Posted by Kesia on Friday November 1st, 2019

We’re delighted to announce that we’ve acquired a dark and swashbuckling new middle-grade series by debut author (and ex-Olympic fencer) Eloise Smith!

Publishing in May 2020, Z for Zoe follows a girl who stumbles on an underground secret when her dog (and best friend) is snatched.

Zoe lives in a New York apartment block with a mostly-absent mother, a succession of babysitters and her beloved three-legged dog, Zorro. But when Zorro is snatched by the mysterious dog thieves plaguing the city, her world is plunged into darkness. Zoe’s investigations lead her to a secret band of fellow children and fencing experts determined to protect our world from a rising, underground threat – the Nightlings. But can she master her swordfighting skills in time to save her dog?

Our publisher Barry Cunningham acquired World Rights to two books from Jodie Hodges at United Agents. He says: ‘I believe we have all practised our sword play with a stick or a bent coat-hanger – but the Olympic fencer Eloise Smith shows us the real deal in this all-action adventure! Set partly underground, a gang of intrepid outcasts fights to save our streets … and our dogs! I can’t wait for our … duel citizenship!’

We like what he did there.

Eloise says: ‘When I was a kid, all my action adventure heroes were male, from Indiana Jones to Luke Skywalker. So I wrote the book I’d have wanted to read. It stars a proper action adventure heroine who fights with swords, creeps down tunnels and is brave beyond measure. Huzzah!’

Set in New York City, this story is a compelling mix of contemporary and darkly fantastical and has a diverse ensemble cast of brave and spirited kids. We can’t wait to share it with you all … check out the awesome cover by Sarah Horne!

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