Man Booker Prize winner Marlon James is to publish a new epic fantasy trilogy dubbed the "African Game of Thrones" in the US in 2018.
According to EW, the Dark Star Trilogy will consist of three novels - Black Leopard, Red Wolf; Moon Witch, Night Devil; The Boy and the Dark Star - which will follow three characters called the Tracker, the Moon Witch, and the Boy.
The official summary of the trilogy reads: “[The three main characters are] locked in a dungeon in the castle of a dying king, awaiting torture and trial for the death of a child. They were three of eight mercenaries who had been hired to find the child; the search, expected to take two months, took nine years. In the end, five of the eight mercenaries, as well as the child, were dead.”
Each of the three novels will unravel one of the three characters' tales of what happened over those nine years, with one perspective per book.
Discussing the idea for the trilogy, James said: "Originally [the idea] came from a fight that I had with somebody. I think it was when they announced the casting for 'The Hobbit'. I remember saying, 'You know, if an Asian or a black hobbit came out of the Shire, nobody would have cared. We would have just moved on.' And my friend said, 'Well, Lord of the Rings is all this British and Celtic mythology.' And I said, 'Well, you know… Lord of the Rings isn’t real.' It just turned into one of these arguments we have about diversity and inclusion.
"It made me realize that there was this huge universe of African history and mythology and crazy stories, these fantastic beasts and so on, that was just waiting there. And I’m a big sci-fi geek — I love my Lord of the Rings, I love my Angela Carter and my Dragonslayer [by Jasper Fforde]. I think the argument ended with me saying, 'You know what? Keep your damn Hobbit'.
"And it made me start to think about the fantastic African epic traditions — some of the stories I grew up with, like Anansi the Spider. I just realized that there’s this huge pool of fantastic stories to draw from. It’s sort of like my being a scholar of African history and mythology, and my being a total sci-fi/fantasy geek who rereads things like The Mists of Avalon [by Marion Zimmer Bradley], they just sort of came together."
The Dark Star Trilogy will be published in the US by Riverhead Books with the first set to come in autumn 2018. UK rights are currently under discussion.
James has published three books, including 2015 Man Booker winner A Brief History of Seven Killings, with Oneworld in the UK.