With Downton Abbey in its sixth and final season, the series' creator Julian Fellowes has embarked on a new venture that merges the episodic nature of the PBS Masterpiece show with the written word. Belgravia, Fellows' next project, will be a serialized novel in the tradition of authors like Charles Dickens, with each chapter delivered on a weekly basis to readers via tablet app.
"To marry the traditions of the Victorian novel to modern technology, allowing the reader, or listener, an involvement with the characters and the background of the story and the world in which it takes place, that would not have been possible until now, and yet to preserve within that the strongest traditions of storytelling, seems to me a marvelous goal and a real adventure," Fellowes said in a statement.
The serialized novel's official site describes Belgravia as "the story of a secret. A secret that unravels behind the porticoed doors of London's grandest postcode. The story behind this secret will be revealed in weekly installments complete with twists and turns and cliff-hanger endings, all delivered to your mobile, tablet or desktop via a new app. You can read it, listen to it or switch between the two." According to the New York Times, the app will also boast an audio version, music, character portraits, family trees and more.
While Downton Abbey and Fellowes' Gosford Park take place in the first half of the 20th century, Belgravia will transport readers to 1840s London prior to the Battle of Waterloo. The introductory chapter will arrive in early April, around the time Downton Abbey concludes its PBS run; the series already concluded in the U.K. with the broadcast of its finale on Christmas. Each chapter will cost $1.99, while the full 11-episode novel will cost $13.99. For those who prefer actual books to tablets, the hardcover Belgravia will publish in June.