Vikings creator Michael Hirst to write new historical series

Posted Filed under

The Ibis Trilogy adaptation will shine a lens on Britain, India and China’s past narcotics trading…

Vikings mastermind Michael Hirst is to write a brand new series based on the Ibis trilogy of books – “Sea of Poppies,” “River of Smoke,” and “Flood of Fire” – by Amitav Ghosh.

The bestselling 19th century-set novels take place in Asia and depict “the lives of vividly-drawn characters against the backdrop of the narcotics trade between Britain, India and China and including the Opium Wars.”

Variety confirms that Shekhar Kapur (Elizabeth) will direct the series. Hirst previously worked with Kapur on Elizabeth, and his Vikings cohort Justin Pollard has also signed up for the Ibis series as its historical consultant and story editor.

“Amitav Ghosh’s books brilliantly bring out the vast epic and emotional tale of opium, from its beginnings in India where it is grown and onto China where it is pushed by drug lords. The story also follows the journeys of indentured labour from India to colonies around the world and tells the intriguing tales of people from India, America and China at a time when modern history was being formed,” said Kapur.

“Since Abhishek brought The Ibis Trilogy to our attention over a year ago, it’s been a joy to bring together a talented and passionate team – to supercharge this high-end, multi-layered journey,” said Lars Blomgren, head of scripted for EMEA at Endemol Shine Group, who are behind the series. “Michael Hirst has a distinctive writing style which appeals to a contemporary audience – and this paired with Shekhar’s vision – puts us in an excellent position to take a fully developed package to the global market in the new year.”