EXCLUSIVE Ballantine Books has acquired world English rights to Into The Dark, a book that the publisher says will, for the first time, chronicle last summer’s rescue of the Wild Boars soccer team from a flooded Thai cave in the actual words of everyone directly involved.

Susanna Porter is Ballantine’s acquiring editor, and journalist, author and frequent TV pundit Ellis Henican will serve as author along with the principals telling their stories.

Subtitled The Dramatic Story of the Thai Cave Rescue, the book uses alternating first-person accounts to recount how the ordeal played out day by day. Included in the narrative are divers Dr. Craig Challen and Dr. Richard Harris, Wild Boars coach Ekkapol Chantawong and each of the boys on the team.

Ballantine says Universal Pictures has optioned feature film rights to Into The Dark. 

Ballantine says the Into The Dark book is the only account to feature the actual words and “voices” of every significant player in the real-life drama.

Ballantine Books acquired the rights from Creative Artists Agency. Ballantine is a division of Penguin Random House.

The soccer team and its 25-year-old coach were trapped by monsoon storm waters in the underground cave for 17 days last June and July. The players were between the ages of 11 and 17, and the drama unfolded in Thailand’s Tham Luang Nang Non cave. The two Australian divers rescued the boys and their coach one-by-one as the world watched. One Thai ex-navy diver died after delivering air tanks to the boys.

In September, Universal announced it had acquired the life rights of the divers and survivors and that Michael De Luca would produce a cave rescue feature for his eponymous production company, alongside Dana Brunetti for his newly launched Cavalry Media banner.