Critically-acclaimed director Shekhar Kapur will direct a TV series based on Ibis Trilogy, a series of historical novels by Amitav Ghosh.

The deal was announced at Series Mania in Lille, France. The show will be produced by Endemol Shine.

The three books – Sea of Poppies, River of Smoke and Flood of Fire – are set in mid-19th century Asia, particularly India, China and Mauritius. The trilogy deals with opium trade (Opium Wars) by the East India Company between India and China and the trafficking of coolies to Mauritius.

Justin Pollard will work as historical consultant and story editor for the project. He was also on board the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise and TV series Vikings and The Tudors.

A lead writer for Kapur’s series is yet to be appointed.

Shekar Kapur told variety.com, “I have always been fascinated that the drug trade was the engine for the Industrial Revolution.”

Amitav Gosh’s books brilliantly bring out the vast epic and emotional tale of opium, from its beginnings in India where it is grown and onto China where it is pushed by drug lords.

The story also follows the journeys of indentured labourers from India to colonies around the world and tells the intriguing tales of people from India, America and China at a time when modern history was being formed.

The director also has a production deal with Disney’s Hotstar platform in India, and has announced plans for a musical feature film based on the life and death of Empress Elisabeth of Austria, the wife of Emperor Franz Joseph I, better known as Sissi.

His last work was an autobiographical film and documentary about Mata Amritanandamayi Devi, called The Science of Compassion.