News - January 2005
The sixth Alex Rider story is finished and has just been received by Walker Books. According to editor Jane Winterbotham, the new book is even better than Scorpia and has more action than any Alex Rider book so far.
The story? This time Alex finds himself involved with multi-billionaire, Nikolei Drevin who is in charge of the Ark Angel project - a hotel in outer space. But Drevin is being threatened by a sinister group of eco-terrorists who call themselves Force Three and whose leader, Kaspar, has a head tattooed to resemble the planet Earth.
When Force Three attempt to kidnap Nikolei's fourteen-year-old son, Paul, they accidentally snatch Alex instead and from that moment Alex finds himself drawn into a war which could lead to the destruction of an entire American city. The story goes from London to Oxfordshire to New York and then to the Caribbean island of Flamingo Bay.
Watch out for ARK ANGEL - it's being published in April 2005.
2005 is going to be an unusual year because Anthony has not one but two new novels coming out. RAVEN'S GATE is the second (it should be in the shops around September). And this one is very different. Think Alex Rider with witches and monsters.
It's the first in a series of five books. The hero is a 14-year-old called Matt Freeman. He's a juvenile delinquent, arrested by the police following a break-in and the near death of a security guard. Matt has paranormal powers which he doesn't understand and can't control. And he's not the only one who knows about them.
Taken into care in Yorkshire by the heartless Jayne Deverill, Matt finds himself at the heart of a conspiracy that involves black magic, murder and an abandoned nuclear power station. It's the beginning of a very dark and scary horror/fantasy with three more boys and a girl, all the same age, joining him to fight a growing, worldwide evil!
This is the sequel to RAVEN'S GATE and although Anthony hasn't started writing it yet, he's just got back from a three-week trip to Peru with his son, Nicholas. It wasn't a holiday! It was serious research.
Anthony visited the famous Nazca Lines, huge drawings in the desert south of Lima, which remain one of the great mysteries of the world and which feature at the heart of the new book. They can only be seen from the air. He also walked across the Andes for four days - the famous Inca trail to Machu Picchu. This will also feature in the new book.
In EVIL STAR, Matt Freeman finds himself chased across Peru, helped only by a half-starved shoe-shine boy called Pedro. Pedro is the second of the teenagers involved in this series.
Those of you who know Anthony's work well might recognise an earlier series of books that he wrote twenty years ago - including THE DEVIL'S DOORBELL and THE NIGHT OF THE SCORPION. Anthony has revisited these books and totally rewritten them. He plans to write (approximately) one book a year, finishing the whole thing in 2009!
The film of Stormbreaker
Still no hard news here. The film is being produced by Samuelson productions, based in London. The same production company also made THE GATHERING (see below). The film is going to cost around £20m to make - and apparently all the money is “in the bag”!
Anthony wrote the screenplay last year. There are lots of things that have had to be changed from the book - even the gadgets aren't quite the same and Smithers is actually discovered working in the toy department at Hamleys. There's also a whole new section that has Alex saving his entire regiment when he's sent for training with the SAS.
Casting for the film could begin at any time. And for all those ambitious teens who think they could be the first Alex Rider - remember that Anthony won't be the one who casts the part. That'll be the director - and he has yet to be announced.
Anthony's first horror film starring Christina Ricci should be in the cinemas next year (probably with a 15 certificate). It's being released by Miramax and this being the wonderful world of film, nothing is certain. The last we heard was a January/February release both in the UK and America. But the film was written more than ten years ago and it could be another ten before it sees the light of day.
Curious fact. Oliver Chris is the young actor who reads the Alex Rider books on CD and tape (he also appeared in The Office). When you do finally get to see The Gathering, you'll see Oliver in the opening shots. He lasts about two minutes before he is brutally killed!
The last series of Foyle's War has just ended. It was a definite hit with about nine million people tuning in each Sunday to watch it.
Foyle's War will be back with just two two-hour films next year. The new series is set in 1942 and Anthony has written both the scripts.
In the first, â€œInvasionâ€, the American GIs have arrived in England and a platoon of engineers are sent to built an airbase on a requisitioned farm. Sam Stewart has broken up with Andrew and finds herself being pursued by a GI. And Milner is investigating the death, in a fire, of an old friend. Then a local girl is strangled and it looks as if one of the GI's may have done it.
The second story is called â€œBad Bloodâ€ and looks at the controversial area of biological warfare in 1942. Although not many people are aware of it, the English did manufacture biological weapons - it was believed that the Germans were planning to spread anthrax on the London underground system. Strange to find these issues still with us today! In this episode, Sam is infected with anthrax and Foyle has two days to solve the murder of a returning war hero - the solution to the crime may be the only thing that can save Sam.
Shooting starts next February with Jeremy Silberston and Gavin Millar, the two directors from the last series, returning.
Another television series that Anthony is writing for Greenlit Productions and Sky. It should go into production next year.
Anthony read the Dr Syn books when he was young and he has always wanted to write a television series based on them. Dr Syn is the vicar in an English village. But he's also a pirate and a smuggler. This is a very light-hearted romp through the eighteenth century with ghosts, smugglers, cruel soldiers, daft squires, beautiful daughters and lots of improbable action.
Anthony will be trying to visit more schools next year although it's best to plan ahead. There just isn't enough time in the year for everything. He has already agreed to a 4-day visit in France in March and he's got book tours of America and Japan pencilled in.
The Killing Joke, Anthony's first adult novel, comes out in paperback next spring.
He's about to start work on a second adult novel, a whodunit with the title - “The Magpie Murders”. More about that soon -