David Oliver Relin, the journalist who co-wrote the 2006 bestseller Three Cups of Tea with mountain-climber-turned-humanitarian Greg Mortenson, has left Viking Penguin and signed with Random House for his next book. Tentatively titled See How They Shine, Mr. Relin’s book will follow two doctors on a mission around the world to cure blindness. Susan Kamil, the editor in chief of Random’s flagship imprint, preempted world rights to the book from Jin Auh at the Wylie Agency, who replaced Elizabeth Kaplan as Mr. Relin’s literary agent sometime after Three Cups of Tea was published.
That book, which became a surprise number one hit on the New York Times best seller list when Penguin published it in paperback in 2007, told the story of one man’s quest to build schools throughout Pakistan and Afghanistan. That man was not Mr. Relin, who wrote the book, but Mr. Mortenson. And though the cover of Three Cups of Tea had the two men sharing credit evenly, with their names printed side by side in the same size type, it was Mr. Mortenson, not Mr. Relin, whom everyone in the media wanted to talk to when the book became a success, and Mr. Mortenson, not Mr. Relin, who emerged from the publication a bankable star.
Mr. Relin’s partnership with Mr. Mortenson is said to have became strained over the course of their association, and ultimately dissolved. So it was that earlier this year, when Viking Penguin signed up a sequel to Three Cups of Tea—titled Stones Into Schools: Promoting Peace With Books, Not Bombs, In Afaghanistan and Pakistan—Mr. Relin was not attached to the project. Instead, according to Viking publisher Paul Slovak, Mr. Mortenson hired “a couple” of ghostwriters, whose names will not appear anywhere near the book’s cover.
Mr. Mortenson’s book, Mr. Slovak said, will be published by Viking in December. Mr. Relin’s, according to Random House director of publicity Carol Schneider, has not yet been scheduled.
Neither Mr. Relin nor his agent responded to requests for comment. Terms of the author’s deal with Random House were not disclosed.