Historical Fiction Cover of the Month – May

Well, it’s already May, so before I go to Ludlow for a week of researching and walking, I’d better post this month’s covers. And, by the way, the timing of my visit to Ludlow has absolutely nothing to do with the Spring Festival there next week, described as “like a beer festival but better.” [http://www.ludlowspringfestival.co.uk/]

Now last month someone made the point that my choice of covers probably reflects a certain male bias and I suppose I have to own up to that. I do struggle to see covers from a female perspective but then, as I’ve always said, these thoughts about covers are merely my own personal views. I would not dare to suggest that my selections are in some way “the best” but simply the ones that appeal to me. I hope I also explain sufficiently why they appeal to me.

Anyway, the May covers have given me a few selection headaches – I feel the England football manager’s pain. I started off with about eight covers which was obviously too many to consider, but when I whittled them down a bit I was left with oconspiracy_parrisnly three. So, here we go.

First up is S.J.Parris’s Conspiracy, the fifth in a series of historical thrillers featuring  Giordano Bruno. It’s a fairly simple design but I like that. The concept of the bird looking down upon what I assume is sixteenth century Paris – not Parris, obviously…

I’m hopeless at identifying birds –  once I’ve eliminated robins, finches and tits I’m on shaky ground – but I think it must be a raven. Anyway, it introduces an element of dark, looming foreboding [wondering now if  foreboding can loom?]

The monochrome image is lifted by the blood red title. I think it would look good in a bookshop and, as a digital thumbnail, it also stands out.

fire

My second selection is C.C. Humphreys’ Fire – and why use a long title when a short one will do? As always, I wouldn’t bother with the strapline. Those are for folk who can’t be bothered to turn the book over or click one more time.

Aside from that there’s a lot I like about this one. I’m a sucker for strong colours used well and the shade of red chosen here seems very appropriate – not too much crimson in it. Clearly the title font works well and the colour, if rather an obvious design decision, does the job well.

You have the fire raging at the foot of the image and then it bursts through the page itself, promising death to many with a nice skeletal touch. You could argue that basically it’s just a good image of a fire, but simplicity is sometimes the best policy. This has some impact.

ravenspur

My final choice is a cover that will be familiar because it is the last of a series we have looked at before: Conn Iggulden’s Ravenspur.

I think I like this one best, though more for its grace than its impact. I am a great fan of using a consistent style on series covers especially the clever use of small images and icons. Here the leaves of the warring “roses” have been replaced completely with thorns and the central image is the Welsh dragon emblem of Henry Tudor.

There is some sublety here. The colours are understated, gone is the vibrance of the Yorkist sun on Trinity and the crimson of Bloodline. Here we have a sort of ageing gold and grey. Even the dragon seems rather opaque. This looks like winter – as well it should, given the subject matter.

Ravenspur is thus my cover of the month for May but I’ve had a sneak peek at June and I can see a few coming up that are just as good.

 

 

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5 Responses to Historical Fiction Cover of the Month – May

  1. A.J. Sefton says:

    I think you have good taste 🙂 Not sure what a male perspective is with regard to book covers, but I think I share it!

    Keep up the good work.

  2. For me it’s a tie between the Parris and the |Iggulden. If you were to force me off the fence – which would be difficult in this case and you’d have to really push – 🙂 I’d go for the Parris purely because I’m not that keen on the grey in the ‘Wars of the Roses’ text. I couldn’t tell you why. It’s a taste thing, like not liking a particular dish that someone else might love. I don’t go for the Humphreys cover at all. To me the fiery blob in the middle with the skeleton looks a bit cobbled together.

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