Acquisition Announcement: THE RAVEN SCHOLAR by Antonia Hodgson

Antonia Hodgson (Photo Credit: Rebecca Douglas)

Orbit is delighted to announce we’ve acquired The Raven Scholar, the first book in a new epic fantasy trilogy by award-winning author Antonia Hodgson. This is a masterfully woven tale of imperial deceit, cutthroat competition, and one scholar’s quest to uncover the truth—even if it changes her world forever, perfect for fans of Robin Hobb, Samantha Shannon, and readers who want a fresh take on classic fantasy.

She might win the throne. She might destroy an empire. Either way, it begins with murder.

After twenty-four years on the throne, it is time for Bersun the Brusque, emperor of Orrun, to bring his reign to an end. In the dizzying heat of mid-summer, seven contenders will compete to replace him. Trained in secret at rival monasteries, each contender is inspired by a sacred animal—Fox, Raven, Tiger, Ox, Bear, Monkey, and Hound. An eighth warrior—the Dragon proxy—will be revealed only once the trials have begun. Eight exceptional warriors, thinkers, strategists—the best of the best.

Then one of them is murdered.

It falls to the emperor’s High Scholar, the brilliant but idiosyncratic Neema Kraa, to investigate. But as she hunts for a killer, even darker forces are gathering. If Neema succeeds in her task, she could win the throne—whether she wants it or not. But if she fails, she will sentence herself to death—and set in motion a sequence of events that could doom the entire empire.

The Raven Scholar will publish in April 2025. In the meantime, you can find Antonia on X @AntoniaHodgson.

Antonia Hodgson is a freelance editor, and author of the bestselling Thomas Hawkins historical crime series. Her first novel, The Devil in the Marshalsea, won the CWA Historical Dagger Award and was shortlisted for the Theakston Crime Novel of the Year. She lives in Kent, England, where she has been visited by a fox and a raven, and a tiger in the form of her neighbour’s ginger cat. No dragons as yet. The photo of the author was provided by Rebecca Douglas.

Hodder publisher Nick Sayers acquired World rights, with Hodderscape publishing director Molly Powell editing, from Clare Conville at C&W. North American rights were sold to senior editor Nivia Evans, while at Orbit US, with associate editor Angelica Chong editing.