Best-selling author Suzanne Collins is returning to the world of "The Hunger Games" in a new novel set long before arrow-slinging hero Katniss Everdeen matched wits with the ruthless President Snow.
Scholastic revealed the title and cover art for "The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes" on Friday and unveiled a huge banner for fans at New York Comic Con.
It had been known as the "Untitled Panem Novel" after the fictional country where the story takes place.
The book is scheduled to be published on May 19, 2020 in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand, the publisher said in a news release. The first English printing will be 2.5 million copies and Scholastic says it has sold the translation rights for 28 other territories.
"The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes" takes place 64 years before the events of the original novel on the day tributes were chosen for the Tenth Hunger Games, according to Scholastic.
"With this book, I wanted to explore the state of nature, who we are, and what we perceive is required for our survival," Collins said in the statement. "The reconstruction period ten years after the war, commonly referred to as the Dark Days -- as the country of Panem struggles back to its feet -- provides fertile ground for characters to grapple with these questions and thereby define their views of humanity."
The original "The Hunger Games" novel was on the New York Times bestseller list for more than 260 weeks and Scholastic says there are more than 100 million copies of all three books in the trilogy in print and digital formats worldwide.
The series also inspired the blockbuster four-movie franchise starring Jennifer Lawrence, Donald Sutherland, Stanley Tucci, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Julianne Moore.
Lionsgate, which made those movies, has said it is working on a movie based on the upcoming novel.
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