News & Events

New deal announced for two historical novels with Bloomsbury

Francesca Haig (writing as Francesca de Tores) will be publishing two historical novels with Bloomsbury, after the announcement of a new book deal. Details in The Bookseller, here. The first novel, Saltblood, will be published in April 2024.

From the article:

“Bloomsbury has pre-empted Salt Blood by poet Francesca Haig, a historical novel about the infamous 18th-century pirate Mary Read, in a six-figure deal.

Publishing director Emma Herdman signed UK and Commonwealth rights, excluding Canada and including audio, from Juliet Mushens at Mushens Entertainment in a two-book deal. Haig will be writing as Francesca de Tores. The book is slated for publication in spring 2024 and will be accompanied by a “major” marketing and publicity campaign.

“Unwanted daughter. Feared pirate. Wife. Mother. Lover. Salt Blood follows Mary Read, the infamous pirate,” the synopsis reads. “Raised as a boy in order to collect inheritance money, Mary then served as a man in both the navy and army, before returning to sea and eventually becoming a feared pirate alongside Anne Bonny and Jack Rackham. Salt Blood takes the reader on a coming-of-age journey from grand houses to ships sailing beneath a flag of death, from the misery of loss to the untold pleasures of love.”

Herdman added: “Salt Blood is dazzlingly good. Francesca blends adventure and history with nuanced explorations of sexuality and identity, resulting in a novel that is epic in scale but deeply personal – and page-turning, too. Her atmospheric writing makes you feel as though you’re there at Mary’s side throughout her life, and it’s been a joy to dive in and work with Francesca, hearing more about her meticulous research and passion for her subject. We can’t wait to share Mary’s story with the world and launch Francesca’s historical writing career.”

Mushens said: “Francesca’s writing is lyrical and beautiful – you can almost taste the sea air and feel the waves as you read it. Emma’s passion for the novel was so apparent from the start, and Bloomsbury’s plans to launch the novel are very exciting. It feels like the perfect home.”

Haig’s novel The Cookbook of Common Prayer (Allen & Unwin) was published in 2021, and her post-apocalyptic Fire Sermon trilogy is published in more than 20 languages. Her poetry has been published in both Australia and England. In 2010 she was awarded a Hawthornden Fellowship.

“It’s been such a joy to write the story of 18th-century pirates Mary Read and Anne Bonny – a story stranger and more thrilling than any fiction,” she said. “Salt Blood is about piracy, passion, and carving a place for yourself in a hostile world. I’m overjoyed that the novel has found a publisher that shares my excitement about these extraordinary historical figures. I’ve been astounded by the enthusiasm of Emma and the team at Bloomsbury, and I’m excited to embark on this voyage with them.”

De Tores’ next novel will be The Black Paintings, set in 1819 Madrid and told from the perspective of Leocadia, the woman who cared for Goya in his declining years, and who raised their daughter, Rosaria, to become an artist herself. “Probing the links between creativity and madness, The Black Paintings looks beyond Goya’s acclaimed and terrifying paintings to reveal the role of the woman who witnessed their creation, and in some ways shaped them,” the publisher said.”