Historical Fiction Cover of the Month – June

It doesn’t seem possible that we are halfway through 2016 already and so, fairly obviously, we’ve arrived at June. So what have I got for you this month?  I have rejected the usual plethora of women in red/blue dresses and, bearing in mind that this page remains a bare upper torso-free zone, here are the covers that have taken my fancy.



First up is a book that I think I mentioned in despatches last year: Matthew Harffy’s The Serpent Sword. It has been re-published and, in my view, the cover is even better than before.

It’s a matter of taste, I suppose: this new version is more stark and in your face, and consequently less subtle than the original, but I like it better. It shows off the helmet and sword in more vivid detail, giving the whole cover more light and energy.



My second choice is Elizabeth Fremantle’s The Girl in the Glass Tower. I have chosen this because it is a little different and because it is very effective in supporting the title.

The opaque image, with its mottled mix of pastel colour and light, creates the illusion perfectly. This is not easy to do without the whole thing looking either bland or ridiculous. It is subtle yet nevertheless quite powerful. The crack across the glass delivers a well-judged touch of reality.



The covers of Robert Harris books tend to look deceptively simple in design and are often characterised by bold text and strong contrasting colours. Dictator is no different.

The central colour theme is very striking, enhanced by the mass of flaming torches in the background. The torches of course, as so often with book covers, provide the detail which makes the rest of the cover work so well.

The pair of huge columns and the figure between them give us the majesty and scale of Rome. It’s a clever piece of work.

My cover of the month is Toby Clements’ Kingmaker: Divided Souls and here I should declare an interest. Yes, I know the author and we’ve probably spent some hours together discussing aspects of writing about the Wars of the Roses.


But I don’t think that has influenced my choice at all because… it’s a cracking cover! Yes, basically, it’s a broken window but what a window!

I love the effect of the shards of glass and displaced lead – and the royal coat of arms gives the freedom to use a bright mix of contrasting colours. It hits you between the eyes.

Though the concept here is bold and different, this cover nevertheless maintains the style established with previous covers in the series.

Lose the ubiquitous strapline at the top and you have an excellent cover which really catches the eye.


As always, feel free to comment about my choices which are, of course, simply my own preference.



This entry was posted in Covers, Historical Fiction, History, Wars of the Roses and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Historical Fiction Cover of the Month – June

  1. The entire Kingmaker series has fabulous covers. Great choices!

  2. Derek Birks says:

    Thanks, Samantha. Yes, they have a very appealing style somehow – yet different and eye-catching.

  3. evelynralph says:

    Reblogged this on evelynralph and commented:
    My first visit to this blogger. Like the choices and comments going with. Evelyn.

  4. Definitely some good choices here. Personally I think The Serpent Sword would get my vote, but it’s courses for horses – or vice verse

  5. Toby says:

    VERY GOOD CHOICES DEREK! Thank you very very much. I do hope you enjoy Chalke Valley.

  6. denisejhale says:

    I have to disagree, ‘The Kingmaker’ is my favourite of these; cool blue is an unusual choice and I like stained glass with the fragments surrounding it. I agreed that ‘the girl in the glass tower’ cover suits its title and also inspires me to pick up and discover more about book. Thank you for selecting and sharing these books.

  7. jeangill says:

    LOVE the Kingmaker cover! Clever concept, well executed, great visual impact and yet still a cover that’s clear in genre, period – and fits the brand. I struggle with the male/female divide in historical fiction covers (and content) and ‘The Girl in The Glass Tower’ shouts ‘female’ and has nothing that really says ‘historical’ – even if I take the dress as being past clothing, I couldn’t say which period – I think readers like to know genre and period from a cover. I enjoy looking at your cover choices – keep them coming!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s