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Former US secretary of state and presidential candidate Hilary Rodham Clinton is following in the footsteps of her husband Bill Clinton in co-writing a political thriller.  With her friend Louise Penny, author of the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache novels published by Sphere, part of Hachette, she has written the State of Terror, which will be published in October by Pan Macmillan in the UK and jointly by Macmillan’s St Martin’s Press and Simon & Schuster in the US.

The three publishers acquired world and audio rights from Robert B Barnett of Williams & Connolly, who represented Clinton, and David Gernert of The Gernert Company, who represented Penny in the deal. Jennifer Enderlin, president and publisher of the St Martin’s Publishing Group, will edit the novel.

The publisher says that the story follows ‘a novice secretary of state who has joined the administration of her rival, a president inaugurated after four years of American leadership that shrank from the world stage. A series of terrorist attacks throws the global order into disarray, and the secretary is tasked with assembling a team to unravel the deadly conspiracy, a scheme carefully designed to take advantage of an American government dangerously out of touch and out of power in the places where it counts the most’.

Clinton said: “Writing a thriller with Louise is a dream come true. I’ve relished every one of her books and their characters, as well as her friendship. Now we’re joining our experiences to explore the complex world of high-stakes diplomacy and treachery. All is not as it first appears.”

Penny added: “When it was suggested my friend Hillary and I write a political thriller together, I could not say yes fast enough. What an incredible experience, to get inside the State Department. Inside the White House. Inside the mind of the Secretary of State as high-stakes crises explode. Before we started, we talked about her time as Secretary of State. What was her worst nightmare? State of Terror is the answer.”

Pan Macmillan publisher Jeremy Trevathan commented:  “State of Terror is as exciting a proposal for a global thriller as I have ever read. The scope, ingenuity, and ambition reflects the strength of the creative chemistry that exists between Hillary Clinton and Louise Penny. It’s a unique pairing of global real-life experience at the highest level and a brilliantly honed narrative craft. The characters, their nuanced backstories, and the tense, all-too-believable plot leap off the page. This is emphatically a story for our times and we are confident it will establish itself as a bestseller for years to come, read both by thriller fans and by Hillary Clinton’s and Louise Penny’s legions of admirers around the world.”

In a joint statement, Jonathan Karp, President and Chief Executive Officer of Simon & Schuster, and Don Weisberg, Chief Executive Officer of Macmillan Trade Publishers, said: “When we read Louise Penny and Hillary Clinton’s outline for the State of Terror, it was immediately clear that when an ingenious novelist goes to work with one of the world’s most knowledgeable leaders, the results are kinetic. We are delighted to be part of this exciting publishing relationship, and we expect the State of Terror to thrill legions of readers throughout the world.”

Hilary Clinton now joins her husband Bill as a thriller writer.  Former President Bill Clinton worked with James Patterson on The President is Missing published in 2018.

Interestingly, if Bertelsmann’s proposed bid for Simon & Schuster is successful, it may mean that such a joint publishing arrangement in the US – between Pan Macmillan and S&S, which would mean Pan Macmillan and Penguin Random House – may not happen.