Ridley Scott pays £2m for film rights to British author's fantasy novel

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The Independent Culture

A British book for children, set 6,000 years ago, about a boy who tries to rid the world of an evil demon with only a wolf cub for company, is to be made into a Hollywood film produced by Sir Ridley Scott.

A British book for children, set 6,000 years ago, about a boy who tries to rid the world of an evil demon with only a wolf cub for company, is to be made into a Hollywood film produced by Sir Ridley Scott.

Michelle Paver, the Wimbledon-based author, has signed a $4m (£2.1m) deal with the Fox film studio for Scott's company, Scott Free, to develop her book Wolf Brother and five planned sequels. The series will be called The Chronicles of Ancient Darkness.

Scott, whose films as director include Gladiator, Blade Runner and Alien, said: " Wolf Brother is an enchanting book. Michelle has created a world that we have not seen before in any previous film."

The book tells the story of 12-year-old Torak, who lives in a forest peopled by hunter-gatherers. He sets out to conquer an evil spirit living in the body of a bear, which has killed his father.

Since it was published in 2004, Wolf Brother has sold more than 110,000 copies in hardback, and has earned £5m in rights sales in 31 countries. It is due to be published in the United States next month.

Paver said: "Ridley Scott is an ideal fit. He really gets the world that I've tried to create. All of his great films are characterised by the fact that he creates a world - for example, the world of the future in Blade Runner."

Casting for the first feature film has not yet begun, but Paver would like Sir Ian McKellen, who recently recorded the audio-book version of Wolf Brother, to play the part of a character called The Walker.

The author, who is now working on the second book in the series, Spirit Walker, says she has been carrying the story around with her since she was a child. She wrote a prototype as a student of biochemistry at Oxford University, but then spent 13 years working as an intellectual property lawyer in London. Finally, she quit her regular salary to take up writing and cut her authorial teeth on historical novels.

Comparisons with J K Rowling - whose Harry Potter books have been turned intoa Hollywood series - are being made but, while Paver finds such parallels "flattering", she insists that Wolf Brother is "very different".

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