Winter is going (apparently). A gallery, over at the Guardian.
I often look at big engineering projects with a childish sense of wonder. Things are being built. Big bits of metal move from one place to another. Suddenly a form takes shape. I imagine there’s immense satisfaction in the work, too, seeing the visual transformation and being able to see the obvious progress each day.
By Jean-Léon Gérôme.
Here we go, the cover design for Drakenfeld, which is published in October. This was created by the talented in-house team at Pan Macmillan. Pretty good, right? Told you there’d be no hooded figure.
Of all my many covers, this is by far the best and most appropriate. It really sums up the book, because nations (or rather nationalism) are core to the series, and the idea with the covers is that each novel features a coloured banner representing the country in which the novel takes place. The one above is the banner of Detrata, with a double-headed falcon, various glaives and swords and a lovely icon. It also evokes the classical world, which was – as regular followers of the blog might have guessed – a major inspiration for the novel. I like to think that the main continent of Vispasia could sit just off the classical maps, as some forgotten corner of the world yet to be discovered by archeologists.
Anyway, just as important as all that, I think this cover has pretty wide appeal, connecting with fantasy fans, while not putting off crime or historical readers. And it’s just very striking, either as a thumbnail (like here) or simply sitting on a bookshelf. In addition to this cover, there will be internal art as well such as maps. The whole book will be rather lovely to look at. Hopefully you’ll find the words are all in the right order, too.
Here’s the back cover text:
“I am Lucan Drakenfeld, second son of Calludian, Officer of the Sun Chamber and keeper of the peace. Sometimes people get in the way of that ambition…”
The monarchies of the Royal Vispasian Union have been bound together for two hundred years by laws maintained and enforced by the powerful Sun Chamber. As a result, nations have flourished but corruption, deprivation and murder will always find a way to thrive.
Receiving news of his father’s death Sun Chamber Officer Lucan Drakenfeld is recalled home to the ancient city of Tryum and rapidly embroiled in a mystifying case. The King’s sister has been found brutally murdered – her beaten and bloody body discovered in a locked temple. With rumours of dark spirits and political assassination, Drakenfeld has his work cut out for him trying to separate superstition from certainty. His determination to find the killer quickly makes him a target as the underworld gangs of Tryum focus on this new threat to their power.
Embarking on the biggest and most complex investigation of his career, Drakenfeld soon realises the evidence is leading him towards a motive that could ultimately bring darkness to the whole continent. The fate of the nations is in his hands.
Publication date: October, 2013.
This is the fun stage. Having this big pile of paper arrive, and seeing drafts of the cover design, have made me rather excited to say the least. There are maps to be included (and potentially an extra illustration), but only now does Drakenfeld start to take the shape of a real book. It seems an opportunity for reinvention. The whole package, from story conception to the cover itself, feels more considered and mature. Yes, I’m definitely excited.
One of my great annoyances with the digital world is that images can go online without any details attached to them. This remains a mystery library. But it’s very sexy.