"African folklore is just as rich, and just as perverse as [Lord of the Rings]," Marlon James said in a Vulture interview more than a year ago, after winning the the prestigious Man Booker Prize for his sprawling crime opus A Brief History of Seven Killings. Today, the first few details of James' fantasy cycle have been announced and they sound pretty damn exciting.
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James has been a rising literary star for a little while now and came to larger attention after notching the accolade. Mentions of the fantasy project he was cooking up were a staple of interviews he did and publisher Riverhead Books is pulling back the curtain just a touch to tell the world about the work that's coming. Black Leopard, Red Wolf will be the first book in the Dark Star Trilogy, followed by Moon Witch, Night Devil and The Boy and the Dark Star. Here's the first official description:
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...
None of the books have release dates yet so it's a running bet as whether James can put out an entire trilogy before George R.R. Martin finishes up A Song of Ice and Fire.