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‘Downton Abbey’ Producer Adapting Robert Harris Novel ‘The Second Sleep’ for TV

Downton Abbey” producer Carnival Films has snagged the rights to “The Second Sleep,” the upcoming novel from “Fatherland” author Robert Harris.

The thriller will be published by Penguin Random House imprint Hutchinson in September. It will follow young priest, Christopher Fairfax, who arrives in a remote English village to conduct the funeral of his predecessor. The land around is strewn with coins, fragments of glass and human bones, which the old parson used to collect. The question for Fairfax is did he discover something kept secret for centuries?

Bill Gallagher (“Jamestown”) will handle the adaptation, which NBCUniversal-owned Carnival said it is planning as a long-running series.

Carnival boss Gareth Neame said: “Robert Harris’ ‘The Second Sleep’ is an extraordinary work in its vision and originality, creating a rich world that speaks directly to our own. We are delighted to be working with Bill Gallagher again, whose inventiveness and sensitivity whilst telling stories in meticulously realized settings makes him the perfect writer for this project.”

“The television series will both dramatize my novel and take it one step further, exploring my imaginary world beyond the confines of my story,” Harris said. “I have great admiration for the work of Bill and Gareth, and I’m very much looking forward to working with them on this unique venture.”

Neame and Nigel Marchant (“Downton Abbey) will serve as executive producers, alongside Harris and Gallagher. No platform or broadcaster is yet attached. NBCUniversal International Distribution will handle international sales.

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