Keep an eye out for Kirkus’ in-depth columns on Emperor of Ocean Park, an MGM+ miniseries version of Stephen L. Carter’s Kirkus-starred novel (premiering July 14), and Lady in the Lake, an Apple TV+ limited series based on Laura Lippman’s mystery, which also received a Kirkus star (premiering June 19). Here are four more book-to-screen adaptations coming in July:

July 12: Touch (theatrical film premiere)

This film, written and directed by Icelandic filmmaker Baltasar Kormákur, is based on the 2022 novel by Icelander Olaf Olafsson. It tells the story of 75-year-old widower Kristofer, who closes his Reykjavik restaurant during the Covid-19 pandemic; he’s recently lost an old friend and is experiencing worrisome memory problems. An old flame, Miko, contacts him on social media; she’s very ill with the coronavirus, so he impulsively decides to visit her in Japan. He first met her a half-century ago, when he worked at her father’s London eatery; the young couple became close, but then Miko and her dad suddenly moved away without any explanation. Now, Kristofer wonders if, after all these years, he and Miko can reconnect. The trailer promises a star-crossed love story (featuring Pálmi Kormákur and Kōki as the young lovers) that alternates with a thoughtful rumination on aging (with Egill Ólafsson as the elder Kristofer). Both plotlines are very different from that of Kormákur’s last film—the tense animal-attack actioner Beast (2022). However, the new film’s concept has an appealing classic-Hollywood feel, and its lush photography follows suit.

July 18: Those About To Die (series premiere, Peacock)

Dramas set in Ancient Rome have a long history, and they include such critically acclaimed films as Ben-Hur (1959) and Spartacus (1960), which were both based on books. Much later, Gladiator (2000) was also an award-winning hit, and one of its screenwriters cited Daniel P. Mannix’s 1958 novel, Those About To Die, as his inspiration. This new streaming series is based directly on Mannix’s work, and it’s written by Oscar nominee Robert Rodat (Saving Private Ryan) and directed by Roland Emmerich (Independence Day). It promises plenty of violent action and court intrigue for sword-and-sandal genre fans, and the cast includes the great Anthony Hopkins as the Emperor Vespasian, as well as the excellent Iwan Rheon (Game of Thrones) and Sara Martins-Court (Death in Paradise).

July 19: Widow Clicquot (theatrical film premiere)

Tilar J. Mazzeo’s 2008 biography, The Widow Clicquot: The Story of a Champagne Empire and the Woman Who Ruled It, inspired this film, directed by Thomas Napper (Jawbone). It stars The Devil All the Time’s Haley Bennett as Barbe-Nicole Clicquot, who was widowed at age 27 and went on to pioneer new methods of champagne production as the head of the Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin champagne house. The movie depicts Clicquot’s fierce determination to live her life as she wished, despite many obstacles—most notably, the ingrained sexism of the society in which she lived. Bennett is a marvelous actor who shines in her rare leading roles, and her performance is sure to make this historical drama worth a watch.

July 25: The Decameron (series premiere, Netflix)

This streaming dark-comedy series is inspired by Giovanni Boccaccio’s acclaimed 14th-century story cycle; a 2013 translation by Wayne A. Rebhorn received a Kirkus star. It’s easy to see why the show’s creator, Kathleen Jordan (Teenage Bounty Hunters), might have seen the work’s frame story as timely and relevant: 10 young people gather at a Florentine villa to avoid a pandemic—in this case, the Black Death—and tell stories on various themes to pass the time. The teaser trailer indicates that the shelter-in-place aspect of Boccaccio’s creation has transferred intact; it’s unclear how many of the original’s 100 stories will make the cut. In any case, the show features a fine cast of talented comedic actors, including Girls’ Zosia Mamet, Derry Girls’ Saoirse-Monica Jackson, Sex Education’s Tanya Reynolds, and The Mysterious Benedict Society’s Tony Hale.

David Rapp is the senior Indie editor.

CORRECTION: This story has been updated with the correct premiere date for Widow Clicquot.