Tyndale House has contracted with Tekno Books, a book packager in Green Bay, Wis., to create a three-book military thriller line and a three-book political thriller series based on the popular Left Behind series. A possible third series with a supernatural/angels angle is also under discussion for 2004.

Why more books? Dan Balow, director of business development at Tyndale, pointed to a need for "new products that keep the Left Behind line fueled." The publisher's move to a once-a-year release for Left Behind titles has hurt the series' backlist sales, he said. "It was necessary to build in more product releases to extend the life of the line," said Balow. The Left Behind series, coauthored by Jerry Jenkins and Tim LaHaye, launched in 1995 and has sold more than 55 million copies.

Apocalypse Dawn, the first military installment (July), will be written by prolific author Mel Odom, whose book credits include The Rover (Tor Books, 2001). State Secrets, the initial political thriller (Nov.), will be penned by Neesa Hart. Jenkins's and LaHaye's names will not appear on the book jackets.

Balow said plans call for a first printing of about 250,000 for each title, and release dates will be staggered with other Left Behind titles (such as Left Behind #11: Armageddon, due in April), and a new Jenkins/ Tyndale series slated to launch in August.

The military and political series will each feature a new cast of characters (and familiar ones such as Nicolae Carpathia) and will begin at the same point as the first Left Behind title. Like Left Behind, the books will be faith-based—no profanity or explicit sex—said Tekno Books CEO Martin Greenberg. Both series, whose jackets will resemble the Left Behind line, will be published in trade paper at $14.99 and will be released on audio, Balow said.

Denise Little, Tekno's executive editor, told PW this is the company's first big religious publishing project, and it probably won't be the last.

Greenberg said that Tekno is in talks with several other CBA publishing houses. "We hope to do more in the religion arena," Greenberg said, noting that Tekno has produced 1,430 books, including projects with more than 50 bestselling authors, including Tom Clancy, Dean Koontz, Tony Hillerman, Robert Ludlum and Nora Roberts.