NEW YORK, Aug. 12 (UPI) -- Publishing giant Scholastic says it has acquired the North American rights to "The Finisher," a fantasy novel for children by bestselling author David Baldacci.
Intended for readers ages 9-13, the novel is set for release March 4.
"It was my long-held dream to write this story and I am thrilled to be working with a world-class publisher like Scholastic to bring it to readers everywhere," Baldacci said in a statement Monday.
"David Baldacci has captivated millions of readers worldwide with his page-turning thrillers. His new venture into the fantasy genre is equally mesmerizing, and every bit as exciting -- all trademarks of this talented writer," said Ellie Berger, president of Scholastic Trade. "We are delighted to be working with David again, and look forward to introducing the young fans of fantasy and adventure to the imaginative world of Vega Jane."
"It was the best kind of surprise to discover that an author beloved for writing so brilliantly about our world has a secret love and talent for creating his own magic world," said Rachel Griffiths, executive editor for Scholastic Press, who will edit "The Finisher." "I'm excited that his millions of fans will have the pleasure of discovering that David's talent has even more facets than any of us knew."
"Fourteen-year-old Vega Jane lives in the village of Wormwood, where life is nasty, brutish and short," a synopsis said. "Villagers have been told that there is nothing outside of Wormwood except for the Quag, a foul forest filled with terrifying beasts. No one comes, no one goes, and Wormwood has stayed this way for generations -- until Vega's mentor Quentin Herms disappears. Quentin leaves Vega a secret message hinting that there's a way out of Wormwood, and something extraordinary on the other side. As Vega begins to investigate, she realizes that Wormwood is a village built on dangerous lies. And that powerful people are willing to kill in order to keep it that way. Soon Vega is careening down a path that will either lead straight to the truth ... or straight to an early grave."
Baldacci's books for adults include "The Camel Club," "The Collectors," "Stone Cold," "The Forgotten," "Absolute Power" and "The Simple Truth." He also penned an installment for the "39 Clues" series for children, as well as two books in the "Freddy and the French Fries" franchise.