Deal News: BEHIND CLOSED DOORS – THE SECRET LIFE OF LONDON’S PRIVATE MEMBERS’ CLUBS by Seth Thévoz to Little, Brown

Little, Brown imprint Robinson, has acquired World English rights to the story of London’s hidden world of private members’ clubs.

With a keen eye for the juicy anecdote, Thévoz tells the fascinating and entertaining story of the rise, decline and resurgence of London’s Clubland, from the late-eighteenth century to the present day. If we think of these clubs as predominantly white, male and aristocratic, we could not be more wrong. Their true story is infinitely more interesting.

This is a chronicle, as informative as it is entertaining, of the ups and downs of London clubland, and how it had an impact on parts of the world far from London. It is packed with amusing anecdotes and illustrative examples of the growth of this quirky, unique institution, which grew to spread around the world. London, though, with its four hundred clubs, was always at the heart of this distinctively British form of leisure, across more than three centuries.

Thévoz is an investigative journalist specialising in corruption. His work has also appeared in the Observer and he has been a part-time research assistant to Michael Crick. Major stories he has worked on or broken include over-spending scandals around the 2016 EU referendum, the Cambridge Analytica–Facebook scandal, and the 2021 government ethics scandal. In 2020, he was shortlisted for a British Journalism Award for his investigative work with OpenDemocracy. His first book, Club Government, which was shortlisted for the Whitfield Prize, was praised by Ian Hislop as a ‘fascinating forensic study of the period’s networks of power’. He also contributes to Private Eye, allegedly. 

As the librarian at the National Liberal Club, he is a clubland insider. Behind Closed Doors is a distillation of a decade of research and writing on London’s clubs, based on exclusive behind-the-scenes access to archives and proceedings, as well as a love of gossip and scandal. 

Duncan Proudfoot, publishing director of Little, Brown’s Robinson imprint, said: ‘This promises to be a wonderfully entertaining book that will overturn everything we thought we knew about London’s clubs and reveal them for the unexpectedly varied yet still peculiarly British cultural institution that they have remained through over three centuries.

Seth Thévoz said: ‘I am thrilled to be signing up with Robinson. I’ve had this book in mind for a long time, drawing on over a decade of research, and getting to know the secrets and pressures of clubs from the inside. There’s a lot of lurid speculation around this hidden world; the truth is, if anything, even more bizarre.

Deal News: THE WORLD OF SHERLOCK HOLMES by Jeremy Black to Rowman & Littlefield

Rowman and Littlefield have picked up World Rights for THE WORLD OF SHERLOCK HOLMES. A frequent guest lecturer on the subject of Conan-Doyle and Sherlock Holmes, Black’s book will throw light on Victorian society in a changing England and London as a world city, and Holmes as an Anglo-American figure with an enduring legacy on both sides of the Atlantic.

His recent awards include the Winner of the 2020 Library Journal Best Reference Pick of the Year for his History of the Second World War in Maps (British Library Publishing, 2020).

Deal News: REQUIEM FOR A SPY by Richard Miles RNVR to Black Rose Writing

World Rights to former Royal Navy Officer Richard Miles’ REQUIEM FOR A SPY has sold to Black Rose Writing, a posthumous roman-à-clef, based on the infamous Cambridge spy Donald Maclean.

Richard Myles RNVR
Richard Miles

In late 1942, Lieutenant Richard Miles RNVR, was posted to the British Embassy in Washington DC. After the war he was an adviser to the British Delegation to the United Nations and adviser to the UN Atomic Energy Commission, famously engaging in a public spat with Andrei Gromyko on the floor of the UN over Russian intransigence on the world-wide control of atomic weapons.

One of his colleagues was Donald Maclean, one of the infamous Cambridge Five, who at the time was Secretary of the Anglo-American-Canadian Policy Committee on atomic energy matters. Some twenty years after Richard’s death, his niece Jill Rose obtained the manuscript of A TANGLED WEB, which she transcribed and edited.

The plot reads, ‘In the immediate aftermath of World War Two, when the relationship between the Soviet Union and America and her allies had already chilled into what would become known as the Cold War, idealistic young British naval officer named Tom Davis, working for the British Embassy in Washington, is drawn into the murky and dangerous world of spies and counter-spies, making him question all that he has ever believed.’

Jill Rose is the author of Nursing Churchill: Wartime Life from the Private Letters of Winston Churchill’s Nurse (Foreword by Emma Soames; Amberley 2018).

Publication date is September 16th 2021. Film and TV rights are available.

Deal News: BETWEEN FIVE EYES by Anthony R. Wells to Citic Press in China

Mainland China rights have been sold via the Big Apple Agency to Citic Press, one of China’s largest publishers, for BETWEEN FIVE EYES: FIFTY YEARS OF INTELLIGENCE SHARING by Anthony R. Wells.

From 1968 through to 2018, fifty years of change, turmoil, intense challenges, successes and failures, focusing on the relationship between the UK and the US and the wider Five Eyes community of Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. The work is based not only on official documents but the author’s own extensive unclassified collection of papers, personal notes, diaries, as well as his family library for source material.

It is also a personal insight into key relationships and how the abiding strength of the United States and the United Kingdom and its Five Eyes allies relationships.

Anthony is the only living person to have worked for British Intelligence as a British citizen and US Intelligence as a US citizen and was trained in the 1960s by the most distinguished exponents of deception and other clandestine operations from the World War Two period. His mentors included Professor Sir Harry Hinsley, the Bletchley Park code breaker and operations specialist. He was a specialist in the use of weapons of mass destruction by state and non-state players, information architectures and the use of innovative tools for countering terrorism and other forms of irregular warfare.

Deal News: CJ Schüler’s THE WOOD THAT BUILT LONDON to Sandstone Press

Sandstone Press has acquired World Rights for CJ Schüler’s next book, THE WOOD THAT BUILT LONDON: A Social and Environmental History of the Great North Wood.

Drawing on a wealth of documents, historic maps and environmental evidence, this compelling narrative history charts the fortunes of the North Wood from the earliest times: its ecology, its ownership, its management, and its gradual encroachment by the expanding metropolis.

CJ Schüler

It takes in the great events of history that had a major impact on the woods: the Dissolution of the Monasteries, the Civil War, the Industrial Revolution, the enclosure of common lands, the construction of the railways, and two world wars.

Its rich cast of characters includes archbishops and aristocrats, smugglers and highwaymen – and the writers and artists, including Samuel Pepys, Lord Byron, Robert Browning, Samuel Palmer and John Ruskin, drawn to the woods over the centuries.

Extensively illustrated with maps, prints and modern colour photographs, it also records the threats to the woods from development in recent decades, the popular campaigns to defend them, the dramatic planning battles that ensued, and the formation of the London Wildlife Trust.

Schüler’s previous book is ALONG THE AMBER ROUTE, described by The Financial Times as a ‘timely and powerful book is more than an enticing travelogue or a paean to amber.’