Julian Fellowes New Series Is a Serial Novel!

When you think of the serialized novel, chances are your mind goes immediately to Charles Dickens and the 19th century, but the format could be coming back — with a modern twist. Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes is creating a serialized novel, one that will be delivered via app. And once you start to think about it and see the potential for serialized novels in the 21st century, it's enough to make you wish Dickens had lived in the age of the iPhone.

The novel, titled Belgravia, is set in 1840s London, which suggests that Fellowes, who in addition to creating Downton Abbey has also written screenplays, stage plays, and a novel, is deliberately playing on the history of the serialized novel. And the book "explores the class divisions between the established aristocracy and newly wealthy families who made their fortunes through the Industrial Revolution," which means those who enjoyed Fellowes look at social class in Downton Abbey will most likely have reason to enjoy the new book as well.

Belgravia will be released in 11 installments, each costing $1.99. The new chapters will be automatically downloaded onto customers smartphones, tablets, or computer, and the app will also include multimedia extras, such as music, maps, family trees, and character portraits. All of which sounds awesome.

It remains to be seen, of course, if readers will take to Belgravia and the concept of a serialized book, but honestly, the 21st century seems a little perfect for it. After all, people are used to reading things in smaller chunks online all the time nowadays. Plus serialized novels are a bit like a TV show in the way they require you to wait for the next episode, and who doesn't love TV?

And while people have so far been skeptical of trying to incorporate multi-media into ebooks, having multi-media extra in an app could be pretty great. After all, the very existence of Tumblr proves there's a desire to have things like character sketches and music pairings for books.

But whether you love the idea or hate it, you can't call it something totally new. After all, it's really just a digital version of what Charles Dickens was doing almost two centuries ago.

The app will launch in 2016. You can hear Fellowes talking more about the new story in the video below.