RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – Thanks to Web sites for Amazon and Books-a-Million, the world now knows that Epic Games’ “Gears of War” is expanding into a series of books.

A sequel to the record-setting third-person shooter game will apparently be released as well. The two could be tied together.

More details may become available in the next few days. Epic has reserved a huge amount of space at a game industry event in California, right next to Microsoft’s Xbox game group. Microsoft published Gears, which has sold about 5 million copies since its release late in 2006.

Gears won numerous awards, and Epic also sold movie rights to the company led by Lord of Rings/King Kong director Peter Jackson.

While there has been a lot of discussion about creation of a Gears franchise and a sequel, the Web sites’ disclosure of the book provided the official confirmation about the book link.

Both Amazon and Books-a-Million feature an image of the cover for “Gears of War: The Pendulum Wars,” which is scheduled for release this summer. Books-a-Million is already taking advance order for the 352-page book written by Stephen Kent.

Like Cary-based Epic, the author of Pendulum Wars is an emerging star. Stephen Kent wrote two critically acclaimed science fiction books, “Rogue Clone” and “The Clone Republic.” Kent also wrote a history of video games.

I’m not much of a game player, but I can’t wait to get my hands of Pendulum Wars. "Gears" could turn into a huge franchise just as another Xbox title – the sensational "Halo." Books about the Master Chief have been page-turners. If you don’t believe me and like sci-fi, check them out. They’re great.

Happy reading.