J.K. Rowling is switching her fictional focus from wizards to political satire.
Publisher Little, Brown and Co., which signed a deal in February to publish Rowling's first novel aimed at adult readers, announced Thursday that the book will be released internationally on Sept. 27.
Titled The Casual Vacancy, the novel is described in a release from Little, Brown as a "blackly comic" story set in an outwardly idyllic English village called Pagford.
When Barry Fairweather, a member of the parish council, dies unexpectedly, it is revealed that "what lies beneath the pretty facade is a town at war. Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils. ... Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity and unexpected revelations?"
Politics and power aren't new subjects for Rowling. Her Harry Potter novels, which have sold more than 450 million copies, are essentially about power — Harry's ultimate mission is to lead a revolution against a dictator.
The Casual Vacancy will be priced at $35 for hardcover, $19.99 for the e-book. It will also be released as an audiobook.
The e-book of The Casual Vacancy will be sold through the usual retail venues. Hardback and e-book versions were available for pre-order on Amazon and Barnes & Noble soon after the announcement Thursday.