Marlon James’s Next Book Will Be an ‘African Game of Thrones

Marlon James. Photo: Eamonn M. McCormack/Getty Images

How do you follow up a novel like A Brief History of Seven Killings, the Booker Prize–winning exploration of political and criminal violence in the Jamaican diaspora? If you're Marlon James, you head straight to the fantasy aisle: The author tells Man of the World magazine he's going to "geek the fuck out" and create his own fantasy series, kicking off with a book called Black Leopard, Red Wolf, which he describes as "an African Game of Thrones." As James puts it, "I realized how sick and tired I was of arguing about whether there should be a black hobbit in Lord of the Rings. African folklore is just as rich, and just as perverse as that shit. We have witches, we have demons, we have goblins, and mad kings. We have stories of royal succession that would put Wolf Hall to shame. We beat the Tudors two times over."

But be warned, James is not using the word geek lightly; this thing is going to be seriously nerdy. "One hundred pages describing a village? Hell yeah," he promises. "A big appendix on magic techniques? Of course I’m gonna do it. Two hundred pages on a mysterious dwarf race that lives underground? Fuck yes." Get your d20 ready — this world is going to inspire one hell of a role-playing game someday.