EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros won a multiple studio bidding battle for screen rights to an upcoming thriller novel by The Breach author Patrick Lee. Justin Lin is attached to direct and produce with Michael De Luca.

The untitled action thriller was just auctioned in a big pre-emptive, three-book deal that will be published next winter by Macmillan. The book is the first of a series featuring an ex-special operative named Sam Dryden. In the character-driven thriller, Dryden runs into a mysterious young girl who is not quite what she seems, and he embarks on a journey to keep her safe from a powerful government agent intent on hunting her down.

This comes as Lin puts the finishing touches on Fast & Furious 6 for Universal, which he directed and produced. That marks his fourth turn in the high-octane action series he helped revive, and Lin is now looking for other films to do through his Barnstorm Pictures banner. Barnstorm president of production Elaine Chin is also producing with Pouya Shahbazian, who manages the author.

Lin has several projects in development, and while he closed the door on directing new installments of The Terminator when he stepped out of that project, he has remained involved as exec producer on a reboot of the Highlander series, and that remains a project that intrigues him. He’s also developing the Barnstorm-produced Subdivision at Universal, as well as the L.A. Riots project at Imagine. He’s also attached to direct the Kamala Films’ adaptation of Lone Wolf And Cub and an adaptation of David Henry Hwang comic play Chinglish. De Luca, meanwhile, is producing Fifty Shades Of Grey at Universal with Dana Brunetti, and with Brunetti and Scott Rudin he produced the Paul Greengrass-directed Captain Phillips with Tom Hanks starring.

Lin is repped by CAA, manager Dana O’Keefe of Cinetic Media and attorney John Sloss. Emile Gladstone of ICM Partners brokered the film package and attorney Steve Younger repped the book to film deal on behalf of Janet Reid of Fine Print Literary Management.

Lee’s first novel, The Breach, is being developed by producers Lorenzo di Bonaventura and David Goyer, with Justin Rhodes adapting.