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.