25th March 2019

Zaffre acquires debut SOE spy thriller

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Zaffre acquires commercial espionage thriller from Mara Timon

Editorial Director Katherine Armstrong acquired world rights James Wills at Watson, Little.

Zaffre has acquired debut author Mara Timon’s commercial espionage thriller, City of Spies. Editorial Director Katherine Armstrong, acquired world rights in a two-book deal from James Wills at Watson, Little.

City of Spies is set in neutral Lisbon in 1943 and follows Special Operations Executive (SOE) agent Elisabeth de Mornay, codename Cecile, as she infiltrates high society to find out who is leaking key information to the Germans about British troop movements. Her mission is put in jeopardy when an attempt is made on her life – someone knows she’s not who she says she is. Could it be her nosy neighbour, or what about the German Abwehr officer who has shown a romantic interest in her? In a city that is filled with spies, whom can she trust?

“I absolutely loved this book … There are so few women writing espionage thrillers and this is a very welcome addition to the genre.”

Katherine Armstrong, Editorial Director, Zaffre

Armstrong said: ‘I absolutely loved this book. Cecile’s voice is engaging and Mara’s passion for the era and the brave women of the SOE jumps off the page. There are so few women writing espionage thrillers and this is a very welcome addition to the genre. In Cecile we have a strong, independent woman in a dangerous man’s world, who can more than hold her own! This is great Sunday night drama on the page’.

Agent James Wills said: ‘From the breakneck opening sequence, to the hugely satisfying finale, I was completely hooked on this brilliant, expertly-researched thriller. Cecile is the real deal – and so is Mara Timon!’

“I’m over the moon to be working with Zaffre, and a team who has the same passion for my books as I do.”

Mara Timon, author

Timon said: ‘I’m over the moon to be working with Zaffre, and a team who has the same passion for my books as I do.  The real-life deeds of the SOE agents are a hard act to follow, and I hope people enjoy reading City of Spies as much as I enjoyed writing it!

Zaffre will publish City of Spies in September 2020, just after the 80th anniversary of the founding of the Special Operations Executive in July 1940. While the SOE itself was dissolved in 1946, the secret work that its agents and staff carried out was instrumental in the war effort.

About Mara Timon

Raised in New York, Mara Timon moved to the UK almost 20 years ago; and fell in love with London and the way it melds the old and the new. Growing up with one parent fascinated with literature and the other with history, she started writing from an early age, although it wasn’t until a programme on the BBC caught her interest, and one ‘what if’ led to another, and another, that her first book began to take shape.