Margaret Atwood’s Handmaid’s Tale sequel escapes from tight secrecy (

Hundreds of readers in the US have received early copies of The Testaments, Margaret Atwood’s heavily embargoed follow-up to The Handmaid’s Tale, after copies were shipped out early by Amazon.

Security around the novel had been as tight as anything mounted for JK Rowling or Dan Brown’s blockbuster releases – the judges for the Booker prize, who shortlisted The Testaments for the award on Wednesday, were warned they would be held liable if their watermarked copies leaked. But since Tuesday, readers have been posting images on Twitter of their freshly delivered copies, a week before the novel’s official release on 10 September.

The Guardian understands that despite the measures that had bookshops promising to store copies of the novel in a secured area until publication day, around 800 orders were shipped early, but only in the US.

In a statement, The Testaments’ publisher Penguin Random House said the cause was “due to a retailer error which has now been rectified”.

On Thursday, an Amazon spokesperson said: “Due to a technical error a small number of customers were inadvertently sent copies of Margaret Atwood’s The Testaments. We apologise for this error; we value our relationship with authors, agents, and publishers, and regret the difficulties this has caused them and our fellow booksellers.”
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