Mid-September, so it’s high time I took a look at some of the historical fiction titles published this month.
First up is H A Culley’s Whiteblade. H A Culley is not an author I have come across before, but the book cover fits well into this section of the genre.
What’s special about it? Well, it ticks the most important box: it looks like it might be about Kings of Northumbria – and that particular box is not so easily ticked these days!
I like the subtle use of light and shade to get the most from the colour palette. We see the viking ship below on a rough sea but somehow this separate image is blended effectively into the whole. Because of the good size of the figure, this image works well even as a thumbnail.
Inevitably the reader could say that they have seen it all before, but then if one is looking for a book about saxons and vikings then it probably will look something like this.
Justin Hill’s Viking Fire is a very different image though the message might be deemed rather similar.
The wolf’s head, the serpent and the runes all give an authentic feel to the whole piece but I’m especially pleased to see just a hint of fire on the design rather than the fairly large conflagrations we often find. The glow of the fire is enough of a reminder of the threat.
The title font is grainy which seems appropriate for the background. Overall, it’s a little dark for my liking and though there is a lot of detail here, not much can be seen clearly unless it is viewed at a larger size. In a bookstore that would be no problem.
Kate Braithwaite’s novel of love and intrigue in Paris, Charlatan, has a bold cover design. The book is lodged in its historical context at once because of the gold emblem of the “Sun King”, Louis IV. It is a stark image but it does its job: it draws the eye.
Behind it lies the Parisan landscape in which the story is set, but you cannot really look beyond the great pile of gold in the front.
No, it’s not very subtle, but if your book covers are too subtle then the reader may not notice them at all!
My cover of the month for September has to be Elizabeth Chadwick’s The Autumn Throne.
It follows, of course, the design of its predecessors, The Summer Queen and The Winter Crown – the latter a particular favourite of mine.
The colour choices, as always, complement each other beautifully.
They are the same yet, as you can see, strikingly different. This series of covers demonstrates that a simple, brilliant design is difficult to beat.
Need I say more? Well, I’m not going to.