You don’t know it yet, but author V.E. Schwab’s A Darker Shade of Magic is about to become your new favorite fandom. The 2015 fantasy thriller novel is the first in a series of books set in a world perforated with passageways to parallel Londons, accessed through doors which only powerful Travelers, like the mysterious Kell, can traverse. That world that might soon be headed to TV since the adaptation rights were recently acquired by Gerard Butler and Alan Siegel’s G-BASE productions. Fear not, book fans! Schwab has been set to write the pilot with Butler, Siegel and Danielle Robinson producing.
Deadline reported the news of the acquisition, though Schwab has been keeping it hush-hush for six months now, as reported on her blog. Schwab also confirmed that the producers are eyeing the project as a limited series and that producer Robinson has been shepherding her through the television pilot-writing process; the ADSoM author chose to do so in order to maintain creative control and provide her “seal of approval” to the finished product. The pilot’s script is “buffed and polished and almost ready to conquer the world. Or at least LA,” according to Schwab, but no official production orders have been placed as of this writing.
If Schwab’s name or the title A Darker Shade of Magic sounds familiar to you, it might be because you’re already a fan of her work, or perhaps you’ve read some of my previous write-ups about the author. I’ve been following her work since the 2011 publication of the misty and mythological story, “The Near Witch”; through the excellent contemporary YA fantasy series novels, “The Archived” and “The Unbound”, (I also suggested that they should be adapted); up to her dark comic book-style take in the action-packed “Vicious.” In 2013, that project’s movie rights were acquired by Ridley Scott’s Scott Free, partnered up with Story Mining & Supply Co. Now, A Darker Shade of Magic has followed suit, and is (hopefully) bound for TV in all its multicolored glory. If that proves successful, existing and eventual fans alike will be happy to know that Schwab’s follow-up novel, “A Gathering of Shadows” will be available this month, so there may be more to see on the horizon.
Here’s what Robinson had to say about Schwab and A Darker Shade of Magic:
“Victoria is the ultimate world builder. I knew I had to be a part of this project when I started dreaming in Red London. Schwab’s writing is so vivid you start to see it and imagine it all around you. She has a very special gift. We are thrilled to be a part of helping her bring ADSOM to life.”
Schwab herself, no stranger to interacting with her fans over social media, shared this behind-the-scenes image of a gift from her first meeting with the producer:
If I haven’t sold it well enough, here’s the official book synopsis (via Amazon):
From V.E. Schwab, the critically acclaimed author of Vicious, comes a new universe of daring adventure, thrilling power, and parallel Londons, beginning with A Darker Shade of Magic.
Kell is one of the last Travelers—magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel universes—as such, he can choose where he lands.
There’s Grey London, dirty and boring, without any magic, ruled by a mad King George. Then there’s Red London, where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire. White London, ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne—a place where people fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. And once upon a time, there was Black London…but no one speaks of that now. Officially, Kell is the Red Traveler, personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between the royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see—a dangerous hobby, and one that has set him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations, first robs him, then saves him from a dangerous enemy, and then forces him to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.
But perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, Kell and Lila will first need to stay alive—and that is proving trickier than they hoped.