Latest JJLA news


Novelist Kareem Mahfouz is the latest client of the John Jarrold Literary Agency.

Kareem’s debut fantasy novel, first in a series titled Bonds of Blood, is Death’s Wake. What would you do if you burned alive and were reborn immune to fire’s touch? Or drowned and reawakened able to breathe under water? In Colnarmak death is not always the end, but that power comes at a price. Since the Wars of Balance, the Orphans have sent Guardians to hunt these godless men and women—these ‘Survivors’—with one purpose in mind: to deliver instant and irreversible death. As a small boy, Cole was forced to watch his mother’s brutal murder at the hands of a Survivor; after becoming a Guardian he committed his life to killing his way through his grief. For years he thought his pain was just that, pain. But there are worse things in the world than Survivors . . .

Death’s Wake is a story of revenge and redemption featuring multiple points of view. The novel explores themes of self-destructive human coping mechanisms, which can have dire and adverse effects on those closest to you.

This series sits somewhere between John Gwynne’s The Faithful and the Fallen series and Joe Abercrombie’s The First Law trilogy. Epic in scope, it is very much character driven, has strong grimdark elements, and plenty of dark humour. Recent comparison could be made with Godblind by Anna Stephens.

Kareem said: “Much to my regret I came to reading novels late in life (I believe I was twenty-five) but after picking up a fourth edition omnibus of The Lord of the Rings I have not been without a book since. The more I read the more I wondered if I could write an exciting book. I had an idea for a short story and after writing it decided there was a much bigger tale to tell. Four years later Death’s Wake, a marriage of my comic book/graphic novel love, and epic fantasy was written.  I fell in love with writing, with the craft as much as the story telling. As a result I enrolled in a Literature and Creative Writing degree with the Open University. I’m delighted to say I recently achieved a first class distinction for my second year CW module, and have been encouraged to submit two pieces I scored particularly high in. One, a historical fiction piece that takes place in Dark Age Britain, is called Faith and Sacrifice. The other is a horror/fantasy called To Grow a Monster that I hope to publish in the near future.”

John Jarrold said: “I see around thirty-five agency submissions every week and maybe four times a year something really leaps out at me.  The depth of characterisation and wonderful invention in Kareem’s novel gripped me and had me emotionally invested throughout.  It’s dark – and humorous – and quite fascinating. He’s special.”


Kareem is the Health and Fitness manager at a health centre in Lincolnshire. He is also the administrator of the Fantasy Writers Bar group on Facebook and a member of The Fantasy Hive team ( . He is on Twitter at: @OfWolfandMouse



• July 30th, 2018 • Posted in News


Long time SF and Fantasy novelist, and master of alternative history Harry Turtledove has joined the John Jarrold Literary Agency for UK and Commonwealth rights.


Publisher’s Weekly dubbed Turtledove “The Master of Alternate History”. Within that genre, he is known for creating original alternative history scenarios, such as survival of the Byzantine Empire or an alien invasion in the middle of the Second World War. In addition, he has been credited with giving original treatment to alternative themes previously dealt with by many others, such as the victory of the South in the American Civil War or the victory of Nazi Germany in the Second World War. His novels have been credited with bringing alternative history into the mainstream. He bases his alternative history on scenes of military combat and warfare.


John Jarrold said: “I am so delighted to be working again with Harry, having published his DARKNESS series at Earthlight. I first read his work with the Videssos novels and  he is both prolific and an outstanding writer. His knowledge of history and intensely involving writing make him a star who I’m proud to welcome to the John Jarrold Literary Agency – we have a number of projects to discuss with publishers.”

• June 14th, 2018 • Posted in News


A terrific quote from Ken MacLeod for Hannu Rajaniemi’s SUMMERLAND, published later this month by Gollancz in the UK and Tor in the US:


Some great scientists were mesmerised by Spiritualism and psychical research – but what if they’d been right? That’s the premise of this intriguing spy thriller set in a 1938 where aetheric science has built a very British afterlife and Bolsheviks have turned Lenin literally into a god. In this coldest of all wars, both sides forget they have built on the abyss, which has not forgotten them. A tense and twisting tale full of delightful allusions and ingenious ironies.

• June 8th, 2018 • Posted in News


Some further reviews and quotes we’ve had so far for SUMMERLAND by Hannu Rajaniemi, published in late June by Gollancz in the UK and Tor in the US:

I burned through it in two days. Great book: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spook. (Ian McDonald)

Summerland: As if Alfred Hitchcock had made a movie with HP Lovecraft . . . A vision so original it deserves its own subgenre. And all worked out with the diamond-hard logic of a great SF writer. After Summerland, the thriller has a new geometry (Stephen Baxter)

One of SF’s leading lights. (SFX MAGAZINE)

A beautifully written, well realised supernatural spy thriller, John le Carré as a ghost story. (Gavin G Smith, author of The Bastard Legion)

Engaging writing, tight plotting and fantastic imagination. (Ed McDonald, author of Blackwing)


• June 6th, 2018 • Posted in News

Brilliant LOCUS review of Hannu Rajaniemi’s SUMMERLAND

from Gary Wolfe in the June issue of LOCUS:

Those who are as impressed as I was with the coruscating style and dense information environment of Hannu Rajaniemi’s Quantum Thief trilogy might be a bit taken aback at the very different sort of world of his Summerland, which is essentially an espionage procedural set in 1938 Britain. It quickly becomes apparent that this isn’t our 1938, and Rajaniemi’s England is only tangentially connected to recognizable history, with a handful of familiar figures that include a few real-life spies like Kim Philby and Anthony Blunt, and even Josef Stalin – who in this world is a Russian dissident trying to seize power during the Spanish Civil War. By far the most dramatic difference, though, is that the spirit world is a major player in the espionage games following the First World War, in which Germany was defeated with the assistance of ‘‘ectotechnology,’’ which includes such supernatural weapons as ‘‘ectotanks’’ and ‘‘aetherguns.’’ The Pope, named Teilhard, promotes a vision of universal evolution, which sounds a lot like the ideas of the famous French philosopher. Most important is the presence of Summerland, a luxurious metropolis for the recently dead – although, like the chocolate factory, you need a ticket to get in, or else face just fading away. Designed by ‘‘aethertects’’ to look like upscale neighborhoods of London, it houses millions of newly dead, most of whom hope eventually to join an Oversoul-like ‘‘Presence.’’ Just as Rajaniemi initially wrapped his phenomenally inventive Quantum Thief world around a rather straightforward master-thief tale inspired by Arsène Lupin, he reveals this bizarre world through a version of the classic British spy narrative, with its double agents, betrayals, secret agendas, myopic bureaucrats, class tensions, and worn-out idealists. The central point of view characters are Rachel White, a 20-year veteran of the Secret Intelligence Service, who saves a valuable Russian asset from getting killed in a pointless duel only to have him blow his own brains out during a cat-and-mouse interrogation – but not before revealing to her that he’s been running a secret agent in Summerland named Peter Bloom. When Rachel tries to report this, her superior – one of those addled, thoroughly sexist bureaucrats – is so convinced that she’s been duped that he demotes her to the finance section. Needless to say, she sets about continuing her own investigation in secret. Meanwhile, we follow Peter Bloom’s own adventures as a ghost – whose perceptions of the world are quite different: ‘‘the material world was invisible, except for electricity and the soul-sparks of the living.’’ Like other newly dead, though, the spirits can be reached by mediums and can for short periods of time inhabit host bodies among the living. As different as this world of ectoplasm and aether might seem from the gevulots and oubliettes of Rajaniemi’s earlier trilogy, it turns out to serve some similar functions as a form of information technology. Rachel’s ‘‘ectophone’’ may be a 1930s-style contraption of Bakelite and rubber, but she can use it to call a spirit clerk, who in turn can ‘‘thought-travel’’ to the ‘‘aetheric stacks,’’ in a ghostly version of data-mining. ‘‘Aethertects’’ can construct what is essentially a virtual world out of ectoplasmic materials, and the newly dead gradually develop ‘‘hypersight,’’ which amounts to a kind of augmented reality, enabling them to perceive new directions. ‘‘Soul-stones’’ carry people’s memories into Summerland, not all that different from the supertech ‘‘gogols’’ of The Quantum Thief, just as Summerland itself has some qualities in common with the ‘‘spimescapes’’ of that novel. In other words, Rajaniemi may have traded in his fabulous posthuman mindscapes for the vocabulary of spiritualism, but he works out the details in much the same SFnal way. The reader may on occasion get so tangled in the convoluted details of Rajaniemi’s espionage melodrama that juggling them with the parameters of this new cosmology and the subtleties of alternate history can get daunting, but in the end Summerland is in its own way as persuasive an example of Rajaniemi’s disciplined inventiveness as his better-known hard SF. The concepts may have been swapped out, but rules are rules.


• June 1st, 2018 • Posted in News