Published in October next year by Moonflower Books, Pagans takes place in a world where William The Conqueror never ascended to the throne, where "political allegiances are demonstrated through tattoos, the ancient Gods are a part of everyday life and kids use runes instead of text speak.
"Amid a bid to unite a country divided into the Celtic West, Saxon East and an independent Nordic Kingdom of Scotland, two mismatched police officers - DI Drustan from the Celtic West and Captain Aedith from the Saxon East - must work together to find and stop a serial killer."
Henry, who was lead writer on recent Radio 4 sketch series Wosson Cornwall, and whose television writing credits also include Campus and Delivery Man, alongside popular children's series such as Hey Duggee and Shaun The Sheep, told trade website The Bookseller "I couldn't be happier to be working with Moonflower on Pagans. It feels like both our lockdown projects - them setting up an independent publisher and me writing my first novel - came together in a way no one could have predicted.
"As an ex-bookseller, the idea that my weird police procedural/alternate world story might just end up on the shelves is unfeasibly exciting, as are the discussions my editor and I are currently having about getting matching pagan-themed tattoos.
Moonflower's editorial director Emma Waring added: "From the very first page of Pagans I knew it was something special. James has managed to take all the elements of a great police procedural and turn them on their heads to create a fresh, smart and funny novel.
"There's elements of Neil Gaiman and the late, great Terry Pratchett in both the humour and the cleverly sideways take on contemporary issues. Readers are going to adore the compelling central pairing, the clever 'our-world-but-not' setting, and the fast, witty dialogue."
A refreshingly different police procedural, the book presents an alternative contemporary Britain where the Norman conquest of 1066 never happened. In this modern Britain, political allegiances are demonstrated through tattoos, the ancient gods are a part of everyday life and kids use runes instead of text speak.
Amid a bid to unite a country divided into the Celtic West, Saxon East and an independent Nordic Kingdom of Scotland, two mismatched police officers - D I Drustan from the Celtic West and Captain Aedith from the Saxon East - must work together to find and stop a serial killer.
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