Allan Amato
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November 08, 2018 at 11:30 AM EST

Erin Morgenstern is finally ready for her encore.

The best-selling author of The Night Circus will next publish The Starless Sea, a sweeping new novel interweaving romantic and fantastical elements, in late 2019, EW can announce exclusively. The book is Morgenstern’s first in seven years, and publisher Doubleday is planning an ambitious rollout, with a first printing of 500,000 copies.

The Night Circus, a fantasy told in nonlinear form from multiple viewpoints, marked a smash debut for Morgenstern, going on to award-winning acclaim and drawing the immediate interest of Hollywood. The book has sold 3 million copies since its 2011 publication and has been translated into 37 languages; in addition, both film and stages adaptations are in development.

Here’s the official synopsis for The Starless Sea: “Zachary Ezra Rawlins is a graduate student in Vermont when he discovers a strange book hidden in the library stacks. As he turns the pages, entranced by tales of lovelorn prisoners, key collectors, and nameless acolytes, he reads something strange: a story from his own childhood. Bewildered by this inexplicable book and desperate to make sense of how his own life came to be recorded, Zachary uncovers a series of clues — a bee, a key, and a sword — that lead him to a masquerade party in New York, to a secret club, and through a doorway to a subterranean library, hidden far below the surface of the earth.

“What Zachary finds in this curious place is more than just a buried home for books and their guardians — it is a place of lost cities and seas, lovers who pass notes under doors and across time, and of stories whispered by the dead. Zachary learns of those who have sacrificed much to protect this realm, relinquishing their sight and their tongues to preserve this archive, and also those who are intent on its destruction. Together with Mirabel, a fierce, pink-haired protector of the place, and Dorian, a handsome barefoot man with shifting alliances, Zachary travels the twisting tunnels, darkened stairwells, crowded ballrooms, and sweetly soaked shores of this magical world, discovering his purpose — in both the mysterious book and in his own life.”

Several years in the making, The Starless Sea is a much-anticipated second novel from Morgenstern. “When I started working on my new novel, I thought I was writing a book about books, but as it turns out I was writing a book about stories,” the author said in a statement. “Stories and choices and change and also time and fate and video games. It took quite a while to get it all to fit in a single book, even down to the bees.”

The Starless Sea will publish Nov. 5, 2019.

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