DAW acquires E.J. Beaton's stunning fantasy THE COUNCILOR

We’re thrilled to announce that Leah Spann, Associate Editor at DAW, has acquired E.J. Beaton’s debut fantasy novel, The Councilor, and another title in a very nice five figure deal for World English Rights from Julie Crisp Literary Agency Ltd.

Who can she trust in this game of lies . . .

When the scholar Lysande is plucked from obscurity by the Iron Queen, Sarelin, to become her ward, her confidante and her friend - she has no idea how much her life will change. Sarelin is murdered and Lysande is chosen to become the Councillor, the sole person in charge of choosing the new monarch for the realm. But how will she pick between the four men and women presenting themselves as the potential heir to the throne? And what if one of them is her friend's killer?

Further from home an old enemy is stirring - the White Queen is on the move again and her alliance with the magic-wielding Elementals poses a threat not just to the peace of the realm - but to the survival of everything that Lysande cares about.

Set against a backdrop of politics, magic and with a wonderful cast of original characters in a richly- imagined world - this is an exciting new voice in fantasy for fans of Robin Hobb, Naomi Novik and Seth Dickinson.

E.J. Beaton lives in Melbourne, Australia, and has a penchant for peregrination. She has lived in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, researched in New York, given papers in Scotland, England and Denmark, and travelled widely in Europe and Asia.

When she’s not fuelling her travel addiction, she can often be found in a tucked-away bar, enjoying a Talisker. The Councilor is a debut novel.

Leah Spann said of the acquisition: ‘I'm thrilled to be bringing this fantastic novel into the DAW family as my first acquisition. The Councilor’s vivid setting, complex characters, and political intrigue captured me so quickly. Lysande is a powerful, complicated protagonist, whose journey to a position of authority and influence kept me in suspense until the very last page. I can’t wait for readers to fall in love with her story as I have!’

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Elizabeth explained what had inspired her to write The Councillor: ‘The novel shares the story of Lysande, a scholar who navigates the ruthless world of city-rulers – women and men who mask their intentions. At the same time, Lysande deals with an addiction and her own precarious secrets. The story is set in a world where women and men are social equals and the power of Lysande’s mentor, queen Sarelin, casts a long shadow.

There’s something exciting about exploring the different ways that characters survive in a world full of shifting alliances. Daggers or deduction? They can both be powerful weapons, depending on the individual.

While male intellectual characters have been something of a staple in both genre and literary fiction, I wanted to create a woman who relied on her brain to solve big problems. But Lysande comes up against an equal when she meets the prince of Rhime, Luca Fontaine, who has his own ideas – and his own secrets.

I wrote The Councilor as part of a PhD, while exploring Machiavellian politics in Renaissance literature and fantasy fiction. I’m grateful for the opportunity that I had for this cross-fertisilisation of ideas. Long live the arts and literary studies!

I’d like to thank my amazing agent, Julie Crisp, for championing my book and going above and beyond to get it here. I’d also like to thanks DAW for taking on my book, and to Leah Spann for taking it on as an editor. Thanks to my parents for their ceaseless support and love. Most of all, thanks to my brother John, my other half, who died before this book was published – without you, it would never have been started, continued, or finished.

I’m looking forward to sharing these characters with the world, and to be working with DAW. Let the quills, daggers and chimeras fly!

DAW are planning to publish the first book in Spring 2021.