EXCLUSIVE: Historical mystery book trilogy Morbus Dei, by Bastian Zach and Matthias Bauer, has been acquired by G5 Fiction, a division of Germany’s ZDF Enterprises. The bestselling thrillers will be developed as an English-language TV series by G5’s Uwe Kersken who will produce with Corinna Eich of Bavaria Fernsehproduktion. With a screenplay by Zach and Bauer, the project is currently out to U.S. co-production partners.
Morbus Dei was originally published by Austrian house Haymon Verlag, beginning in 2010 and with all three books translated into English in 2015. The story focuses on Johann and Elisabeth, who are threatened by a strange disease which endangers the whole of the Habsburg Empire at the beginning of the 18th century. In a fight for their love, they head from remote, snowy villages in the Alps through secret abbeys all the way to Inquisition-run Vienna and the War of the Spanish Succession.
Screenwriters and novelists Zach and Bauer previously penned 2011 horror pic One Way Trip 3D and 2014’s Northmen: A Viking Saga which starred Ed Skrein and Ryan Kwanten and was sold in over 50 countries. They will publish their latest book, Blood Of The Picts, via Heyne/Random House.
Bauer says the novels “are written in a very visual style, and right from the beginning, since the successful release of the first book, many readers said that the story is just perfect for being made into a film.”
Producers Eich and Kersken add, “During a period, when the entire world is still under the influence of the Inquisition, Europe is being threatened by an uncanny disease deriving from the Tyrolean Alps. A young couple from a mountain village and two episcopal ambassadors from Vienna serve as a last resort. The three novels from Zach/Bauer offer the unique chance to connect profound European History as well as mystery-horror with the archaic world of the Alps during the 18th century.”
Following the international success of RTL’s Deutschland 83, this is a hot time for TV dramas out of Germany. G5 Fiction was launched in 2014 to develop, finance, produce and distribute high-end original series and TV Movies with German and international market potential.
The deal was brokered by manager Jason Leibovitch, of Leibo Management for Zach, Bauer and Haymon Verlag.