Di Bonaventura game for 'Deception'

Paramount Pictures has optioned “The Rules of Deception,” the first of a two-novel series by Christopher Reich. Lorenzo di Bonaventura will produce.

Deal puts the studio back in business with Reich, whose books “The Patriot’s Club” and “The Devil’s Banker” were optioned several years ago for C/W partners Tom Cruise and Paula Wagner. Both titles traveled with the producers as they moved off the lot and took over United Artists.

Reich is a former investment banker who worked in Switzerland before turning his hand to writing financial thrillers. After several successes, he decided to change course; he wanted to write an espionage series in the flavor of “Bourne Identity” author Robert Ludlum. “The Rules of Deception” sold to Doubleday in a bidding battle, with the publisher paying seven figures for North American rights.

Book will be published in summer 2008.

Story follows a physician for Doctors Without Borders who shares an addiction to extreme sports with his wife. When they hike in the Swiss Alps, she falls into an inaccessible ravine. The doctor later receives a letter addressed to his wife. The contents put him in the center of a conspiracy that could result in nuclear war in the Middle East. Reich is already writing the follow-up, “Rules of Vengeance.”

Deal activity started in Par’s New York office, which got an early look at the book and matched it with di Bonaventura. The producer has a strong relationship with Reich’s lit agent, Richard Pine: He turned author James Siegel’s “Derailed” into a film, with another, “Deceit,” in development at Universal.

Book was taken off the table preemptively by Paramount in a six-figure deal with a high-six-figure purchase price if the film gets made.

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