It has been over 30 years since “The Handmaid’s Tale” was released and the novel has recently featured as a television series of the same name, telling the story of Gilead, a fictional theocratic dictatorship. The series received critical acclaim and author Margaret Atwood has now announced a sequel to the story, “The Testaments.”

According to Penguin Random House, the new novel will be published on 10 September 2019, and the story is set 15 years from when “The Handmaid’s Tale” left off. According to Atwood, the story of "The Testaments" has been inspired by current world events.

‘The Testaments’ by Margaret Atwood

While the original story was narrated by the character Offred, Penguin Random House reported that the new story will be narrated by three main female characters. It is not clear if Offred will be one of them.

The Handmaid’s Tale” is heading for its third season, and after season 1 it veered off from where the story in the novel left off. Digital Spy quoted Atwood as saying she was happy with the way the story had been continued, as producers had stuck to the “central set of premises” in the Hulu and Channel 4 series.

The new book will not relate to the TV series at all.

Canadian author Margaret Atwood addressed her readers by saying that almost everything they have ever asked her about the inner workings of Gilead inspired the new book. She added that other inspiration for the story comes from the world we’re living in right now.

‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ and recent politics

As reported by Sky News, “The Handmaid’s Tale” is based in a brutal world, where environmental devastation has made most women infertile.

Any woman that is still able to conceive has been forced to become a “handmaid,” where they are held as sexual captives to bear children for government officials whose wives are unable to conceive.

The story in its TV form recently struck a political chord leading to woman protesting around the world where reproductive issues are controversial, wearing the handmaids’ red cloaks and white bonnets.

According to the press release for the new book, “The Handmaid’s Tale” has risen to prominence since the election of President Donald Trump. It states that handmaids have now become a symbol of a movement against Trump, standing for female empowerment and resistance to misogyny and how women’s rights are being rolled back under his administration.

The Handmaid’s Tale” was published in 1985 and has since sold 8 million copies, according to Penguin Random House. Readers will be able to pick up the new book on 10 September 2019.

In the meanwhile, fans of the TV show are waiting impatiently for “The Handmaid’s Tale” season 3. The release date is so far unknown, but Digital Spy noted that both seasons in the US were streamed in the last week of April, so they anticipate a similar timing next year. Channel 4 in the UK aired season 2 on 20 May 2018, so it might be expected that season 3 will also air in May 2019.