Shannon Chakraborty's pirate fantasy novel The Adventures of Amina al-Sirafi optioned for television

Daevabad Trilogy author S.A. Chakraborty's new heroine Amina al-Sirafi may be sailing onto our televisions one day soon!
The Adventures of Amina al-Sirafi by Shannon Chakraborty. Image courtesy of HarperCollins.
The Adventures of Amina al-Sirafi by Shannon Chakraborty. Image courtesy of HarperCollins. /

Who doesn' t love a good pirate tale?

Variety reports that studio FlipNarrative has optioned the film rights to The Adventures of Amina al-Sirafi by Shannon Chakraborty, with the intent to develop the story as a multi-part series and gaming platform. Amina al-Sirafi is the start of a new trilogy from Chakraborty, whose Daevabad Trilogy of Middle Eastern-inspired fantasy novels (which began with The City of Brass) have been nominated for a number of awards including the Hugo Award.

The Adventures of Amina al-Sirafi is a different sort of adventure to Daevabad, but captures many of the same cultural touchstones. It follows the titular female pirate Amina al-Sirafi as she's pulled out of retirement for one last big job sailing around the Indian Ocean, and has to reckon with supernatural threats and other pirates as well as motherhood and legacy.

FlipNarrative is a studio operated by actor and producer Waleed Zuaiter, best known for starring in Bagdhad Central and Gangs of London as well as producing the movie Omar. He and his wife Joana Zuaiter run FlipNarrative along with development executive Shaun-Dean Thomas. Given Zuaiter's more than 30-year track record of working on TV, and his studio's goal of amplifying underrepresented and historically misrepresented voices, the studio sounds like a great match for Chakraborty's work.

The Adventures of Amina al-Sirafi by Shannon Chakraborty
The Adventures of Amina al-Sirafi by Shannon Chakraborty. Image courtesy of HarperCollins. /

“With ‘The Adventures of Amina al-Sirafi,’ we are given a rare insight into the melting pot that is the 12th century Indian Ocean,” said Zuaiter. “The array of cultures who traversed those waters; Arabs, Africans, Asians and Europeans all taking opportunities wherever possible to make their fortunes. None so more than Amina al-Sirafi, the anti-hero we never knew we needed.”

Chakraborty also released a statement: "I’m delighted to work with FlipNarrative on adapting The Adventures of Amina al-Sirafi. This story is desperately dear to my heart and from the very beginning of my conversations with Joana, Waleed and Shaun, their passion about the characters — about both Amina’s swashbuckling wiles and struggles with motherhood — resonated so clearly, as did their desire to use the story as a showcase for the region and celebrate the cultures and history that inspired it."

“Shannon has created a character in Amina that is so richly flawed that it’s impossible not to relate to her," Zuaiter added. "Someone who went against the tide by refusing to accept the chains the world shackles women with; who seized an opportunity that would never usually be offered to her, and excelled to gain respect from her peers and fear from her enemies.”

What is The Adventures of Amina al-Sirafi about?

The Adventures of Amina al-Sirafi was published by Harper Voyager in February of 2023. It swiftly gained a passionate following among readers and landed on the New York Times Bestseller list. Here's the official description of the story from the back-of-book copy:

Shannon Chakraborty, the bestselling author of The City of Brass, spins a new trilogy of magic and mayhem on the high seas in this tale of pirates and sorcerers, forbidden artifacts and ancient mysteries, in one woman’s determined quest to seize a final chance at glory—and write her own legend.

Amina al-Sirafi should be content. After a storied and scandalous career as one of the Indian Ocean’s most notorious pirates, she’s survived backstabbing rogues, vengeful merchant princes, several husbands, and one actual demon to retire peacefully with her family to a life of piety, motherhood, and absolutely nothing that hints of the supernatural.

But when she’s tracked down by the obscenely wealthy mother of a former crewman, she’s offered a job no bandit could refuse: retrieve her comrade’s kidnapped daughter for a kingly sum. The chance to have one last adventure with her crew, do right by an old friend, and win a fortune that will secure her family’s future forever? It seems like such an obvious choice that it must be God’s will.

Yet the deeper Amina dives, the more it becomes alarmingly clear there’s more to this job, and the girl’s disappearance, than she was led to believe. For there’s always risk in wanting to become a legend, to seize one last chance at glory, to savor just a bit more power…and the price might be your very soul.

What does it mean when a book is "optioned" for television?

It's important to note that just because a book is optioned for TV doesn't guarantee that it will ultimately get made into a television show; it's only the first step of many. In essence, a story being "optioned" means that a studio — in this case FlipNarrative — has reserved the rights to develop it for their given medium. The next step will likely be when creative talent and a distribution studio gets attached to the project; that's how we'll know things are speeding forward for Amina al-Sirafi's TV show.

I'm also pretty curious about the intent to create a "gaming platform" for the series. What does that mean? Will we be able to play the adventures of Amina al-Sirafi on our phones or gaming systems? I definitely want more details!

Given how well readers have responded to The Adventures of Amina al-Sirafi, and how much this series is on the rise, I'd give it pretty good odds. We'll have our ear to the ground for updates.

Next. March 2024 book round-up. 17 fantasy and science fiction books to read in March 2024. dark

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