Piccadilly Press has acquired World rights to three middle-grade books from the bestselling adventure fiction writer, Wilbur Smith. The new series, The Jack Courtney Adventures, will feature the youngest member of the Courtney family, Jack, and his two friends, the smart and sharp Amelia, and loyal Xander. The books will be set in the modern day, with the first novel, Cloudburst, based in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Wilbur Smith’s Courtney Series is the longest-running in publishing history. The first in the series, When the Lion Feeds, was published in 1964, with the latest novel, King of Kings, published in April 2019.
On the new series, Wilbur Smith said, “My readers have been asking me what the Courtney family are up to in our turbulent times. For me the best way to explore their legacy was to see how their teenage children are caught between those Courtneys trying to save Africa from ecological catastrophe and those trying to pick it clean for profit and personal enrichment.”
The Jack Courtney Adventures will be co-written by author Christopher Wakling. Wakling is a novelist and travel writer whose previous books include On Cape Three Points, What I Did and Escape and Evasion.
“Wilbur Smith’s epic adventure stories have been a publishing phenomenon since I was a boy. This is a fantastic opportunity to help reimagine them for a younger audience and introduce the Courtney dynasty to a new generation of readers.”
Christopher Wakling, Author
On the opportunity, Wakling stated, “Wilbur Smith’s epic adventure stories have been a publishing phenomenon since I was a boy. This is a fantastic opportunity to help reimagine them for a younger audience and introduce the Courtney dynasty to a new generation of readers.”
”Kevin Conroy Scott, literary agent for Wilbur Smith, addded, “We’ve had many approaches over the years for Wilbur to write for the children’s market, as he’s a trusted storyteller with parents and grandparents alike. After a lot of looking and thinking, Wilbur was delighted to find a talented author like Christopher Wakling to help him bring the Courtney family to a new generation.”
Jane Harris, Managing Director of Children’s Trade Publishing at Bonnier Books UK said, “Adventure stories are right at the heart of children’s publishing and with Cloudburst we are delighted to be introducing a new generation to Wilbur’s master storytelling.”
“We are thrilled to be working with Wilbur on this new strand of publishing – and to welcome talented co-author Christopher Wakling to Bonnier Books UK.”
Felicity Alexander, Senior Commissioning Editor
Felicity Alexander, Senior Commissioning Editor, added, “Readers can expect a terrific cast of characters – both good and bad – peril and betrayal at every turn, and two young Courtneys at the centre of it all. We are thrilled to be working with Wilbur on this new strand of publishing – and to welcome talented co-author Christopher Wakling to Bonnier Books UK.”
Wilbur Smith’s novels have sold over 130 million copies worldwide. Find out more at www.WilburSmithBooks.com
When Jack Courtney’s parents are abducted by mercenaries whilst the family are on a research trip, nobody seems to have any answers. Jack is pretty sure that it’s got something to do with the nearby tantalum mines, but he needs to prove it. Along with Amelia and Xander, Jack must brave the jungle to save his parents. But standing in his way is a member of his own family – Caleb Courtney.
There are western gorillas, forest elephants and hippos. But there are also bandits, mercenaries and hostile tribes. The three friends will need their wits about them if they are to save, not only Jack’s parents, but their own lives too.
Cloudburst will be published on 6th February 2020.