An eerily prescient novel in which a giant earthquake knocks the earth from its axis has netted a £500,000 deal reminiscent of the heady days before the economy took a nosedive and publishers' advances plummeted.
Simon and Schuster fought off eight other publishers to land The Age of Miracles, a debut by American Karen Thompson Walker, in a five-round auction which went to sealed bids. Literary agent Cathryn Summerhayes, who handled the deal, called it "the most competitive auction I've ever had the opportunity to run".
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