Twilight author Stephenie Meyer has a new spy thriller – for adults – out this year

Author swaps vampires and teen angst for espionage and intrigue in a novel which will feature her first adult protagonist

PUBLISHED : Friday, 22 July, 2016, 1:03pm
UPDATED : Friday, 22 July, 2016, 1:03pm

Stephenie Meyer, the author behind the blockbuster Twilight saga, is set to release a new thriller – this time for adults. Her publisher, Little Brown, announced this week that The Chemist, a “tautly plotted” spy thriller, will be released in November.

The Chemist represents a pivot for Meyer towards adult fiction, as this book will be her first to feature an adult protagonist. The main character is deliberately left unnamed in the publisher’s description, though a reference to her “unique talents” suggests that this book will remain firmly in the supernatural genre that Meyer has come to dominate:

“She used to work for the US government, but very few people ever knew that. An expert in her field, she was one of the darkest secrets of an agency so clandestine it doesn’t even have a name. And when they decided she was a liability, they came for her without warning [...]

When her former handler offers her a way out, she realises it’s her only chance to erase the giant target on her back. But it means taking one last job for her ex-employers. To her horror, the information she acquires only makes her situation more dangerous.

Resolving to meet the threat head on, she prepares for the toughest fight of her life, but finds herself falling for a man who can only complicate her likelihood of survival. As she sees her choices being rapidly whittled down, she must apply her unique talents in ways she never dreamed of.”

Meyer’s Twilight trilogy followed the saga of American teenager Bella Swan as she met and fell in love with a vampire, Edward Cullen. The books became a pop-culture phenomenon, selling in excess of a hundred million copies worldwide and inspiring film adaptations starring Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson.

Her 2008 standalone novel about aliens, The Host, also sold well, though the movie version, starring Saoirse Ronan, was a comparative flop, earning only US$64 million worldwide compared to more than US$500 million for the last instalment of the Twilight movies.

While Twilight’s popularity was undeniable among both teenagers they were aimed at and middle-aged women who flocked to the series in droves, Meyer has drawn her share of criticism for her writing. Some feminist critics assailed what they saw as Bella’s mooning over her vampire lover. Others complained that the criticism of Meyer was, itself, sexist. “The vitriol aimed at the series is often about policing gender and punishing girliness – and boys who dare to enjoy something so blatantly non-masculine would almost certainly find themselves harshly judged,” wrote Sady Doyle at the American Prospect.

While both the last instalment of the Twilight saga and The Host were published in 2008, in recent years Meyer has published a number of novels derived from the Twilight universe. The Chemist will be her first attempt since then to build a new imaginary world.