Robert Harris’ new book, The Second Sleep (Hutchinson), is being turned into a TV show by the producers of “Downton Abbey” and “The Last Kingdom”.
Carnival Films, an NBCUniversal International Studios company, has acquired the rights to the thriller, which is now being adapted into a long running television series by writer Bill Gallagher, who previously worked on shows including “Jamestown” and “Lark Rise To Candleford”. Carnival executive chairman Gareth Neame and m.d Nigel Marchant, of “Downton Abbey” and “The Last Kingdom” fame, will serve as executive producers, alongside Harris and Gallagher.
The series will be produced by Carnival Films and distributed by NBCUniversal International Distribution. The Second Sleep will be published by Hutchinson in September.
The Second Sleep follows a young priest, Christopher Fairfax, who arrives in a remote Exmoor village to conduct the funeral of his predecessor. The land around is strewn with artefacts – coins, fragments of glass, human bones – which the old parson used to collect. Did his obsession with the Ancients lead to his death? Did he discover something kept secret for centuries?
The novel is described by Hutchinson as "a genre-bending thriller that explores the devastating potential of misused and oppressive doctrine, whilst challenging our notions of liberty and history. With Harris’ characteristic mastery of suspense and intrigue, the series will paint a world that is both familiar and yet strangely alien, asking what price one must pay to uncover the truth".
Neame said: “Robert Harris’ The Second Sleep is an extraordinary work in its vision and originality, creating a rich world that speaks directly to our own. We are delighted to be working with Bill Gallagher again, whose inventiveness and sensitivity whilst telling stories in meticulously realised settings makes him the perfect writer for this project.”
Harris added: “The Second Sleep, like Fatherland, is set in a speculative world that mingles past and future. What immediately attracted me to Carnival's proposal is its scope. The television series will both dramatise my novel and take it one step further, exploring my imaginary world beyond the confines of my story. I have great admiration for the work of Bill and Gareth, and I'm very much looking forward to working with them on this unique venture.”