‘Sherlock’ team adapting Cold War magic thriller ‘The Warlock Effect’ for TV

The makers of Sherlock have revealed their next project!

Hartswood Films has nabbed the rights to adapt Jeremy Dyson and Andy Nyman‘s new novel The Warlock Effect.

Published today, the Cold War magic thriller has been receiving brilliant reviews, with The Sunday Times naming it their ‘Thriller of the Month.’

The book is set in 1950s London and is described by its publisher as “a highly entertaining, fiendishly clever thriller,” offering “a twist-filled, rollicking adventure.”

If you’ve not heard of Hartswood Films, you’ll be familiar with their work.

As well as the BBC’s hit Sherlock series, they’re the production company behind HBO’s The Time Traveler’s Wife, Amazon’s The Devil’s Hour, and Netflix’s Dracula.

Hartswood beat off bids from seven rival production companies to option the Warlock Effect rights, reports Deadline.

Keeping up the Hartswood tradition of brazen nepotism (Sherlock writer Steven Moffat cast his own son in last year’s Inside Man, while Martin Freeman‘s real-life partner Amanda Abington landed the role of John Watson’s wife Mary in the third season of Sherlock), there’s a Sherlock connection here too.

Author Jeremy Dyson is best known for his work on ’90s comedy series The League of Gentlemen, which starred none other than Mark Gatiss, co-creator of Sherlock (who famously also cast himself as Moriarty in that series!)

Although no casting details have yet been announced, we fully expect Gatiss to appear in The Warlock Effect!

“This book is a rollercoaster,” said Hartswood Films executive producer Sue Vertue. “A gorgeous period setting in the ‘50s with a very different kind of hero – plus magic and espionage and cliffhanger after cliffhanger. We couldn’t put it down – and when we make it, audiences won’t be able to switch it off.”

Jeremy Dyson and Andy Nyman will be writing the scripts for the TV adaptation of The Warlock Effect.

The official synopsis for the novel reads: “As a boy, Ludvik Weinschenk fled Nazi Germany to England with a pack of playing cards and three tricks to his name.

“Twelve years later, in 1950s London, having risen through the ranks of concert parties, night clubs and variety theatres, Ludvik – or Louis Warlock as he is now known – is the most famous magician in Britain.

“But after his talent for deception attracts the attention of the British secret service, Louis is thrown into the perilous world of espionage and finds himself sent across Europe with a dangerous mission to fulfil.

“When he comes face to face with a nemesis whose cunning rivals his own, Louis will need to use every trick in the book – or risk the most terrible consequences, both for the country and for himself.”

There’s no news yet on which broadcaster will be airing The Warlock Effect, but it’s expected to premiere in 2024 or 2025.

This project is unrelated to Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch‘s upcoming movie War Magician.

Based on the book by David Fisher, the film will tell the true story of a British illusionist who used magic to defeat Erwin Rommel during the Second World War.

The complete Sherlock box set is available on DVD on Amazon.