Fox 2000 hot for ‘Icemark’

25,000 hardback books sold in U.K.

LONDON — Fox 2000 has optioned Stuart Hill’s fantasy bestseller “The Cry of the Icemark,” with Courtney Pledger and Sarah Radclyffe of London-based Jigsaw Films attached to produce.

Book, which has sold 25,000 hardback copies since its U.K. publication a month ago, will be launched Stateside in April via Scholastic.

Set in a mythic, quasi-Nordic prehistory, story concerns a teenage queen fighting to save her homeland from a powerful invading army. She and her best friend, a witch’s son, must bring together an alliance of werewolves, vampires and talking snow leopards to combat the invaders.

Barry Cunningham, the book’s U.K. publisher, will act as executive producer via his Chicken House Entertainment arm, which he set up last year to manage the film and TV rights of his authors.

Cunningham, best known as the publisher who discovered J.K. Rowling, has a first-look deal with New Line, with whom he is developing a movie version of Cornelia Funke’s novel “Inkheart.”

“The Cry of the Icemark,” Hill’s debut novel, was brought to Fox by youth audience scout Riley Ellis. Deal was negotiated for Chicken House by Stephen Moore at the Paul Kohner Agency in Los Angeles.

Fox 2000 prexy Elizabeth Gabler and exec VP of production Carla Hacken are overseeing the project.

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