Alex Preston

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book | 2022

The year is 1742. Goody Brown, saved from drowning and adopted when just a babe, has grown up happily in the smuggling town of Winchelsea. Then, when Goody turns sixteen, her father is murdered in the night by men he thought were friends.

To find justice in a lawless land, Goody must enter the cut-throat world of her father’s killers. With her beloved brother Francis, she joins a rival gang of smugglers. Facing high seas and desperate villains, she also discovers something else: an existence without constraints or expectations, a taste for danger that makes her blood run fast.

Goody was never born to be a gentlewoman. But what will she become instead?

is an electrifying story of vengeance and transformation; a rare, lyrical and transporting work of historical imagination that makes the past so real we can touch it.


manages the translation rights for Winchelsea

Canongate Books manages the translation rights for Winchelsea

Claire Nozieres manages the translation rights for Winchelsea

Film Rights


Contact Luke Speed for more information

Translation Rights Sold

Canongate Books

A classic tale of chase, capture and escape worthy of R.L. Stevenson


Winchelsea is a remarkable act of literary time travel: dark and gripping and soaked in blood and salt water.

Evie Wyld

A classic tale of chase, capture and escape worthy of R.L. Stevenson


Winchelsea and its fierce young heroine swept me away on an irresistible tide of adventure, revenge, horror, love, smuggling and high drama on land and sea. What a brilliant idea to rework Moonfleet, but add some contemporary touches to the mix. Huge fun, superbly atmospheric and thoroughly enjoyable.

Amanda Craig

Beautifully told and expertly crafted, a moving and evocative tale of longing and belonging.

Peter Frankopan

There's a wild piratical darkness to Winchelsea which is charged by the evocative and strange wilderness of its setting on the Romney Marshes. At its heart is a gripping tale: a life-and-death struggle, set in the eighteenth century yet vibrantly heightened by a sureness of visceral detail and a vivid depth of characterisation. This is historical drama on a deft and uproarious scale, and it makes for a breathlessly exciting and engaging read.

Philip Hoare

What a story! What a heroine! What an adventure! Alex Preston sweeps you from scene to scene, surprise to surprise with all the deft theatricality and fluency of a modern Robert Louis Stevenson. I have rarely read anything so vivid or that makes the eighteenth century, with all its ambitions, terrors, desires and sheer juiciness, so grippingly alive.

Adam Nicolson

Imagine Daphne du Maurier crossed with Quentin Tarantino, and you will have some idea of just what a thrilling, bloody and heady ride this novel is.

Tom Holland

I was riveted. Winchelsea is a great read - terrific narrative drive, credible characters, and such an elegant creation of the backdrop in terms of both time and place.

Penelope Lively

Karolina Sutton
+44 (0)20 7393 4428
Email Karolina Sutton