Ringside Studios (Apple TV’s Liaison) has optioned the rights to adapt Ian McGuire’s new thriller,The Abstainerand attached BAFTA nominated writer Mark O’Rowe (Temple, Normal People) to adapt it for television.

The Abstainer is McGuire’s third novel and a follow up to 2016’s Booker long-listed The North Water, which was adapted for television by Andrew Haigh and aired on the BBC last year starring Colin Farrell, Jack O’Connell and Stephen Graham.

The Abstainer is billed as a “riveting cat-and-mouse thriller” which starts in the crowded streets of mid-nineteenth century Manchester before moving to the backwoods of New England, USA, for its climax.  Following the public hanging of three of their members, the underground Irish nationalist Fenian society plot a bloody revenge. To execute their plan, they draft in an American, Stephen Doyle, veteran of the US civil war, and a man for whom violence is a way of life.

To counter the Fenian threat, the Manchester police force have recruited their own outsider, James O’Connor, an Irishman who has fled grief and drink in Dublin for a sober start in England. When a long-lost nephew arrives on O’Connor’s doorstep looking for work, he cannot foresee the way his fragile new life will be imperiled—and how his and Doyle’s fates will become fatally intertwined.

Ringside and O’Rowe will adapt the novel as a high end, six-part limited series.


Jon Creamer

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