Namina Forna’s YA fantasy novel The Gilded Ones just came out this week, and it’s already on the way to a screen near you: Deadline reports that the author and screenwriter is set to adapt the first novel in her Deathless trilogy for the production company Makeready. Lovecraft Country showrunner Misha Green is among the producers for the the film.
Here’s the publisher’s summary of the novel:
Sixteen-year-old Deka lives in fear and anticipation of the blood ceremony that will determine whether she will become a member of her village. Already different from everyone else because of her unnatural intuition, Deka prays for red blood so she can finally feel like she belongs.
But on the day of the ceremony, her blood runs gold, the color of impurity—and Deka knows she will face a consequence worse than death.
Then a mysterious woman comes to her with a choice: stay in the village and submit to her fate, or leave to fight for the emperor in an army of girls just like her. They are called alaki—near-immortals with rare gifts. And they are the only ones who can stop the empire’s greatest threat.
Knowing the dangers that lie ahead yet yearning for acceptance, Deka decides to leave the only life she’s ever known. But as she journeys to the capital to train for the biggest battle of her life, she will discover that the great walled city holds many surprises. Nothing and no one are quite what they seem to be—not even Deka herself.
In an interview with Refinery 29, Forna—who was born in Sierra Leone and moved to the US when she was 9 years old—talked about the inspiration for the novel: “The Gilded Ones is a book of my anger about being a woman. … It’s just this idea that women, we are seen as objects. It doesn’t matter where in the world we are.” On Twitter, she described her novel as “basically imagines what would happen if the Dora Milaje from Black Panther were stuck in The Handmaid’s Tale and decided they weren’t going to take it anymore.”
It’s too early yet to have any news on casting or production, but if you’re intrigued, why not read an excerpt from The Gilded Ones?