Is Lockwood & Co based on a book? How true is Netflix supernatural series to Jonathan Stroud’s books

Netflix supernatural fantasy series Lockwood & Co is adapted from the work of best-selling young adult author Jonathan Stroud

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Fantasy series Lockwood & Co arrived on Netflix this week, more than two years after the platform announced plans to adapt the fantasy novel series into a show. The eight-part series, which stars Ruby Stokes, Cameron Chapman, and Ali Hadji-Heshmati.

The series is part of a raft of original content that has landed on the site in recent months, such as That ‘90s Show, Wednesday, and the second season of Vikings: Valhalla. Targeted at a young adult audience, Lockwood & Co is adapted from the novels of a best-selling YA fantasy author.

Is Lockwood & Co based on a book?

The first series of Lockwood & Co is adapted from Jonathon Stroud’s fantasy novel series of the same name published between 2013 and 2017. There are five novels in the Lockwood & Co series - The Screaming Staircase, The Whispering Skull, The Hollow Boy, The Creeping Shadow, and The Empty Grave, and one short story, The Dagger in the Desk.

The Netflix series is mostly based on the first two instalments and was adapted by Joe Cornish who also wrote Attack the Block, and Ant-Man. Book one, The Screaming Staircase sees London under attack from sinister ghosts, spectres and other supernatural beings.

As only young people are able to see these ghouls, it is up to the city’s teenagers to hunt them down and eradicate them. The paranormal invasion has led to a cottage industry of detective agencies which compete in the high stakes work of ghost hunting.

Lockwood & Co is based on Jonathan Stroud’s young adult fantasy novel series Lockwood & Co is based on Jonathan Stroud’s young adult fantasy novel series
Lockwood & Co is based on Jonathan Stroud’s young adult fantasy novel series

One of these agencies, Lockwood & Co is run by the charismatic teen Anthony Lockwood with no adult oversight. He is joined by his friend George, and the gifted Lucy, and their investigations lead them to one of England’s most haunted houses, Combe Carey Hall. Inside they face mortal danger in the form of the Hall’s screaming staircase and red room.

The second novel in the series, The Whispering Skull, finds Lockwood & Co at a loose end, having gone months without a new case. Eventually the detectives are given a new challenge - when an accident leads to a dangerous phantom and Source that kills anyone who looks upon it is released from a coffin, the trio have to put things right.

What other books has Jonathan Stroud written?

Stroud’s other works include the best-selling Bartimaeus Sequence series set in a parallel universe version of London where the city rules a magical world. The books follow teenage magician, Nathaniel, who summons a five-thousand-year-old djinni (a powerful spirit from Islamic belief) Bartimaeus.

Joe Cornish and Jonathan  Stroud on the set of Lockwood & CoJoe Cornish and Jonathan  Stroud on the set of Lockwood & Co
Joe Cornish and Jonathan Stroud on the set of Lockwood & Co

In this parallel world, the British empire has dominated Europe for more than a century through its control of demons. Magicians have taken their place as the ruling elite at the centre of the empire.

There are three books in the original series - The Amulet of Samarkand, The Golem’s Eye, Ptolemy’s Gate, and one prequel novel, The Ring of Solomon, which is set in Jerusalem in the 10th century BC. The Bartimaeus Sequence  has sold more than 6 million copies worldwide.

Star Media bought the film and television rights to the novel series in 2019, but it is yet to be adapted. Currently, the Lockwood & Co series are Stroud’s only works to be adapted for the screen.

Stroud’s other books include The Outlaws Scarlett and Browne fantasy series, which so far has two instalments, and the standalone novels Heroes of the Valley, The Last Siege, and The Leap.

Lockwood & Co is available to watch on Netflix now

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