Is 'The Bone Season' the new Harry Potter? Andy Serkis thinks so.
Two years ago, Samantha Shannon was a 19-year-old intern - though no ordinary 19-year-ordinary intern. She had 480 pages of a fantasy novel locked away, for which - two years later - she would be paid a £100,000 advance.
The Bone Season looks set to become an international bestseller and comparisons are already being made to JK Rowling and Harry Potter. So far, the rights to the novel have been sold in 20 countries and it hits shelves in the UK on August 20. However, perhaps far more lucrative to both Shannon and publisher Bloomsbury is that the film rights to the novel have been bought by Andy Serkis's company The Imaginarium.
"A few Hollywood studios were interested, but I went with The Imaginarium," she told the Telegraph, "They're a British company and I felt they got the book and would keep to its spirit."
The London-based company were behind The Rise of the Planet of the Apes, which made over $480 million at the box office. Serkis and co are currently working on an adaptation of George Orwell's classic novel Animal Farm, that will see a Hollywood A-List cast taking on the challenge of performance-capture.
The Bone Season follows the fortunes of a 19-year-old clairvoyant girl named Paige Mahoney who is employed into people's minds and steal their secrets. In the dystopian world set in 2059, Oxford - where Shannon went to university - is a secret prison city inhabited by all manner of weird and wonderful creatures.
Essentially, the next ten or fifteen years of Shannon's life have already been planned out. Following the publicity tour for the first book, she will begin work on the second book, and then the third, fourth and probably fifth. "There is quite a lot of pressure, I suppose, but most of it is self-imposed," the author explained, "I just want to make each book better than the one before. You see...I know I've still got a lot to learn."
Andy Serkis At The Cowboys and Aliens Premiere
Andy Serkis at ITV Studios