Burnell tome is the first in a planned series of six books

LONDON — New Line Cinema has hired British novelist Mark Burnell to adapt his thriller “The Rhythm Section” for the bigscreen.

“The Rhythm Section,” published in 1999, is the first in a planned series of six books (the fourth is due out this fall) about femme assassin Stephanie Patrick.

New Line exec veep Mark Ordesky, shepherding the project with senior veep of European production Ileen Maisel, describes it as “a female ‘Bourne Identity.’ ”

“Rhythm Section” follows Patrick as she looks into a mysterious air crash that took the lives of her parents and brother.

“What’s exciting is not just launching this franchise, but also the talent discovery of Mark Burnell,” Ordesky says. “We really feel he’s someone who’s going to develop into something quite extraordinary.”

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