Random House Children’s Books has announced plans to publish a new standalone illustrated middle grade novel by author Lincoln Peirce, creator of the bestselling Big Nate series. The new book, Max and the Midknights, will be released by Crown Books for Young Readers on January 8, 2019.

The book features the adventures of Max, a 10-year-old apprentice troubadour with aspirations of becoming a knight. Max gets a chance to play the hero when Uncle Budrick is kidnapped by the evil King Gastley; it’s up to Max and a group of young friends, the Midknights, to come to the rescue.

The concept for the story emerged when Peirce was brainstorming a potential TV series set in the Middle Ages. He later reimagined the story as a book. Peirce said of the project in a statement, “I try to write the sort of books I would have loved reading when I was a kid.”

In 2010, Peirce launched the Big Nate series, which is based on his comic strip of the same name. To date, 16 million Big Nate titles in the eight-book series have been sold.

Phoebe Yeh, v-p and publisher of Crown—who was Peirce’s longtime editor while at HarperCollins—will edit Max and the Midknights. Yeh said in a statement, “I had the honor of editing the first illustrated Big Nate novels, and it gives me great pleasure to be reunited now with Lincoln and to welcome him and Max to the Crown family. Max’s action-packed quest will take young readers on a laugh-filled adventure charted by one of the industry’s finest creators, and we so look forward to putting this new work into children’s hands next year.”

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