J.K. Rowling will use her pseudonym, Robert Galbraith, a second time. The book will be called The Silkworm, and is about a novelist who meets a deadly end.
In the novel, war veteran-turned-crime detective Cormoran Strike will investigate the disappearance of an author. The author has been murdered after writing “poisonous pen-portraits” of many people in his real life. If the novel is published, the lives of the people around him will be ruined and it is up to Strike to find out who killed the author off.
This is the second of Rowling’s novels that features the character Cormoran Strike. She already indicated that she wanted to release a series of novels around this protagonist, who is the illegitimate son of a prestigious and prominent man. His character is deep and interesting to the Harry Potter author. While Strike served in the army, he was just known as the soldier, but now that he is a civilian, people tend to make assumptions based on who his parents are. She finds it interesting to tell the story.
Rowling previously wrote Strike into The Cuckoo’s Calling, which was the first to be published under her Galbraith pseudonym. Before the name was connected to Rowling, many critics praised what they believed to be a male author for adding a sensitive female side to the characters and storytelling.
In July 2013, J.K. Rowling was announced as the author of The Cuckoo’s Calling. Her lawyer told a close friend the truth, who then broadcast it on Twitter and social media. But despite people knowing Galbraith is actually Rowling, she has decided to use her pseudonym a second time to keep the connection to the character in the novel. It makes sense, as readers will see the name of the author and be able to quickly and easily connect the main character to other novels that character has appeared in. It is likely Rowling will continue to use the pseudonym for any future novels she writes with Strike as the main character.
All royalties for The Cuckoo’s Calling go to the Soldier’s Charity, which is where Rowling’s compensation was donated to after taking her former lawyer to court for breaching her confidentiality agreement.
The Silkworm will be released in the United States June 24 by publisher Little, Brown and Company. This is a week after the release in the United Kingdom. The publisher describes the new novel as a “compulsive” read with “twists at every turn.”
Little, Brown published Rowling’s first adult novel after the Harry Potter series, The Casual Vacancy. This was published under her own name. The publisher had to arrange quick reprints of The Cuckoo’s Calling after the release of the real author behind the novel. Within the first three months of the first novel featuring Strike, the book had sold 1,500 copies. When the news broke about the famous Rowling being Galbraith, nearly 18,000 copies were sold.
It will be interesting to see the number of copies Rowling will sell of The Silkworm when it is released. Despite using her pseudonym a second time, everyone will know it is Rowling from the beginning, and her fans will want to read her work.
By Alexandria Ingham