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Marlon James’s New Books Will Be a Game of Thrones-Inspired African Fantasy Trilogy

CHELTENHAM, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 10: Marlon James, writer, shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2015, at the Cheltenham Literature Festival on October 10, 2015 in Cheltenham, England. (Photo by David Levenson/Getty Images)

Very cool news for fans of Marlon James: the Man Booker-winning writer of A Brief History of Seven Killings and The Book of Night Women will publish three fantasy novels under the title The Dark Star Trilogy, inspired by Tolkien, Game of Thrones, and African folk tales and mythology. The first of these books, titled Black Leopard, Red Wolf, could be published as early as Fall 2018. The second and third installments are titled Moon Witch, Night Devil, and The Boy and the Dark Star.

Entertainment Weekly, which broke the news, brings us the following official description via publisher Riverhead Books:

Three characters — the Tracker, the Moon Witch, and the Boy — 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.What happened? Where did their stories begin? And how did each story end? These are the questions Marlon James poses in the Dark Star Trilogy, three novels set amid African legend and his own fertile imagination – an African Game of Thrones. From royal intrigue to thrilling and dangerous voyages, and complete with pirates, queens, witches, shape-shifters and monsters, these novels are part fantasy, part myth and part detective story.

In an interview with EW, James said he was inspired to write Dark Star by traditional African tales like The The Epic of Askia Mohammed and The Epic of Son-Jara, and that he’s planning to create a language in the style of Tolkien’s Elvish for his characters to speak. James previously teased the series in a 2015 interview, saying he planed to “geek the fuck out” with his next books and calling them “an African Game of Thrones.

James wouldn’t be the first award-winning literary writer in recent memory to mine mythology and paperback fantasy in his work–Kazuo Ishiguro did it to great effect with his luminous novel The Buried Giant in 2015. And James’s Brief History of Seven Killings, an manic Pynchonian epic loosely based on a real-life failed assassination attempt on Bob Marley, was filled with enough characters and interlocking stories–as well as enough violence–to rival Tolkien and George R.R. Martin. Reading him build an entirely different but equally vivid world across three entire novels is an exciting prospect.