Quercus paid a significant advance for a four-book series by Rod Rees. The pre-emptive deal was for World Rights.
The series is titled THE DEMI-MONDE, and is set in a wonderfully imagined virtual world – the Demi-Monde of the title. Originally conceived by the US military as a training ground for their troops in the twenty-first century facing street fighting and enemies who use guerrilla tactics, rather than modern technology-based armies, the Demi-Monde was created by the world’s first quantum computer. Young singer Ella Thomas is sent there to rescue a VIP (she ticks all the boxes to blend into the world, which has a late-Victorian technology base) and discovers the world and its thirty million inhabitants, or ‘avatars’, are all too real. Especially those who run the world’s city-states, based on famous human monsters such as Reinhard Heydrich, Shaka Zulu, Empress Wu, Godfrey de Bouillon, Selim the Grim and Lavrentii Beria, with whom the world was seeded to make it more of a test…and that is only the beginning. The first volume will be published in January 2011. There is already a fascinating website at www.thedemi-monde.com
Rod Rees has spent his life travelling throughout Africa, the Middle East, Bangladesh and Russia, finding himself living, en route, in Qatar, Tehran and Moscow. He has built pharmaceutical factories in Dhaka, set up a satellite communication network in Moscow, conceived and designed a jazz-themed hotel in the UK and created one of the most successful counter-trade operations ever seen in Africa. Living and working throughout the world has convinced him of one thing: that all Men are created equal in their duplicity and their ability to say one thing and do another.
Rod has always had a great love of reading, especially classic science fiction, so when he finally settled down to write his book – ‘The Demi-Monde’ – it was natural that he should choose a fantastic setting and use it to examine the evil that plagues mankind in the form of the über-psychopaths – Singularities – who have tormented the world since time immemorial. And these Singularities make a fascinating study. As Ella Thomas, one of the key characters in ‘The Demi-Monde’, says:
‘Many would have it that evil is a cold, a heartless and a fearful thing, but it is not. I, who have communed with one who embodied the most pure, the most unleavened evil that has ever strode this world, must tell you that evil is seductive, it draws you willingly into its grasp with honeyed words and a saucy smile.’
Now a full-time writer, Rod lives near Derby, England, with his lovely wife Nelli (an author, jazz singer and jewellery designer) and his two terrific children Kit (saxophone and intense introspection) and Ellie (bass and sarcasm). When he is not writing he spends his time bemoaning the travesty that were the final two seasons of ‘Lost’, watching ‘The Big Bang Theory’ and wondering where it all went wrong for Western civilisation.