Crikey! I nearly missed it!
October has been a very busy month. We were away at the start, then I was putting the finishing touches to the new book, Scars From The Past, and then I was in Harrogate for the annual History Festival. Never mind, there are a few covers to share with you for this month so it might just have been worth waiting for.
First up is Julian Stockwin’s Inferno. I have admired several of Julian’s covers before because they seem to convey action scenes particularly well. This one is no exception, though perhaps a little less dramatic than some.
For me, it works well. Sword hilt and tattered banner are big, bold and in your face. You know what this book is about already but just in case, the period naval scene beneath portrays the chaos of battle at sea.
Bernard Cornwell can be relied upon to write a cracking story but I have not featured his book covers here very often. To be honest, I haven’t found them especially interesting – though The Pagan Lord was rather gritty.
In the case of his most recent release, The Flame Bearer, I am in two minds.
I quite like it, but I suppose if one is a bit picky, one might say that it’s just a picture of a guy bearing a flame…
This highlights, I think, an issue with many book covers. If the cover is designed to catch the reader’s eye, it should surely try to do so. Unfortunately – or fortunately if you are Bernard – his books will sell even if they are covered in plain brown paper, so the incentive for the cover designer is limited. So this is a good cover and it does the job well, but for me, it lacks that special something which, for example, many of Elizabeth Chadwick’s covers have. It’s a personal thing though.
Rage of Ares by Christian Cameron has a brave cover. Brave because of the rather subdued colour palette in shades of sepia and brown. This makes it a little different from other books about visceral warfare.
There’s not a pixel of red to be seen, nor bloodstained warriors hacking lumps out of each other. Just the armour sitting there in the midst of a pretty barren landscape under a darkening sky. Thus it shows a little of the misery and desolation of warfare without the blood.
But my cover of the month for this month is S G MacLean’s The Black Friar.
I like most things about it. The title font is a little funky but not crazy, and the black on white works well.
The whole image is one of contrast of light and shade using, of course, the archway to emphasise the figure in the centre. The period dress is clear enough to give us some idea of setting. The red band across the top hints at the background of chaos and unrest against which the story is set.
It’s a crime novel so the overall impression is slightly grim, but it does draw the eye down the dark passageway towards the centre of the image.
Overall then, a worthy cover of the month.