The action thriller The Nation’s Gambit written by Rakel Kraft Biørnstad and Christopher Grøndahl, will be Lien’s first feature film in a decade.

The seasoned director has worked most recently on HBO’s Beforeigners S1 and S2 among others. He won numerous awards for his earlier films Jonny Vang (2003) and The Bothersome Man (2006).

Published last February, Norwegian author Johan Høst’s debut novel Delta: En nasjon i sjakk has just been nominated for the Norwegian Booksellers Award and so far, rights to the book have been sold to Denmark, Sweden and Bulgaria. The novel part of a trilogy, revolves around the Delta Squad’s operational leader Anton Block and his right hand Björk Jónsdottir.

In the story, Norway's Prime Minister is kidnapped by a terrorist who makes only one demand. That the politicians in power are playing a game of chess over the Prime Minister's life. Each chess piece represents people who work for the state or leaders in society. If the politicians win the game, the prime minister will live, but every piece lost on the chess boards means the loss of a human life. The politicians and their appointed rescue team, the Delta Squad, are faced with an impossible dilemma: Can they afford to sacrifice human lives in an attempt to save the Prime Minister? With only 24 hours to win the game and save the prime minister, they have no choice but to play the deadly game.

“Johan [Høst] has written quite a story where the shock effect is obviously one of the ingredients,” commented Lien. “At the same time, he balances seriousness, playfulness, brutality and style in a way you don't see much of in Norwegian film. The heroes are superb, funny and smart, while the villains are evil and transgressive. I find Johan's cocktail of grand politics, chess, terror and revenge to be both modern, fresh and daring. At the same time, my thoughts also go to the '90s and the heyday of action thrillers with classics such as The Negotiator and Seven.”

“When we first picked up the novel En nasjon i sjakk, we simply could not put it down. Such a thrilling plot and high concept made it clear that this could be adapted into a cinematic success,” said Silje Nikoline Glimsdal, Senior Acquisition Manager at SF Studios.

“We are more than excited to see this action thriller come to life, a cinematic experience that will surely draw a lot of attention. This film will be a dream project for us to distribute, and we very much look forward to collaborating with Stig & Stein Studio on bringing this fantastic story to screens across the world.”

Høst is currently writing the second part of the trilogy.

Other SF Studios’ Norwegian features handled by REinvent include Erika Calmeyer’s suspense drama Storm, currently screening in competition at Tallinn’s Black Nights Film Festival, and Nils Gaup’s upcoming epic period drama The Riot.