Hello everyone! Welcome to The Book’s the Thing. I am very pleased to be hosting a cover reveal from author Jevon Knights – please read on to see what he has to say about his new novel, Guardian of the Cursed Crown.
I love science fiction fantasy art, especially when they describe impossible landscapes – giant ancient stone statues guarding gentle rivers, derelict star ships scraping the sky, silhouettes of unknown technology haunting lonely deserts.
I often watch the credits of favourite Tv shows and anime hoping to see relevant art of the world. Most recently Disney’s the Mandalorian has offered great treats of art at the end of every episode, and I often watch thinking, “which one of these could have been used as a book cover if this was a novel?”
My debut novel presented me with the same question, as I could imagine several scenes that I would have loved even a novice artist to have drawn.
I thought about the amazing book covers of favourites like Chronicles of the Unhewn Thrown and Mistborn and various Warhammer novels, trying to think of a common trend. Usually the main characters are depicted, sometimes a city, sometimes a weapon, representing the overall theme of the book or the ultimate goal.
My first thought was to display the protagonist Larsen carrying his wife Gwen to a ruined city, but the scene seemed too intimate to be attractive to fantasy fans. Maybe I should display a stern-faced ruler sitting in darkness on a throne, something a friend warned me might resemble too much the political twists of Game of Thrones, which my novel definitely is not. Then how about just Gwen, peacefully lying motionless on a stone tablet? After all, she is the sole force that drives Larsen forward. But still, it might apply more to romance fans than fantasy, and I wanted a picture that implied more action.
I thought about having the major characters together that Larsen drags along his journey, all huddled in a cart speeding through a dark forest, hauled by the powerful charger Ruena. While it would have been a good display of the characters, I didn’t think that the forest was enough to represent the book.
So I settled on just Larsen racing across a pitted field on Ruena.
When I contacted my artist with the description this first draft was the result. And while it had the basic features of a horse and rider on a field, it lacked urgency, danger, despair. Larsen needed to be leaning forward to show he was focused, Ruena needed a better sense of speed to show the gallop, and something about the direction didn’t fit with me (maybe it’s the way we read from left to right).
We went through a couple more drafts, and after approving the art we moved on to a coloured electronic version.
I loved Larsen’s posture on the horse, and the gallop was perfect, but there were still several things wrong. Larsen needed to look like he went through a long, arduous journey, with bloodied bandages, ripped and ragged clothes, and unkempt facial hair. The cloth wrapping Ruena’s eyes was supposed to be a stripped bloodied rag, and the field was way too serene.
The location in the book was less like a tame savannah and more like an ancient battlefield, covered in crushed bone and shards of metal, broken ribs exposed in shattered armour, battered shields, rusted swords and axes, the remains of skulls, all scattered between the remnants of carts, large wheels half buried in debris, pieces of rope and huge chains looping in and out of the dirt.
I couldn’t get all the details of the pitted field, but I still love the result, giving a preview of a land named after the demon of insanity, Larsen’s ultimate destination.
King Larsen’s entire world shatters when his beloved queen Gwen becomes infected with an unknown illness and dies. He loses the will to rule, and his city Vivek is overthrown by King Malik of Holt Harbour. A year passes, Larsen never recovers from despair, lives as a vagabond just close enough to Gwen’s grave so he can visit her daily, and all his people suffer under Malik’s oppressive laws. However, Larsen learns that Gwen never actually died from her illness and a cure is possible by taking her into Desanorbis, a land named after the Servant of Insanity.
Larsen tries to ignore it, nothing but the ravings of a crazy Cord Master. His former general Carder certainly thinks so, and wants the fallen king to join the rebellion to take back the city. Meanwhile, the giant Dirk has found a new purpose as a member of the Guls in the remote village of Seaben, keeping it safe from the outlaws that frequently make port. Sounds easy enough. He was a feared warrior during the Battle of Vivek, he could certainly keep any scum from causing trouble, or so he thought. Something stalks the shadows of the village, and the Guls must catch it before it kills them all.
But to Larsen, none of it matters. Haunting dreams of Gwen are too much to bear. So he disregards all warnings, ignores better judgment, digs his love up from her grave and embarks on the quest, setting into motion a series of events that puts not just Vivek or Seaben, but the entire world in danger.
My debut novel Guardian of the Cursed crown releases on the Kindle bookstore March 4th 2023. Get parts I and II right now for free.
Jevon Knights is a fantasy writer and blogger who wants to entertain with amazing stories and enlighten with great content. He posts science fiction fantasy topics on his blog, Knights Writes, and invites you to download part I and II of his debut novel Guardian of the Cursed Crown for free.