Marlon James has announced the release date of his next novel, Black Leopard, Red Wolf, coming next February via Riverhead Books. It’s the first book in James’ Dark Star Trilogy.
James is best known for his 2015 novel A Brief History of Seven Killings, which examined Jamaica’s political and social climate over the last century. The novel won the Man Booker Prize, making James the first Jamaican author to ever earn the award. Amazon Studios is adapting the novel, with Insecure director Melina Matsoukas set to helm the project.
In January of last year, James announced his next project, the epic fantasy Dark Star Trilogy. James has dubbed the trilogy the “African Game of Thrones,” as the novels exist in a space between African myth and history. The project emerged from an argument that James had about ethnic and cultural diversity in fantasy literature, only for James to realize the untapped potential of African folklore as source material. Given the massive success of the pan-African-themed Black Panther, James certainly has good timing.
Black Leopard, Red Wolf follows Tracker, a mercenary who has been hired to find a child who has been missing for the last three years. Tracker teams up with an assortment of characters, including the mysterious shape-shifting man/animal Leopard. As the search continues, Tracker begins to wonder who this child is, and who is telling the truth about his whereabouts. A press release describes Black Leopard, Red Wolf “as both surprising and profound as it explores the fundamentals of truth, the limits of power, and our need to understand them both.”
According to its official synopsis, each novel of the trilogy will take one perspective of three mercenaries who are “locked in a dungeon in the castle of a dying king, awaiting torture and trial for the death of a child. [T]he search, expected to take two months, took nine years. In the end, five of the eight mercenaries, as well as the child, [are] dead.”
Black Leopard, Red Wolf will hit shelves Feb. 5, 2019. Check out the novel’s cover art by Venezuelan illustrator Pablo Gerardo Camacho below.