Noughts and Crosses limited edition book
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Illustrations by Kingsley Nebechi for The Folio Society’s edition of Malorie Blackman’s Noughts & Crosses. Credit: Folio Society

Noughts and Crosses novel gets elaborate new edition from Folio Society: Sneak peek

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Mar 10, 2021, 9:02 AM EST

With the popular and acclaimed series Noughts and Crosses now streaming on Peacock, a lavish new edition of the novel that the show is based on has arrived.

The Folio Society, which specializes in limited, meticulously crafted, and simply gorgeous editions of classic fiction and non-fiction books, has now published a new edition of Noughts and Crosses, the first book in Malorie Blackman's epic alternate-history saga.

The book features seven full-color illustrations by London-based Nigerian artist Kingsley Nebechi, along with an introduction from poet Benjamin Zephaniah (named by the Times one of the 50 great post-war poets).

Have a look at some of the stunning illustrations from the book, starting with the cover art:

Illustrations © Kingsley Nebechi for The Folio Society’s edition of Malorie Blackman’s Noughts & Crosses.

 

Illustrations © Kingsley Nebechi for The Folio Society’s edition of Malorie Blackman’s Noughts & Crosses.

Blackman's book — and the TV series — is set in Albion, an alternate-history version of London that is under the rule of the Aprican Empire, a collection of West African nations that conquered and colonized Europe 700 years earlier.

In this version of history, the native European Whites or "Noughts" are ruled over by the Black "Crosses" of Aprican descent, with segregation strictly enforced. But that doesn't stop a Cross named Sephy and a Nought named Callum, who were childhood friends, from plunging into a forbidden romance amid a timely backdrop of racism, culture clash, and political intrigue.

Illustrations © Kingsley Nebechi for The Folio Society’s edition of Malorie Blackman’s Noughts & Crosses.

 

Illustrations © Kingsley Nebechi for The Folio Society’s edition of Malorie Blackman’s Noughts & Crosses.

 

Illustrations © Kingsley Nebechi for The Folio Society’s edition of Malorie Blackman’s Noughts & Crosses.

Masali Baduza stars as Sephy and Jack Rowan stars as Callum in the TV series, which premiered in the U.K. in early 2020 and began streaming on Peacock last September.

Folio Society also released a video of Nebechi and Blackman in conversation, as they discussed the creative process behind this literary edition's development "You kind of get to be the second author of a narrative, but a visual author," Nebechi says in the video.

"It was kind of like, 'My precioussss,'" quipped Blackman, mimicking Gollum from The Lord of the Rings saga as she described the book's elegant and covetable look.

There's no word yet on whether the show will continue into a second season, but since Blackman has penned five novels and three novellas (and counting) in the world of Albion, there's certainly plenty of material to draw upon — as well as more candidates for inclusion in the Folio Society's impressive library of genre titles, which includes classics like A Clash of Kings and Dune.