Fiction & Drama

The Gallows Tree by Lisa Rookes acquired by Orion Fiction


We’re thrilled to announce that The Gallows Tree, the first gothic thriller by Lisa Rookes, has been acquired by Orion Fiction. World English Language rights were acquired by Publishing Director Leodora Darlington from Northbank fiction agent Hannah Weatherill. Orion will launch The Gallows Tree in eBook and audio in April 2024, followed by a paperback release in September 2024.

Twisty and dark, with compelling folkloric detail, The Gallows Tree, is a truly unputdownable thriller. Inspired by the real-life annual Great Plague celebrations where Lisa lives, the book is set in a small Yorkshire village where every year a Gallows Queen is crowned during a summer night of celebration. One year, the Gallows Queen disappears shortly after being crowned, and when human remains are found buried by the village church, the story of the missing queen and the village’s dark past, soon become intertwined.

Lisa has been a crime and real-life journalist for 22 years and is currently Deputy Head of Journalism at the University of Sheffield. She tweets at @lisabjourno. The Gallows Tree is her first contemporary gothic thriller.

‘This brilliantly suspenseful novel blends elements of horror and folklore into something truly special. A spellbinding piece of fiction.’ 

Darlington says: ‘I was immediately obsessed with Lisa’s book when it landed in my inbox. This brilliantly suspenseful novel blends elements of horror and folklore into something truly special. Ultimately, this is a book about the lies we tell ourselves and those closest to us. It is spine-tingly creepy and jaw-droppingly twisty. It’s a truly spellbinding piece of fiction and the whole Orion Fiction team immediately fell in love with its magic. I’m so pleased to be publishing Lisa’s books and can’t wait for readers to discover her amazing storytelling.’

Rookes says: ‘From our first conversation I knew Leodora and Orion were the one. It’s so amazing when someone gets your book as much, even if more so, than you do. I can’t wait to join this fantastic, forward-thinking team and hope I’ll be here for years to come, especially with the incredible vision they have for my eerie folky horror tales. To say I’m excited is an understatement.’

Weatherill says: ‘I’m so thrilled that The Gallows Tree has found the perfect home in Leodora and Orion. It was clear from the first call that they had the vision to launch Lisa as a major name in this spooky, twisted space and I can’t wait for readers to discover the sinister friendships and secrets in this small Yorkshire village.’

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