Historical Fiction Cover of the Week

This week I’m going to break with tradition and actually post this on the correct day, which is a Monday. Just to reiterate in case you don’t already know: the choice of covers here is mine alone and thus carries no authoritative wisdom at all. I make no claim for the covers I select beyond the fact that I like them. I’d be very surprised if some folk didn’t have other favourites, so I welcome other suggestions in comments.

The covers this week are all at sea – that’s to say stories associated with the sea – and blimey, there’s an awful lot of them!

Let’s be a bit controversial here: I don’t like most of them… Mostly they present a ship from various viewpoints – and I know that is very sensible. I get it: it’s about ships, but I want a bit more than that. If it doesn’t have a ship on it then it could be a chap in a naval uniform. Again, it makes sense but it doesn’t intrigue me particularly.

Anyway, enough of the negative waves [you see that little play on words there…] let’s look at the ones I did like.

9781906236601-Sea Witch.inddI’m going to start with Helen Hollick’s Seawitch. Yes, I know it’s got a ship on it, but it is about a pirate and he’s on it too. This is one of those that I find hard to explain – I just like it.

I like the colour palette of sea green/blue, the cloud pattern and the well-defined ship. I like the rough and ready font which fits the piratical nature of the story. The figure in the foreground  hints that the story is more about the man than the ship.

Overall, it stands out against similar covers which tend to a be a little bland.

nobodysslaveTim Vicary’s Nobody’s Slave also stands out but for different reasons. It has a sailing ship which gives us some clue to the period but the two faces dominate. Now, usually I’m not a great fan of clearly defined facial images on book covers but in this case I have to admit that they give the cover an emotive power which really grabs me.

The colours here are understated for the most part which allows the map in the background to come through just enough. There is a lot going on with this cover which raises it above the ordinary in my view.


But this week’s winner is Julian Stockwin’s Victory. As you may have twigged already, I like a cover with some hint of action in it and this one certainly has that – as indeed do most of Julian’s covers.

Here we are in the midst of a battle at sea with all the brutal power of a full broadside. I like the use of red in the title and the cannon fire below it. Simple, I know, but effective and definitely eye-catching.

We get a sense of the motion of the ships as they struggle ferociously with canvas, spars and rigging falling about their ears. Love it!

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3 Responses to Historical Fiction Cover of the Week

  1. BigJules says:

    Interesting post. Delighted to see VICTORY there!

  2. Thanks Derek (sorry I’m a bit late to the party!) my pirate Jesamiah Acorne sends a hearty toast of thanks as well – he won’t go as far as offering a tot though *pirate* Thanks to Cathy Helms of http://www.avalongraphics.org for her fab designing as well!

  3. Derek Birks says:

    Thanks Helen. It seems two out of three were Avalon Graphics.

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