Zaffre, an imprint of Bonnier Books UK, has acquired No Reserve from bestselling author Felix Francis, along with a second thriller. Felix was previously published by Simon & Schuster. Ben Willis, publishing director for Zaffre, acquired UK comm (ex Can) rights in a two-book deal from Ed Wilson at Johnson & Alcock.
No Reserve is a blistering new high-stakes thriller set in the cutthroat world of British racehorse sales. Theo Jennings is a young auctioneer at the Thoroughbred sales ring in Newmarket. The October yearling sales are where the big money exchanges hands in frenzied auctions: millions of Guineas paid for horses that are as yet unnamed, untested, and have never taken a step on the track. It’s the greatest gamble in all of horseracing, and one that can end in ruin.
Theo has just made the biggest sale of his life, when he overhears a secret conversation between the two bidders – can they really have colluded to fix the price of his big sale? When that same horse is found dead the next morning, he has no choice but to investigate, even against the wishes of his boss. But the more he uncovers, the less he can trust the people around him.
The higher the stakes, the greater the risk. And in the bloodstock game, the ultimate price can be murder.
Felix Francis said, ‘I am delighted to have now become a Zaffre author. It is a new chapter in my writing career and I look forward to many years of cooperation, starting with No Reserve, my new novel to be published in September 2023. No Reserve explores the dark side of Thoroughbred bloodstock auctions and the levels to which some people will descend to steal an illicit buck or two, or even a million!’
Ben Willis, publishing director for Zaffre said, ‘I have long admired Felix’s brilliant thrillers. Quite simply, no writer today can do what he does: create fast-paced, intricate thriller plots set in the stands of one of the country’s most beloved spectator sports. No Reserve is the perfect example of his work – a page-turning crime story that thrusts you behind the glamourous curtain of horse racing and into its dark underbelly. We are so proud to welcome Felix to Zaffre Publishing Group.’
Ed Wilson, Johnson & Alcock said, ‘This is the dream combination of iconic British brand author with cutting edge global publishing know-how – we’re excited to see Ben and the team take Felix to the next level.’
Horse racing is the second biggest spectator sport in the UK after football – and Felix Francis knows his audience better than most. The son of the legendary author and racer Dick Francis, Felix co-wrote thrillers with his father in his latter years and continued to publish them under his own name after Dick’s death in 2010, selling nearly 1m copies as a solo writer across all editions to date.
The New York Times, Sunday Times and international bestselling, acclaimed author Felix Francis, was born in Oxford and graduated from London University. His initial career led him into physics, where he was a successful teacher. But he could not deny that his family’s gift of writing had been passed along to him, and he started his second career – as a bestselling author. His other accomplishments include being an expert outdoorsman, marksman and pilot. Felix Francis resides in England with his wife, Debbie, their family and two Irish Setters and a Cavapoo.
No Reserve by Felix Francis is out 28th September 2023 in hardback, eBook and audio, £20 (Zaffre). Francis’ second, as-yet-untitled novel, will be published in hardback, eBook and audio in September 2024.