'Extreme adventure' promised in sequence publisher says will combine best of Bond, Bourne and Indiana Jones
A publisher is paying more than £1m for a series of thrillers by Bear Grylls starring one Dan Ranger, an "ex-SAS, ecologist and adventurer extraordinaire" who, Grylls is promising, will combine the "best of Bond, Bourne and Indiana Jones".
Orion said on Monday that it had paid "a healthy seven-figure sum" for the Dan Ranger series, which the television personality, survival expert and former SAS soldier Grylls will write in collaboration with former war reporter and thriller author Damien Lewis. The first book in the series, Ghost Flight – Grylls' first venture into novel writing – will be published next May. Each title will see its hero "embark upon a ground-breaking expedition – one with quest-like, historical detective overtones – working out of his corporate and charitable headquarters aboard the MV Global Challenger".
"In each, Ranger will lead a team of like-minded individuals on the journey of a lifetime, to investigate a compelling mystery anchored in the past. Each book will have a strong ecological bent, something Bear Grylls feels passionately about," said Orion, promising that the books would also feature "gritty survival" and "extreme outdoor adventure".
"This series of novels will combine the best of Bond, Bourne and Indiana Jones in one gripping series of books," promised Grylls. "We take the former SF soldier Dan Ranger into the murky depths of covert modern-day Nazism, gritty survival and the Special Forces brotherhood in a way we have never seen before. Hold tight for the adventure!"
Grylls is already the author of a bestselling memoir, Mud, Sweat and Tears, and 14 other books, including titles for children. In his Mission: Survival, Gold of the Gods – "Location: The Colombian Jungle; Dangers: Snakes; starvation; howler monkeys" – one Beck Granger "is lost in the jungle with no food, no compass, and no hope of rescue. But Beck is no ordinary teenager – he's the world's youngest survival expert. If anyone can make it out alive, he can."
Orion said that Grylls' background of survival and military training "underpins the plot" in the Dan Ranger series, and that Grylls also "has an extraordinary family link through his late grandfather Brigadier Ted Grylls to the post-Nazi subject matter which inspires the books in the Ranger series". Publisher Jon Wood compared the titles to Clive Cussler and Robert Ludlum's bestselling thrillers, saying that Ghost Flight reminded him "of the best" of the two authors.
The crime and thriller market was worth almost £97m in 2013, according to book sales monitor Nielsen Bookscan – more than science fiction and fantasy (£34m), romance (£20m) and historical fiction (£18.5m). Recent high-profile deals for new thrillers include a six-figure payout for psychological thriller The Bones of You by Debbie Howells, and an auction – won by Amazon Publishing – for The Thief Taker by Cath Quinn, reported the Bookseller.
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