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Tragic Boyzone star Gately set for bestseller list

Stephen Gately's posthumous children's novel is likely to go straight into the bestseller list when it is published this week.

Boyzone singer Gately was finishing his 300-page fantasy novel when he died suddenly in Spain aged 33.

More than 15,000 copies of 'The Tree of Seasons' have been pre-ordered -- 10,000 in Ireland and 5,000 in Britain -- according to its publishers.

That level of sales in Ireland would put the book straight into the top three next week.

"Stephen was so loved in Ireland that, predictably, interest in his book has been huge," a spokesman in Ireland for publishers Hodder & Stoughton said yesterday.

"We think it may be one of the biggest children's titles this year."

Breda Perdue, the managing director of Hodder in Ireland, was one of the first people to read the book.

She said: "It was clear to me immediately that Stephen was a really talented writer.

"The story is a really involving one, creating a detailed imaginary world along the lines of Narnia. I realised straight away that it deserved to be published in Britain as well as here, so I urged our parent company in the UK to take it on."

The last few pages of the book were completed by Stephen's partner Andrew Cowles and by the Irish writer June Considine, who is a sister of well-known author Dermot Bolger.

The book tells the story of three British children who live near a forest where they discover a tree that is a doorway into a magical and dangerous world. There are four kingdoms in that world, each forever stuck in spring, summer, autumn and winter.

The book will be published in hardback in Britain on Thursday priced at €18.50.

Like Harry Potter, it is expected to appeal to all ages. Elton John pays tribute to Gately in the foreword.

Source Irish Independent

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