C.L. Polk’s award-winning Kingston Cycle—Witchmark, Stormsong, and Soulstar—is coming to television! 1212 Entertainment has acquired the rights to the series, and has tapped Alyssa Clark (Teen Wolf, Dominion, Servant, The 100) to pen the screenplay.
Polk’s debut novel, Witchmark won the World Fantasy Award for Best Novel in 2019, and was a finalist for that year’s Aurora, Locus, Nebula, and Lambda awards.
Witchmark is set in Aeland, an alternative world much like England at the start of the 20th century, where magic is practiced by only the upper tiers of society. The book focuses on military surgeon Dr. Miles Singer, who’s been treating the veterans of a recent war. When a stranger brings him a patient who’s been fatally poisoned, Miles inadvertently gives up a closely-held secret: his talents as a physician come from his magical healing abilities.
He has good reason to hide those abilities: he’s on the run from his family, who wanted to use him as a sort of magical power source for his sister, Grace. Now exposed, Miles risks his freedom to investigate his patient’s murder with the stranger, Tristan Hunter; as they work to solve the case—and figure out their feelings for one another—they stumble on secrets that could change their nation forever.
In Stormsong and Soulstar, Polk explores the consequences of the nation’s secrets coming to light, at both the personal and political levels.
In a statement, Polk noted that the adaptation is a “dream come true.”
I am delighted by the prospect of watching the story of Kingston unfold one episode at a time. I’m excited by this team’s vision and I’m looking forward to every minute of it.”
In addition to Clark’s work developing and writing the project, 1212 Entertainment’s Roberto Grande and Joshua Long will serve as producers. The company is responsible for 2019’s Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark, and recently optioned Renee Ahdieh’s The Wrath and the Dawn, Erin A. Craig’s The House of Salt and Sorrows, and Sega’s video game Yakuza.
Speaking with Tor.com, Grande explained that he’s an avid fan of fantasy literature; he had picked up Witchmark on the recommendation of a friend, and loved it. Around the same time, he says, they discovered that Clark was a fan when one of their managers was looking for some audiobook recommendations.
Grande notes that there were two big parts of the series that really captured him. Polk “does an amazing job of exploring social and family dynamics, and in the context of the Kingston Cycle, there’s the almost tyrannical control built on dynasties, not merit. And then on the character level, just from book to book, tracking these love stories that evolve through huge obstacles.”
In particular, Grande praised Polk’s characters, and that while it’s a world filled with magic and mysteries, his intention is to spend the time with the characters. “I love Miles and Tristan’s relationship, and how Miles and his sister’s relationship evolves. Robin is one of my favorites, and really gets her time in the third book.”
Grande further noted that the time is ripe for an adaptation of the Kingston Cycle because it’s an “exploration of social stratification and division; the perpetuation of narratives that falsely divide us” that makes them keenly relevant to viewers.
The series is currently in development, and 1212 Entertainment hasn’t set a date, cast, or crew as of yet.