Dragon Hunters Cover Reveal & Notes from Marc Turner
We here at Fantasy-Faction are delighted to be revealing the cover of the latest Chronicles of the Exile novel by Marc Turner today. When I was first invited to do the cover reveal for the novel called ‘Dragon Hunters’ I was of course hoping for some kind of badass Dragon to be involved… and I certainly wasn’t disappointed… check it out!
Very cool, right? I’ve seen a few covers similar, Robin Hobb’s Liveship series and Robert V.S. Redick’s Red Wolf Conspiracy series have covers not a million miles off, but I do feel this is takes both of those for its epicness and the deadliest looking dragon. Thinking about the Moby Dick film coming up, this certainly echoes that tale and the cover should have readers from not just SFF but also those yearning for an adventure-filled voyage to check it out too.
In addition to this awesome cover reveal, we’ve also got a few words from the author Marc Turner to tell us a bit about the novel and that Dragon being showcased on the cover. Over to him:
Dragons. They may be a trope of the fantasy genre, but if so, they are a trope that I will never tire of. Dragons appear in some of my favourite books, such as The Hobbit and The Farthest Shore – the third book in Ursula Le Guin’s Earthsea Quartet. For me, no one captures the majesty of dragons like Le Guin: “The old dragon Kalessin looked at him from one long, awful, golden eye. There were ages beyond ages in the depths of that eye; the morning of the world was deep in it.”
As a fantasy writer, I always knew I wanted to get dragons into my books. The creatures in my second novel, Dragon Hunters, are sea dragons, but they are no less dangerous than their winged and fire-breathing kin. Armoured in impenetrable metal scales, they grow to the size of a ship. A single blow from a dragon’s tail can clear a deck, or snap a mast. The largest dragons can even fix their jaws around the waist of a small ship and break it in two. As a result, the notion of anyone trying to hunt one of the creatures may seem absurd.
But these are no ordinary hunters.
In Dragon Hunters, the action centres around a chain of islands called the Storm Isles that are ruled by a group of water-mages known as the Storm Lords. The leader, Imerle Polivar, is the most powerful sorcerer ever to have ruled. The Storm Isles are situated in an inland sea that was once infested by dragons. Centuries ago, those dragons were driven away, and a huge gate was constructed across the only strait that provides access to the sea. Thirty years in the making, it is strong enough to deny passage to even the largest dragon.
Once a year, though, that gate is raised to allow a single creature to pass beneath. There, it is hunted by the Storm Lords together with a host of dignitaries and fortune hunters, drawn by the prestige and riches that accrue to whoever kills the dragon. And killed the dragon invariably will be. Everything has a weakness, after all. In the dragons’ case, it is the eyes, the ears, the nostrils. Of course, normal missiles would land like pinpricks for a creature that size, but the soldiers on a Storm Lords’ ship are equipped with sorcerously invested weapons that deliver a more telling punch.
The role of the water-mage on board is to buy his or her soldiers time to bring their spears and arrows to bear. A powerful sorcerer can blind a dragon by vaporising the sea in front of it, or create currents to flip the creature onto its back, thus exposing its vulnerable belly. With dozens of ships taking part in the Hunt, the dragon is quickly overwhelmed. True, no creature falls without a fight. Even if it takes a ship down, though, only a handful of the vessel’s crew are killed. This is because other ships rush in to engage the dragon before it can feast on the unfortunates in the water.
At least, that is what is supposed to happen. This year, it seems someone may have forgotten to send the script to the dragon.
Dragon Hunters is book two in my Chronicles of the Exile series. I’ve often heard a sequel referred to as “the difficult second book”. Why? Because a writer has a lifetime in which to write his first book, but only a much shorter time to write his second. More importantly, though, a first book creates expectations that an author must live up to with his next offering. For me, Dragon Hunters represented an additional challenge because it features a new cast of characters. I’d worked with the characters in When the Heavens Fall for many years, so finding interesting new voices that weren’t just poor reflections of the old ones proved difficult at first. A couple of the characters went through two or three reincarnations before I was happy with them.
The good news, though, is that before of the new cast and setting, you don’t need to have read When the Heavens Fall to be able to enjoy Dragon Hunters. So if you haven’t already started the series (shame on you), now is an excellent time to jump on board.
I can promise you a breathless ride.
Marc Turner’s Dragon Hunters hits stores in February 2016. You can read more about it on Marc’s website, here: http://www.marcturner.net