Movie rights to Zirk van den Berg's period novel Half of One Thing have been optioned by independent producer Neil Sonnekus of New Zealand production company Stinkwood Films. The deal was negotiated by Aoife Lennon-Ritchie of the Lennon-Ritchie Agency.
"It's a wonderful read," Sonnekus said of the book. "I fell for the 'historical record' hook, line and sinker. It's a great, great con. The characters become representative of real historical forces, and I like that - the con has the solid ring of truth about it."
Gideon Lancaster, a New Zealand soldier fighting for the British, infiltrates a Boer commando. He soon finds himself entangled in a confusion of loyalties as he becomes better acquainted with the men.
Worse, he falls in love with Esther Calitz, a Boer woman of considerable mettle who demands his loyalty over every other allegiance. Commandant Jacob Eksteen is Lancaster's taciturn rival in love, and a man of clear black-and-white convictions. So powerful are the conflicting demands of fidelity and love that Lancaster seizes a startling opportunity when a large British battalion is mobilised in what is to be the final triumph of the imperial forces.
The book is also available in Afrikaans as Halfpad Een Ding.
Van den Berg made his literary debut with a volume of Afrikaans short stories in 1989, followed by a historical novel. After moving to New Zealand in 1998, Van den Berg switched to writing in English. His crime novel, Nobody Dies, was published to considerable acclaim in New Zealand and saw an Afrikaans edition released as 'n Ander mens in South Africa in 2013. The book won the film category in the inaugural KykNet-Rapport book awards in 2014 and Van den Berg's film script based on that book is currently being considered for production.
Half of One Thing by Zirk van den Berg