HarperCollins Children’s Books is to publish Michael Morpurgo’s The Fox and the Ghost King, a fable about Leicester City Football Club's historic football premiership win, originally written for BBC Radio 4.
Leicester City are nicknamed the Foxes, and the fable features a fox is hanging around the car park in Leicester where King Richard III was buried, when she hears the king speak. He promises to grant her greatest wish if she leads archaeologists to where he is buried.
When Fox, who hates that “crowing cockerel of a Mourinho”, asks him to help Leicester win their next match against Chelsea, the king promises to go even further and guarantee that Leicester wins the league. So Fox digs a tunnel to where the king is buried, leading a path for the archaeologists to find.
The story was originally read out by Morpurgo on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme in May.
HarperCollins Children’s publishing director Nick Lake acquired the world rights from Veronique Baxter at David Higham, and will publish the title in hardback (£9.99), e-book and audiobook on 22nd September.
“Michael is the master, and The Fox and the Ghost King has all the hallmarks of his inimitable storytelling: it’s a ghost story, a fairy tale, and a classic animal adventure, all rolled into one timeless magic spell”, said Lake. “We are royally proud to be publishing this gift of a book this autumn, for every child (and every child at heart) to enjoy."
The book will be published with illustrations and an afterword about Leicester City Football Club by Michael Foreman. Morpurgo will also write a foreword about King Richard III.