Hi everyone! Petrik from Novel Notions here.
No long introduction from me; the title of this post is self-explanatory, and I’m sure it’s why you’re here. But for those of you who somehow don’t know, John Gwynne is one of my top favorite authors and I will ALWAYS recommend his books to every epic fantasy reader. I’m simply gratified to be given the extraordinary honor of doing an exclusive cover reveal for A Time of Courage, the third—and final—book in Of Blood and Bone series. If you love epic fantasy with fantastic characterizations and phenomenal battle scenes, make sure to do yourself a favor and read ALL of Gwynne’s books. I truly believe that Gwynne is one of the greatest fantasy authors in the making; he already is one for me. Without further ado, here’s the epic cover of A Time of Courage!
Cover art by Paul Young
How epic is that!? Look at the details! *maximum heart eyes and weapons being raised*
I wish I could tell you the amazing things that are going on here in the cover art, but I’ll do you one better instead: here’s a short Q&A session with John Gwynne himself!
- Hi, John! Thank you so much once again for this incredible opportunity! I must say, that’s one epic cover art, man. Paul Young has been the illustrator for ALL of your seven books in the Banished Lands, for this particular cover, how involved are you with the creation process?
Hi Petrik, you’re very welcome, and I’m so pleased that you think the cover-art is epic. If there is one word that we hoped to evoke with this cover, that is the one. My publishers have always taken steps to involve me in talks about cover design for my books, and I have to say that it’s one of my favourite parts of the publishing process. Like anything in publishing, it is a team effort, starting with discussions between myself and Bella Pagan at Tor UK. My involvement centres around the feel of the cover – weapons used, picking out a few key references within the books for visuals, certain characters, styles of clothing and armour. It’s always great fun, having the opportunity to be involved in a process that’s attempting to visualize a world inside my head.
- It’s always good to hear that you’re involved in the cover art creation as well! And I’ll vouch that epic was definitely evoked here, I mean seriously, that cover art screams “final battle of an epic fantasy series” gloriously. Can you tell us some details in the artwork that might go unnoticed by your readers? (Note that there are spoilers in this specific answer for those who haven’t caught up with the series!)
There are some details in this cover that make my inner-geek extremely happy. The long-axe that takes centre stage is a weapon you’ll see a lot of in A TIME OF COURAGE. I don’t think it’s much of a spoiler to say that this is Asroth’s axe, the resurrected Lord of the Kadoshim demon-horde. Norse runes are carved on the haft, and when translated they say ‘the Final Battle.’ I love that, because that’s what this is, the seventh book in a 150 year history of the Banished Lands, and this is the battle that the whole series has been building towards. A showdown with Asroth.
There are some other touches in the background that I think are wonderful. The shields have the Bright Star as their emblem – readers of both of my Banished Lands series will know what that means. Also, in the sky there are Kadoshim and Ben-Elim, and this is the first time that either of those factions have been seen on a cover. Also, if you look close enough, you may recognise one of the winged characters. A woman, dapple-grey feathers, with a seax in each fist… This has made me inordinately happy.
- Arghhhh all of these makes me so excited to read the book already! Last but not least, this will officially mark the end of your second series, Of Blood and Bone will officially end, and the tale in the Banished Land will be concluded (for now) as you move on to your next series. How do you feel now that the cover art is officially out for the world to witness? Anything you want to say to your readers?
It is a strange feeling. The cover art is pretty much the final stage, the writing, various edits, proof-reads, acknowledgments and dedication are all done, so the cover art feels like that last stamp or seal. After that it’s a short wait until publication day. So, to see the cover art is much more than just visuals and an image. It marks an end to a journey and a lot of hard work. Although it isn’t really an end, more like a checkpoint, after which you see your creation take its first tottering steps out into the big wide world. So, to see the final cover art is both wonderful and emotional, a visualisation that marks the culmination of a tale that has been circling in my head for the best part of seventeen years. It’s bittersweet as well, to be saying goodbye to the characters and world, at least for the time being. It’s the nature of publishing, but as I am typing this today, I’m knee deep in writing book 1 of my new series, the Bloodsworn Saga, and I am so loving being in a new world and all the opportunities of invention and imagination that offers. But I will miss the Banished Lands. They have been a large part of mine and my family’s life for a long time, now.
To my readers, I’d like to say a huge thank-you. For making this adventure possible, for joining the warband and fighting your way through the battles, tragedies and victories in the Banished Lands. I hope you like this cover art, that it gives you a little taste of what is to come between the pages. And I hope that A TIME OF COURAGE feels like an emotionally satisfying end to that tale…at least, for now.
Thank you so much to John Gwynne and Pan Macmillan for allowing me and Novel Notions to host the cover reveal for A Time of Courage. Every member of Novel Notions is a HUGE fan of Gwynne’s work and it really means a lot for us to be given this incredible opportunity. This is one of my most anticipated books of 2020, and I await its release enthusiastically! Truth and Courage!
Thank you once again, and thank you to everyone for checking out this post!
A Time of Courage official release date: 2 April 2020 (UK) & 7 April 2020 (US)