What will be the last in the series, Atlas: The Story of Pa Salt, lands on shelves today.
In 2021, just after the release of the seventh Seven Sisters book, author Lucinda Riley passed away at the age of 56 after a four year battle with cancer. The job of finishing her epic series was left to her son, Harry Whittaker.
The new book opens in Paris, 1928, and will reveal how the sisters came to be adopted by their beloved, mysterious father Pa Salt.
Upon the reveal of the official Atlas cover earlier this year, Whittaker penned a touching op-ed in The Bookseller, reflecting on what it has been like finishing his mother’s eight book epic.
Whittaker, who is an established author himself and has already collaborated with his mother, revealed that in 2018, Riley asked him to complete the Seven Sisters series if the worst were to happen.
“After her death, there was no question that I would keep my word,” Whittaker wrote in The Bookseller. “Many people ask about the monumental pressure of the task… I’ve always seen the process as a tribute. I’m doing it for my best friend and hero.”
As it turns out, Riley had already mapped out a plan for the end the series years ago, having kept a detailed timeline of Pa Salt’s movements across the decades. Whittaker promises that his mother had made sure that readers will feel “emotionally satisfied” with the end of the book.
“The novel itself is epic. It spans a lifetime of love and loss, crossing borders and oceans,” he reveals. “Atlas will reward those who have loved the novels since the beginning, but there is a new story to tell, too.”
Lucinda Riley’s website adds the following synopsis for Atlas: The Story of Pa Salt:
A boy is found, moments from death, and taken in by a kindly family. Gentle, precocious, talented, he flourishes in his new home, and the family show him a life he hadn’t dreamed possible. But he refuses to speak a word about who is really is.
As he grows into a young man, falling in love and taking classes at the prestigious Conservatoire de Paris, he can almost forget the terrors of his past, or the promise he has vowed to keep. But across Europe an evil is rising, and no-one’s safety is certain. In his heart, he knows the time will come where he must flee once more.
2008, the Aegean
The seven sisters are gathered together for the first time, on board the Titan to say a final goodbye to the enigmatic father they loved so dearly.
To the surprise of everyone, it is the missing sister who Pa Salt has chosen to entrust with the clue to their pasts. But for every truth revealed, another question emerges. The sisters must confront the idea that their adored father was someone they barely knew. And even more shockingly: that these long-buried secrets may still have consequences for them today.
The original announcement came ahead of the release of the seventh book in the series, The Missing Sister, in 2021.
According to Riley herself, there was no way she could do the story justice in just one book, and so planned a follow-up book, Atlas: The Story of Pa Salt.
“I started writing Book 7 with every intention of telling both Merope’s story and Pa Salt’s story too,” said Riley at the time on her Instagram page. “And then halfway through I actually realised that there was no way I could actually fit and do justice to both stories in one book.”