The Gormenghast series, written by Mervyn Peake in the 1940s and '50s, ended when the author died in 1968, leaving behind plans for at least two more novels. The Telegraph reports that Peake's widow Maeve Gilmore completed an additional Gormenghast title, Titus Awakes, and Gilmore's family is now planning to get the book published.
Coming in at 210 pages, the book was apparently based on a page and a half of fragmented notes Peake left to his wife detailing how he might have continued the story. The Peake family discovered the manuscripts in the family home.
The Gormenghast series followes the character of Titus Groan from his birth in a medieval castle to his discovery of a futuristic society of advanced technology. The film was adapted for television in the UK and Australia and has also inspired several stage productions.
Peake's books include Titus Groan (published in 1946), Gormenghast (1950), and Titus Alone (1959). In 1960, while becoming increasing ill with Parkinson's disease, Peake wrote his notes imagining the story's continuation.
According to The Telegraph, Vintage, which currently publishes the Gormenghast series, and three other publishers are interested in the new title.
If published, Titus Awakes will follow a current trend of posthumous publications. Michael Crichton's final thriller, written by another author based on extensive notes the author kept, is due out in 2010, as are several English translations of works by late Chilean author Roberto Bolaño. The final title in Stieg Larsson's Millennium trilogy is making its way to US shelves, and David Foster Wallace's unfinished novel The Pale King, which the author was working on at the time of his death, is set to be published in 2011.