Solaris are delighted to announce the acquisition of genre-melding debut When the Sparrow Falls by Neil Sharpson, which will be released in summer 2021.

Editor Kate Coe acquired UK/ BC English rights in Sharpson’s new novel from Jennie Goloboy at Donald Maass. When the Sparrow Falls will be published by Tor in the US.

About the book:

In the future, AI are everywhere. They are our employers, our employees, our friends, lovers and even our children. Over half the human race now lives online.

But in the Caspian Republic, the last true human beings have made their stand, and their repressive, one-party state is locked in perpetual cold war with the outside world.

The republic is thrown into chaos when the virulently anti-AI journalist Paulo Xirau is found dead in a bar. At his autopsy, the unthinkable is discovered: Xirau was AI.

Security Agent Nikolai South is given a seemingly mundane task; escorting Xirau’s widow while she visits the Caspian Republic to identify her husband’s remains. He is stunned to discover that the beautiful, reserved, Lily Xirau bears an unearthly resemblance to his wife, who has been dead for thirty years.

As Nikolai and Lily delve deeper into the circumstances surrounding Paulo’s death, trying desperately to avoid the attentions of the murderous Bureau of Party Security, a tentative friendship between the two begins to blossom. But when they discover Xirau’s last secret South must choose between his loyalty to his country and his conscience. 

Part Cold War spy thriller, part literary science fiction, When the Sparrow Falls is a unique melding of genres, and an exploration of the coming AI revolution, transhumanism, totalitarianism, loss, and the problem of evil.

Author Neil Sharpson on the acquisition:

“I’ve been living in the Caspian Republic (whether as a play, screenplay or novel) for around nine years now and it’s almost impossible to believe that the journey is finally at an end. It’s a story about one man trying to survive in a brutal regime who is given one final chance to make amends to the woman he let down. I’m incredibly grateful to Kate Coe and the team at Rebellion for choosing this book, and to Jennie Goloboy, the best agent any writer could ask for. And most of all to my wife Aoife, who never doubted for a second, even when I did. And while it’s certainly not a place I’d recommend moving to, I sincerely hope people enjoy their time in the Caspian Republic.”

Editor Kate Coe on the book:

“The perfect mash-up of 1984 and John le Carre, with paranoia, betrayal, politics and emotion all weaving a tense story… and with AIs added into the mix! I love the interweaving of mystery, intrigue, technology and personality in Neil’s book, and it goes from light-hearted to heart-aching in equal measures. I’m really pleased to have acquired this for Solaris!”

Neil Sharpson lives in Dublin with his wife and their two children. Having written for theatre since his teens, Neil transitioned to writing novels in 2017, adapting his own play The Caspian Sea into When the Sparrow Falls. A huge fan of animation, Neil writes Unshaved Mouse, a comedic review blog mostly focusing on animated film and comic book movies. He is a graduate of the Abbey Theatre’s New Playwright’s Programme, and was shortlisted for the Maguire International Playwrighting Award.

For review copies, information, or interviews please contact Hanna Waigh, Fiction – PR & Marketing Manager: hanna.waigh@rebellion.co.uk.