With rumours that publishers are currently less willing than they used to be to take a risk on new writers, it is perhaps no coincidence that the new year will see the reissue of the works of 2 formerly best-selling historical authors.
Jean M Auel's The Clan of the Cave Bear was first published in the UK in 1980. Her story, set before the Ice Age, speculates on the possibility of interaction between Neanderthal and Cro-Magnon people. The story opens with an earthquake which orphans a 5 year old child who is found and cared for by the eponymous Neanderthal clan.
4 other titles have followed in the Earth's Children series , which will all be reissued early in 2011, heralding the publication of the 6th and final new volume The Land of Painted Caves in March.
This will conclude the story of Ayla, her mate Jondalar, and their little daughter, Jonayla.
Jean M. Auel's books are reputed to be tremendously well researched and have a loyal fanbase. The series so far has sold tens of millions copies world wide and the 3rd title in the series The Mammoth Hunters (1985) was the first hardcover title ever to achieve a 1st printing of more than a million. I wonder how many are planned for no 6?
Plans have also reached me of a reprint of Mary Stewart's backlist, coming from Hodder. Mary Stewart, now well into her nineties isn't publishing a new title, but her backlist definitely deserves to reach new readers. Her Merlin and Arthurian series, as well as those set in 15th Century Scotland certainly enthused me to read historical fiction more than many another writer.