New Line Cinema has made a preemptive acquisition of “The Thirteenth Hour,” a time-travel novel by Richard Doetsch.

Michael De Luca will produce the film, one of his first New Line projects since leaving his post as production prexy eight years ago and turning down a rich pre-negotiated deal to produce films there.

Doetsch previously wrote bestseller “The Thieves of Heaven,” which is being developed at Fox 2000. His new novel will be auctioned shortly to publishers by lit agent Cynthia Manson.

Described as a cross between “The Bourne Identity” and “The Time Traveler’s Wife,” tome follows a man accused of brutally murdering his wife who is given a chance to save her by going back in time, in one-hour increments. He puts together clues to figure out not only who killed her but why.

“It has a great cinematic structure that unfolds in reverse,” De Luca said. Asked if he had any trepidations about time-traveling back to his old stomping grounds, De Luca said, “It’s my first encounter with the new New Line, but I’m very comfortable there. It’s familiar territory for me.”

De Luca exec Alissa Phillips will be executive producer.

De Luca just wrapped the Relativity-financed, Jim Sheridan-directed “Brothers,” which MGM releases in December; Tobey Maguire, Jake Gyllenhaal and Natalie Portman star. At Universal, he’s producing “Dracula Year Zero,” with Alex Proyas directing, and at Columbia he’s producing, with Rachael Horovitz, an adaptation of the Michael Lewis baseball book “Moneyball.”

IPG brokered the New Line deal.