pre-emptive three-book World rights deal for an epic fantasy series by UK author Richard Ford with the agent John Jarrold. The first volume is provisionally titled Steelhaven and introduces a strong cast of characters in a fascinatingly constructed world and city setting.

Richard is a freelance editor and proof-reader who has just had his debut steampunk novel Kultus published by Solaris. “I’ve always loved fantasy that pushes the boundaries; that takes no prisoners and does what you least expect from the genre,” he said. “With Steelhaven I wanted to see what would happen if you took popular fantasy tropes and attacked them with modern concepts from TV and film. What if David Gemmell’s Legend was mixed with HBO’s The Wire? What if you took the characters from a Tarantino movie and stuck them in a fantasy metropolis on the brink of destruction?”

John Jarrold said: “Steelhaven blew me away. The interweaving storylines and varied characters drew me in from the first page, as did the fluid, involving prose and story-telling. I believe we are talking about a major new fantasy talent here, to rank with Joe Abercrombie, Peter V. Brett and others.  The immediate enthusiasm from John and his colleagues was wonderful and I’m delighted to conclude the agency’s first deal with Headline.”

Steelhaven is about as edgy a fantasy as I’ve ever read,” said John Wordsworth. “It feels both modern and classic at the same time. I am absolutely thrilled that Richard is joining Headline and I can’t wait to help unleash this monster upon the unsuspecting public.”