This week I am going crusading, or rather my covers are. The Crusades are a popular topic for medieval fiction writers and, though I have featured one of these before, I thought it was high time I focused in on this specific area.
What do we expect of a cover which depicts the Crusades? Well, a cross of some sort would be nice – though of course we should not lose sight of the fact that there are two sides in this great conflict. I would also expect to see a few martial elements and perhaps a hint of sand, desert, crusader castles? As always, the most important factor is whether the cover makes me look twice – if it doesn’t, then it is not doing its job very well. My humble suggestions below all made me look at least twice.
All three covers have what I believe to be an important characteristic: they have light at the centre of the image. For me that draws the viewer in to look closer. It is not essential and is sometimes inappropriate, but often it works very well.
The font is appropriate, though I am not a great fan of the use of a small ‘e’ amongst capitals. Nevertheless, the colour palette is attractive and well judged. Again the eye is drawn to the centre of the image where the sword plunges into the light and points us to a lone knight – this one, as shown by the red cross on his banner, is a Templar.
Overall, the image works well.
This image has great balance with the red banner at the top and what I assume is blood at the bottom. It cries out that these are men going to fight a brutal war. The font is interesting with the cross contained within the letter ‘O’ and the lettering almost disappearing in the white centre of the image.
I like the fact that we have more than one knight, shown dark against the desert with the hordes of other men up ahead. The white cross on a shoulder identifies these men not as some of the ubiquitous Knights Templar, but as Knights of St John – which makes a change too!
Pride of place this week – but only by a whisker – is Angus Donald’s Holy Warrior.
I like the slightly different approach to the same theme: the use of banners as the principal element in the image. We still have the cross on the centre banner, which is battle-torn and stained with blood. My eye goes straight to it.
The scale of the conflict is portrayed both by the number of banners in the foreground and by the riders in the distance shown in an arc of fire. The attention to detail is commendable too with the birds shown flying from the battle.
As a whole, this is a little different and well executed.