Jeffrey Archer's Kane and Abel trilogy to be adapted for TV

Sony and production company behind hit Netflix series sign up to retell classics

Jeffrey Archer released the first Kane and Abel title in 1977. Farooq Salik / Motivate
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Jeffrey Archer's Kane and Abel book trilogy will be adapted for television as a major new series by Sony Television.

The three best-selling novels – Kane and Abel, The Prodigal Daughter and Shall We Tell the President? – about two men obsessed with destroying each other and their descendants, were written by Archer between 1977 and 1982.

The TV series will be adapted by Eleven, the producers of Netflix series Sex Education and Ten Pound Poms, as well as Sony Television International.

The first book tells the story of two men, one Polish, an illegitimate son of a baron, the other rich and privileged from a wealthy Boston banking family.

Born on the same day on opposite sides of the world, their paths cross only once in their ruthless bids to build a fortune, but what follows is an epic story of revenge that spans 60 years.

Linked by an all-consuming hatred after one catastrophic incident, the two patriarchs blindly commit their lives to destroying one another's empires.

It is only when Abel's strong-willed daughter Florentyna meets Kane's son Richard that the enemies start to understand their feud is going to come at great personal cost.

The series will be written by His Dark Materials' writer Sarah Quintrell and executive produced by Joel Wilson and Jamie Campbell for Eleven, and James Baker and James Archer for The Jeffrey Archer Company.

Former UK MP Lord Archer said: "I am thrilled to be working with Sony, Joel and the Eleven Productions team, and Sarah, to reimagine the Kane and Abel Trilogy for a new TV series."

Quintrell added: "It's exciting to be adapting Jeffrey's epic and extraordinary Kane and Abel trilogy. The big themes of power, privilege, pride, love and loss, exploring what man does to man and the ramifications of our behaviour across generations, feel incredibly timely.

"The bold storytelling and wonderful twists and hooks meant I couldn't put the novels down. It's a writer's dream to adapt such a rollercoaster ride, especially alongside Joel, Sophie and the brilliant team at Eleven."

Kane and Abel is one of the best-selling books in the world and has sold 37 million copies; it is in its 132nd reprint.

The book was previously adapted into a mini-series in 1985, starring Peter Strauss as Abel Rosnovski and Sam Neill as William Kane.

There have also been two Indian adaptations, as well as a Hindi movie based on the book.

Wilson said: "Sarah is the most wonderful writer.

"The combination of Sarah and Jeffrey's incredibly compelling trilogy is a deeply fascinating one and I can't wait to find a broadcaster who shares our vision for the long-running series we have in mind."

Updated: October 10, 2023, 6:23 AM