Faber snaps up Tim Baker’s stunning new thriller, CITY WITHOUT STARS

Ahead of the London Book Fair, Angus Cargill at Faber has acquired UK&BC ex. Can rights in Tim Baker’s epic crime thriller set in Mexico, CITY WITHOUT STARS. Faber also published his debut last year, the neo-noir conspiracy thriller, FEVER CITY.

 Tim Baker. (photo credit Julie Curtis)

Tim Baker. (photo credit Julie Curtis)

Sharing the same landscape as THE CARTEL, 2666 and NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN, CITY WITHOUT STARS is a mesmerising crime thriller that combines the nightmarish violence of the War on Drugs with an occult world of dark powers and conspiracy. Across a fast, short-fuse narrative, Baker maneuvers different voices and perspectives as the action accelerates towards its shocking conclusions. The novel is brutal, and unflinching, but the most despairing acts are counterpoised with a rich humanity, dark swathes of humour and an unstinting faith in the redemptive power of human courage and decency.

Angus Cargill says : 'CITY WITHOUT STARS is a powerful, atmospheric, and artfully written Cartel novel about an epidemic of missing women in the Mexican border town of Ciudad Real. Set over five days, at the turn of the century, it is painfully relevant to today and confirms Tim as one of the most thoughtful and exciting new voices in international thriller writing.'

Tim Baker says: ‘I am thrilled to be continuing the adventure with Angus and his superb and supportive team at Faber, who have done everything possible to make me feel at home. Faber remain a reference for excellence and a perfect launch pad for such an ambitious book.’

Tom Witcomb says: ‘Tim is an absolute stylist and Faber is the perfect home for this epic work.  CITY WITHOUT STARS is an audacious, fast moving thriller and its themes of social injustice and the vulnerability of women are incredibly timely.’

 FEVER CITY, Faber, 2016

FEVER CITY, Faber, 2016

Faber will publish in early Spring 2018.

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Born in Sydney, Australia, Baker lived in Spain before moving to the South of France. His debut novel, FEVER CITY, was Highly Commended for the CWA Debut Dagger and Shortlisted for the CWA John Creasey New Blood Dagger.

Barbara Erskine's LADY OF HAY returns in a beautiful 30th anniversary hardback

Barbara Erskine’s beloved classic LADY OF HAY has been continuously in print for 30 years and has sold more than 3 million copies. Today, to mark the 30-year anniversary since its original publication, HarperCollins publish Erskine’s record-breaking debut in a special limited edition hardback of 1,000 signed copies.

Erskine’s ‘fascinating, absorbing, and gripping’ LADY OF HAY has been described as ‘a fast-paced historical romance with the tension of a modern thriller’. It tells the story of Jo Clifford, a journalist in London who plans to debunk the belief in past-lives in a hard-hitting magazine piece. But her scepticism is shaken when a hypnotist forces her to relive the experiences of Matilda, Lady of Hay, a noblewoman during the reign of King John.

She learns of Matilda's unhappy marriage, her love for the handsome Richard de Clare, and the brutal death threats handed out by King John, before it becomes clear that Jo’s past and present are inevitably entwined. She realises that eight hundred years on, Matilda’s story of secret passion and unspeakable treachery is about to repeat itself …

The collectors’ edition of LADY OF HAY is available today, ahead of the paperback publication of Barbara Erskine’s latest novel SLEEPER’S CASTLE on 6 April. SLEEPER’S CASTLE returns to Hay again (where Erskine also lives) and spent many weeks in the Sunday Times bestseller lists on its hardback publication in 2016.

Barbara Erskine says: ‘In so many ways Carole Blake, my much-missed and beloved agent, was as much the author of LADY OF HAY as I am. She read my original 1,000 (at least) page manuscript, she spotted its potential, she moved heaven and earth to find a publisher for what was at the time a deeply unfashionable genre and she helped create what became for many people a legend. I owe her the most enormous debt of gratitude. I am so pleased she saw a proof of this lovely edition before she died – and thought it as beautiful as I do.'


Isobel Dixon of Blake Friedmann says, ‘LADY OF HAY was a novel that Carole was absolutely passionate about, and the story of how she sold it speaks of that passion and perseverance, a true lesson for any agent.  Kim Young at HarperCollins has done a brilliant job with SLEEPER’S CASTLE and with this special edition: the gorgeous emerald green hardback is a jewel in Barbara’s crown and will be a treasure for her many fans – and I know how extraordinarily proud Carole would be today.’

Barbara will appear at the Charroux Festival in France on 24 August, to talk about her inspiration and her novels spanning the past 30 years from her debut LADY OF HAY to her latest bestseller, SLEEPER’S CASTLE. She will also be at the Wrexham Carnival of Words on 6 May.

Praise for Barbara Erskine and LADY OF HAY:

'The Queen of time-slip epics.' – The Bookseller

'Stephen King meets Ruth Rendell.' – Frank Delaney

‘Fascinating, absorbing, original – all such praise comes easily when describing Barbara Erskine’s Lady of Hay. But perhaps the most suitable world is hypnotic.’ -- SHE

 'The author's storytelling talent is undeniable. Barbara Erskine can make us feel the cold, smell the filth and experience some of the fear of the power of evil men.' – The Times

‘Unusual, intriguing, cleverly handled and gripping.’ – The Good Book Guide

‘A record breaker whichever way you look at it…a rattling good romance-cum-thriller.’ – MS London

 ‘A most intriguing novel … very cleverly handled, and gripping. I couldn’t put it down.’ – Maidenhead Advertiser

‘A fast-paced passionate historical romance with the tension of a modern thriller…fascinating and memorable. – Ealing Gazette


About Barbara Erskine

An historian by training, Barbara Erskine is the author of 14 bestselling novels, beginning with the much-loved classic, LADY OF HAY, which has sold over 3 million copies. She has also published three highly successful volumes of short stories. Her books, which have appeared in 24 languages, demonstrate her masterful storytelling abilities and her fascination with history and the supernatural. She lives with her family in an old police station in Hay-on-Wye.

Visit Barbara Erskine’s website

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New Appointments at Blake Friedmann Agency

Blake Friedmann Agency, founded in 1983 by Carole Blake and Julian Friedmann, has announced a roster of appointments intended to pave the way to the future. These moves were decided before Carole Blake’s death in October 2016, but the agency has waited until now to announce them.

 Julian Friedmann

Julian Friedmann

Julian Friedmann will become Chairman of the Company and continue on the board, Isobel Dixon will go forward as Head of the Book Department and Conrad Williams becomes Head of the Media Department. The agency’s Head of Rights, Louise Brice, returns from parental leave in May and will step up to the board later in the year. Dixon is also joined in the Book Department by Juliet Pickering as Vice Head of the Book Department.

In the Finance Department, Daisy Way has recently returned to Blake Friedmann (where she was formerly Royalties and Contracts Associate), to take up the new role of Joint Finance Manager. Samuel Hodder, who joined the company two years ago as Royalties and Contracts Associate, will step up to Joint Finance Manager alongside Daisy, while continuing in a Contracts role as well.

 Isobel Dixon

Isobel Dixon

‘When Carole and I merged our agencies over thirty years ago,’ said Friedmann, ‘we had two other members of staff and around forty clients between us. The agency now has fifteen members of staff and more than three hundred clients. The agency is well placed for the future, and Isobel, Conrad, Louise, Juliet and I will be working closely with the whole team to make it as fulfilling and dynamic as possible for our clients and colleagues. I know Carole would be very proud of them all.’

‘I’ve already had more than twenty happy years working with Julian, Conrad and Carole,’ Dixon said, ‘and though we all miss Carole greatly, we feel her spirit and enthusiasm in everything that we do here. She left us a rich legacy which we feel honoured to continue. The book department has an even wider range of clients and projects now that Juliet Pickering, Tom Witcomb and Hattie Grűnewald are building and consolidating their own lists and we are excited about sharing our authors’ great writing and helping them to thrive. I look forward to the adventures that lie ahead.’

 Conrad Williams

Conrad Williams

Conrad Williams said: ‘The international boom in the book-into-film-and-TV market makes this the most exciting time to be a film and TV agent in the heart of a dynamic literary agency. The joint is jumping and our well harmonised team will make the most of it for all our clients – be they scriptwriters, playwrights, directors or authors.’

 ‘Carole added a quote to a press release draft before she died,’ said Friedmann, ‘and I’d like to share some of her words now. “We have a fantastic team,” wrote Carole “with some very established colleagues, gifted younger agents, a talented foreign rights department and strong support all round. The time seems ripe to put the management of the agency on a forward footing.  Blake Friedmann Agency is a company with an exciting future and these changes reflect our commitment to our colleagues and that future.”’

 Juliet Pickering

Juliet Pickering

With the future of not just the agency, but the wider industry in mind, in November 2016 the company set up the Carole Blake Open Doors Project, a programme specifically aimed at encouraging candidates from a diverse range of backgrounds to enter the publishing industry. The response to the 31 December deadline for applications was so strong that instead of placing just one candidate in the first half of 2017, the agency has appointed one candidate to a full three-month paid internship, and with the support of the Book Trade Charity (BTBS) for accommodation, has awarded two places instead of one for their inaugural shadowing project in 2017. More details will follow in due course. 

 Louise Brice

Louise Brice

Everyone at Blake Friedmann would again like to extend their warmest gratitude for the many messages of condolence and support received in the wake of Carole Blake’s death. Every single one is appreciated.



THE MISSING WIFE by Sheila O’Flanagan out in paperback!

Sheila O’Flanagan’s latest published novel THE MISSING WIFE delighted her many fans when it was released by Headline in 2016, shooting up the charts and breaking Sheila’s record for the number of weeks in Ireland’s Top 5. Now it’s sure to win more readers’ hearts when it’s published in paperback by Headline on Thursday 9 March.

Set in the sunny south of France, this engrossing novel charts the story of a woman determined to escape, the man who wants to find her, and the friends and family unaware of the dark truth behind her flight.

When Imogen Naughton vanishes, everyone who knows her is shocked. She has a perfect marriage. Her handsome husband treats her like a princess. She's always said how lucky she is. So why has she left? And how will she survive without Vince?

What goes on behind closed doors is often a surprise, and Imogen surprises herself by taking the leap she knows she must. But as she begins her journey to find the woman she once was, Imogen's past is right behind her...

Will it catch up with her? And will she be ready to face it if it does?

THE MISSING WIFEwill be published in the US in February 2018 by Grand Central, and rights are already sold in several foreign markets including Czech Republic, Russia, Estonia and Germany, where Insel will publish.

See more on Sheila’s website.

Follow Sheila on Twitter



‘Another first class bestseller. I read the book in one sitting as it was so enjoyable, full of romance and kept you riveted until the last page. A must for all Sheila's fans’ – Woman's Way

 ‘A smart and twisty yarn’ – Heat

‘O'Flanagan's lightness of touch and gentle characterisations have produced another fine read; an ideal addition to that summer holiday.’ –  Sunday Express

‘A lovely book that will keep you guessing right up until the end.’ – Bella

‘Insightful, witty and full of fun... This is touching, tense and clever writing.’ – Irish Independent

‘This GONE GIRL-esque novel will have you gripped until the very end **** -  Look

‘Must-read’ – Express


Sheila O’Flanagan is the award-winning author of over twenty novels, including THE MISSING WIFE, MY MOTHER’S SECRET, IF YOU WERE ME, ALL FOR YOU (winner of the Irish Popular Fiction Book of the Year Award) and BAD BEHAVIOUR, as well as the bestselling short story collections DESTINATIONS, CONNECTIONS and A SEASON TO REMEMBER.  In 2016 Hodder Children’s Books published THE CRYSTAL RUN, her first book for younger readers and the paperback is due out in May 2017, with the follow-up THE CRYSTAL RUN: SHIELD OF LIES out in 2018.

In 2003 she received the prestigious Irish Tatler Woman of the Year Award. She lives in Dublin with her husband.

4th Estate acquires Gregory Norminton's THE DEVIL'S HIGHWAY

Helen Garnons-Williams at 4th Estate has acquired THE DEVIL'S HIGHWAY by acclaimed novelist Gregory Norminton, from Isobel Dixon at Blake Friedmann. 4th Estate will publish in Spring 2018, and have acquired British Commonwealth rights excluding Canada.

Set on and around the Devil’s Highway – a Roman road that crosses north Surrey and Hampshire – it is a vivid and deftly constructed novel spanning three thousand years and charting the ways in which one place can become many places over time. An ancient British boy, discovering a terrorist plot, must betray his brother to save his tribe. In the twenty-first century, two people – one traumatised by war, another by divorce – clash over the meaning of a landscape. Centuries in the future, with England now a burning desert, a gang of feral children struggles to reach safety in a broken land.

Helen Garnons-Williams says, ‘I acquired Gregory’s first novel, THE SHIP OF FOOLS, for Sceptre 15 years ago, when I was struck by the breadth of his imagination and the freshness of his voice. In the intervening years my admiration for his writing has only grown. We are all thrilled to welcome him to 4th Estate and to be publishing this extraordinarily original, affecting and urgent new novel.’

Gregory Norminton says, ‘I am very excited to be joining 4th Estate, especially with a novel that, for all its scope, is my most personal yet. In THE DEVIL'S HIGHWAY I have returned to the landscape of my youth – I have come home, so to speak, as I have come home, in another sense, to Helen Garnons-Williams, my first editor.’

‘It’s not just the pleasure of this particular author-publisher reunion that gladdens the heart,’ says Isobel Dixon. ‘I know that many will rejoice at Gregory Norminton’s return with this striking new novel. With all its brio and brilliance, its vision and fierceness, THE DEVIL'S HIGHWAY maps an unforgettable journey for character and reader, changing the way you see the world.’

Praise for Gregory Norminton:

‘Norminton’s measured, elegant prose makes beauty and menace sing in perfect harmony … his scaling of the treacherous cliffs of the human heart will take your breath away.’  - Neel Mukherjee, Sunday Telegraph

‘Anything by Gregory Norminton is a pleasure to read.’  - Time Out

‘Norminton is a fine writer, his imagery is often striking, his turn of phrase can be wonderful.’  - John Mackenna, Irish Times

‘Whatever Gregory Norminton turns to next will be worth waiting for.’ - Alastair Mabbott, The Herald

Gregory Norminton trained as an actor, and is the author of four widely-praised novels. His short stories have been published in many journals and anthologies and Comma Press will publish his second collection The Ghost Who Bled in 2017. He teaches Creative Writing and English at Manchester Metropolitan University.