Cover Reveal for A Veil Of Spears
I can still remember the first time I heard of Bradley Beaulieu. It was 2011 when he was in the running for the Gemmell Morningstar Award with The Winds of Khalakovo. That was a great book and anyone who read it knew that Bradley would go far should he stick with Fantasy. However, Khalakovo was a very different type of book compared to what was flying of the shelves… A number of bloggers commented that they’d be interested to see Bradley give a more action-orientated Epic Fantasy or Grimdark a shot.
Well, fast forward 6 years and Bradley is about to release the third book in The Song of Shattered Sands series. An epic fantasy that is as action-packed as it is vast. And what a difference a genre makes, despite Shattered Sands being 4 years younger than Lays of Anuskaya (the series The Winds of Khalakovo is from), it has double the ratings on Goodreads really solid scores too.
Here’s the blurb for the latest:
Since the Night of Endless Swords, a bloody battle the Kings of Sharakhai narrowly won, the kings have been hounding the rebels known as the Moonless Host. Many have been forced to flee the city, including Çeda, who discovers that the King of Sloth is raising his army to challenge the other kings’ rule.
When Çeda finds the remaining members of the Moonless Host, now known as the thirteenth tribe, she sees a tenuous existence. Çeda hatches a plan to return to Sharakhai and free the asirim, the kings’ powerful, immortal slaves. The kings, however, have sent their greatest tactician, the King of Swords, to bring Çeda to justice for her crimes.
But the once-unified front of the kings is crumbling. The surviving kings vie quietly against one another, maneuvering for control over Sharakhai. Çeda hopes to use that to her advantage, but whom to trust? Any of them might betray her.
As Çeda works to lift the shackles from the asirim and save the thirteenth tribe, the kings of Sharakhai, the scheming queen of Qaimir, the ruthless blood mage, Hamzakiir, and King of Swords all prepare for a grand clash that may decide the fate of all.
Here’s Bradley to talk you through the cover:
I was excited to learn I’d once again be working with Donato Giancola for the US cover for A Veil of Spears, the third book in The Song of the Shattered Sands series. As is typical for a cover project, I threw out a few ideas for what I thought could work for a cover. Donato then read the book, came up with a few ideas of his own, and presented them via sketches.
The first thing that struck me was the style of the three designs. Taking a scene and illustrating it in its entirety is a tried and true method for covers, especially in fantasy, but more and more, things are moving toward an iconographic approach—abstracting and symbolizing the story more than illustrating it outright. These sketches weren’t wholly iconographic—they do still depict some pretty concrete scenes from the book, and in some detail—but they leaned in that direction.
My editor, Betsy Wollheim, and I looked over the sketches and liked various aspects of all three, but we were particularly drawn to the second and third sketches. In the end, we decided to combined them. We wanted to have Çeda, the main character, front and center, facing the audience, while the asirim, the undying creatures who live beneath fabled trees in the desert, surrounded her. And we wanted the ships to remain as well, but not in so distinct a way that they would take the viewer’s eye away from the action in the center.
Donato then came back with a more finalized sketch:
Already we could see that this cover was going to turn out to be pretty special. I loved how the asirim were so focused on Çeda. This is a scene near the end of the book, and it’s powerful. Seeing the events of that moment swirling around Çeda felt right to me.
Still, it was only a sketch. So much detail is filled in during the final rendering.
I was stunned when I first saw the final. There’s danger. There’s action. And Çeda herself is at the center of it all holding a bracelet that … well, let’s just save that for the book.
And those colors! The yellows and golds are a really bold choice. And they set off Çeda and her Blade Maiden’s dress perfectly. I love how the ships became more backdrop than centerpiece. There’s a sense of a larger, imminent battle, but only after you’ve had a chance to digest all the stuff going on in the foreground.
I’m really pleased with how the cover turned out, mostly because it sets up expectations for the book so well. I hope you’ll agree when you’ve had a chance to read it for yourself.
Bradley Beaulieu began writing his first fantasy novel in college before life intervened. After graduate, he realized that his love of telling stories would not vanish, so he picked up where he left off. Bradley is the author of The Lays of Anuskaya series as well as the upcoming Song of Shattered Sand series. He has published work in the Realms of Fantasy Magazine, Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show, and Writers of the Future 20. Learn more about Bradley by visiting his website, http://quillings.com/