An interview with the author on the new series & TV rights... Knight's Ransom by Jeff Wheeler (Interview & Review) #fantasybooks #firstargentines #epicfantasy #fantasyreader #KnightsRansom #JeffWheeler @lindsaylwallace

Today I'm excited to share an interview with Jeff Wheeler, whose Kingfountain series was optioned for television with Nucleus Media Rights and Morgan Gendel (Star Trek Next GenerationDresden files, and Law & Order). This new release that starts a new series is based in the same fantasy world but years earlier, so new and old fans will be able to dive right in! Read the interview and my review below...

Knight's Ransom
(The First Argentines #1)
By Jeff Wheeler
Adult Epic Fantasy
Paperback, Audiobook & ebook, 432 Pages
January 26, 2021 by 47North


Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown. A brutal war of succession has plunged the court of Kingfountain into a power struggle between a charitable king who took the crown unlawfully and his ambitious rival, Devon Argentine. The balance of power between the two men hinges on the fate of a young boy ensnared in this courtly intrigue. A boy befittingly nicknamed Ransom. 

When the Argentine family finally rules, Ransom must make his own way in the world. Opportunities open and shut before him as he journeys along the path to knighthood, blind to a shadowy conspiracy of jealousy and revenge. Securing his place will not be easy, nor will winning the affection of Lady Claire de Murrow, a fiery young heiress from an unpredictably mad kingdom. 

Ransom interrupts an abduction plot targeting the Queen of Ceredigion and earns a position in service to her son, the firstborn of the new Argentine dynasty. But conflict and treachery threaten the family, and Ransom must also come to understand and hone his burgeoning powers—abilities that involve more than his mastery with a blade and that make him as much a target as his lord. 

KNIGHT’S RANSOM kicks off an epic new Arthurian-inspired fantasy series perfect for fans who love the writing of fantasy greats such as Brandon Sanderson, Robin Hobb, and Megan Whalen Turner.

(Affiliate links included.)


KNIGHT’S RANSOM is in the same world as your Kingfountain books. What should readers new to your books and this series know?

When the idea came to write this series, I decided to make it so far back in the history of Kingfountain that having read the previous books wouldn’t be necessary to enjoy it. There are easter eggs that fans will pick up, but those are special treats. Even with the setting being the same, the political landscape is different as are many of the borders. We even did a brand new map to give it an older look and feel. In the previous series, readers were slowly introduced to the magic system, called the Fountain, and they’ll get the same treatment in Knight’s Ransom. In this story, the hero doesn’t have a mentor who teaches him about the magic of the world. He has to figure it out on his own.

What should fans of the Kingfountain books look forward to in this new series?

I think they are going to love the dynamic between Ransom and Claire. It may feel familiar to them, like Owen and Evie, but trust me – they’re both very different. In this series they will also get to visit places they haven’t been before, like the Occitanian capital of Pree and the Kingdom of Legault. Both places are very significant in this story. But there are familiar ones too, like the beach of sea glass in Brythonica and, of course, the palace of Kingfountain.

Who is your favorite character so far in the new series, if you can have favorites?

Probably Claire de Murrow, she was so fun to write! In nearly all of my books, I introduce chapters with little quote snippets written by different people. It’s a device I like to use to help explain information to readers gradually instead of dumping it all at once. For this series, Claire is the author of those tidbits and so the reader gets to know what’s going on inside her head. She becomes another narrator, with her own perspective. It was such a delight to offer that point of view. And she’s so funny too.

What was the process like to have the Kingfountain series picked up for television?

It really came out of left field and surprised me. I don’t have an agent, so no one was actively trying to pitch the series to studios. It turns out that a screenwriter at Nucleus Media Rights was asked for recommendations for family-friend fantasy authors that the company might approach. He was a fan of my books and so recommended me to them and then they asked him to reach out to me. You can imagine I was pretty skeptical at first. Most of the times I got approached for film or TV rights, it never got past hello. This was different. I had a meeting with Bruno Zarka, the CEO, and we talked about my writing. Then he read The Queen’s Poisoner (listened to it actually), and fell in love with the story. We discussed the rights he offered with my attorney and everything looked good. I’ve enjoyed the journey and getting to know better an amazing lead writer as well as the director, who has an Academy award. I’m hoping we’ll have more to announce early this year.

What have you found to be most surprising, challenging and rewarding about the upcoming television series?

The most surprising thing, I can’t share yet because it hasn’t happened yet, but if it does, I will literally squeal. As for challenges, there are always plenty. When you publish a book, the initial investment for a publisher is a lot smaller than what you need for a studio, so there are a lot of hurdles along the way. Some novels get optioned but then they languish for months or years before the studio is ready to start working on them. Thankfully, that hasn’t been the case for me so far. We have some of the key players already committed to the project—we just need to pitch it to a network where the show will be picked up. Fingers crossed that this happens soon! As for rewarding, I’ve already learned a lot about the business and have really enjoyed making professional relationships with people in the industry and learning from them, first-hand, how things work. I ask a lot of questions and they’re very patient with me. But for me, I think the most rewarding moment will come when I can sit down and binge-watch the first season with my family and see characters which only existed in my imagination come to life on a screen.

How do you envision the story coming alive on TV and what are you most excited about seeing played out on the screen?

For me it’s the characters even more than the setting, although I’m excited for that too. Costumes, acting, props—all of that will need to come together and I think we have an experienced and professional team who can pull it off. There are specific actors who I hope we get for the series but others I’m looking forward to discovering during the casting process. I may or may not geek out a little when I get to meet Ankarette in full costume. Although I might be careful if she offers me something to drink. And finding two children to play Owen and Evie will be challenging but super fun. The range of ages and motivations for these characters will really make this an amazing story to follow.

What other projects do you have in the works that you can share about?

I’m about to pitch a new series to my publisher 47North, so I can’t officially announce anything yet. I recently turned in the final book of The First Argentines series and my editor e-mailed me that it made her cry (which is a good thing! The ending made me cry too!) and she’s anxious to hear about the new series I’m going to start writing coming in 2022. For now, I’m perfectly excited about fans reading Knight’s Ransom when it comes out. I started writing it before Covid shut everything down and it’s been a rollercoaster since.

Is there anything else you’d like readers to know?

If I can, I’d like to put to rest any concerns that this new series is just a regurgitation of old plots and characters. I’ve seen authors do that when they try to keep milking an idea for more material and after so many books, they all start to feel the same. I always try to push myself and flip things around and try to do something I haven’t done before. I really tried to make Knight’s Ransom and its sequels tell a different story and put challenges in front of my characters that I haven’t done before. I think having unexpected twists and turns really delights readers, makes them keep guessing—sometimes right, sometimes way off. I think that I’ve pulled this off again with this series. I hope new readers will give it a shot. Even if you’ve never read one of my books before, this is a good place to just dive right in.

My Review

KNIGHT'S RANSOM is a story set in an Arthurian fantasy world with likable characters and an engaging plot. The author does a fabulous job of slowly unravelling this story so both old and new fans are pulled right in and easily fall in love with these characters. Definitely recommended to fantasy fans!

This story reminded me so much of some older classics, like Robin Hood by Paul Creswich, The Black Arrow by Robert Louis Stevenson and The Boy's King Arthur by Sidney Lanier. It's honestly one of the best compliments I can give. The time period is comparable and the writing is also paced similarly, but much less wordy and easier to read. 

This first book in the series is very character driven and I loved these characters! Marshall or "Ransom" begins the story as a young boy, as does Claire who has journal entries at the beginning of each chapter. It was fun to see them both grow up and come into their own. At the end they have both endured great loss, challenges and have had to come to terms with different futures than what they had originally hoped for. Their journeys are both continuing on as there are two more books in the series and this was really just the start.

The plot itself is intriguing from beginning to end. There is this mysterious magic that the reader learns about right along with the characters. Ransom still has a ways to go before he understands it and what his final role will be. There are different villains and I was never quite sure who Ransom should be loyal to. It is very much like a Medieval time period where lords and ladies are vying for favors and power plays, and where battle is constant even amongst families. I'm definitely curious to see where the story goes next, especially as Ransom is an easy hero to cheer on. May can't come too soon with book two!

In the end, was it what I wished for? I thoroughly enjoyed reading this and plan on picking up the second and third books as soon as they release. There is so much I want to know about the magical system, if one country will be able to defend itself against another, if these characters will find their happily-ever-afters (Ransom so deserves some happiness!). If you enjoy sweeping fantasy that is character driven, with plenty of action and a sweet romance, then definitely grab this one!

Content: Some war violence (not too gory) and innuendo, but would consider this clean.
Source: I received a complimentary copy from the publicist, which did not require a positive review. All opinions are my own.

Other Books in the Series

(Linked to Amazon affiliate links.)

About the Author

Jeff Wheeler is the author of more than 30 epic-fantasy novels that have sold more than four million copies worldwide and earned him status as a Wall Street Journal bestselling author. Wheeler took an early retirement from his career at Intel in 2014 to pursue writing full-time.

Growing up in Silicon Valley, Wheeler fell in love with the work of Terry Brooks and decided that he wanted to create stories that inspired people, just as Brooks’ novels did for him. His writing journey began early on—writing full-length novels in high school. As a D&D enthusiast, many of his campaigns from high school were the inspiration for his early stories. His first self-published novel, The Wretched of Muirwood trilogy, catapulted Wheeler into the spotlight. Soon after, 47North came to Wheeler with an offer and published The Queen’s Poisoner trilogy in 2016. In July of this year, Wheeler secured an exciting deal to release TV rights to Nucleus Media for a PG or PG-13 adaption of the Kingfountain series. Morgan Gendel (known for his work in Star Trek Next Generation, Dresden Files, and Law & Order) will be leading the development of the series and has signed on as showrunner.

Jeff currently resides in the Rocky Mountains with his wife, Gina, and their five kids. He is a devout member of the Church of Jesus Christ and The Latter Day Saints and has his time full drafting new stories and running Deep Magic (, a quarterly e-zine featuring fantasy short stories and novellas by upcoming authors.

Have you read this author's Kingfountain series or any of his other books? What did you like about the interview and/or my review? When the Kingfountain series is televised, will you want to watch it?

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