Cover Reveal: The Shadow of the Gods (The Bloodsworn Saga, #1) by John Gwynne

Cover Reveal: The Shadow of the Gods (The Bloodsworn Saga, #1) by John Gwynne

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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 don’t know, John Gwynne is one of my top favorite authors, and I will ALWAYS recommend his books to every epic fantasy reader. The Banished Lands Saga (The Faithful and the Fallen quartet and Of Blood and Bone trilogy) by John Gwynne is one of my top three favorite completed series of all time; probably at the number one spot, actually. Today, I’m beyond honored and gratified to be given the extraordinary opportunity of doing an exclusive cover reveal for The Shadow of the Gods, the first book in The Bloodsworn Saga series—Gwynne’s first series outside of The Banished Lands. 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. Without further ado, here’s the epic cover of The Shadow of the Gods!

Cover art by Marcus Whinney

Cover design by Bekki Guyatt


How MAGNIFICENT is that!? But that’s not all; let’s raise the epicness scale. Here’s the full cover spread:

Set in a brand-new, Norse-inspired world, and packed with myth, magic and bloody vengeance, The Shadow of the Gods begins an epic new fantasy saga from bestselling author John Gwynne.

After the gods warred and drove themselves to extinction, the cataclysm of their fall shattered the land of Vigrið.

Now a new world is rising, where power-hungry jarls feud and monsters stalk the woods and mountains. A world where the bones of the dead gods still hold great power for those brave – or desperate – enough to seek them out.

Now, as whispers of war echo across the mountains and fjords, fate follows in the footsteps of three people: a huntress on a dangerous quest, a noblewoman who has rejected privilege in pursuit of battle fame, and a thrall who seeks vengeance among the famed mercenaries known as the Bloodsworn.

All three will shape the fate of the world as it once more falls under the shadow of the gods . . .


Seriously, this is one of the greatest cover arts I’ve ever seen. Look at the size of that dragon! Look how small the warrior is in comparison! That is like me challenging my TBR pile!

I’m honestly speechless by how good this cover art is. I feel that Orbit has done a terrific job; Gwynne’s books deserve a cover as epic and jaw-dropping as this, and I’m glad he’s getting one. Here are Gwynne’s thoughts regarding the cover art:

  • Okay, John, I’m not gonna lie, that cover is beyond incredible. It blew my mind away how magnificent and epic it is. What do you think about the cover art? Does it live up to your expectations?

Hi Petrik. I can’t tell you how pleased I am that you like the cover art for The Shadow of the Gods.

I am over the moon with it and feel that the cover has lived up to my expectations and exceeded them. To my mind Marcus Whinney, the artist, has come up with something exceptional.

There’s been a lot of back and forth between myself, my brilliant editor, James Long, and my bloodthirsty agent, Julie Crisp about the details, but from the first moment that I saw the very first draft I loved it. It feels like such a perfect fit for the story inside the covers, and the sense of scale and sheer Norse-ness of it all has exploded my epic-ometer! 🙂

  • Is this cover art an actual scene from the book?

The short answer is: yes! 🙂 There is some artistic license, here, but there is definitely a scene with a Norse warrior or two and a rather large dragon. I can’t wait for you to read it.

  • This cover art is a completely different direction from your previous books in The Banished Lands Saga. What can fans of your previous books expect here?

You’re absolutely right, Petrik, this is a very different style of cover from my previous books. That was intentional. We wanted to make it clear that this is the beginning of a new series set in a new world. A world that is deeply inspired by Norse mythology and Scandinavian culture. Beowulf and Ragnarök were my initial inspirations for this new tale. For the cover I asked my publisher, Orbit, to come up with something bold, artistic and epic, and I could not be happier with the result.

When I first began thinking about writing a Norse-inspired tale (which, being a Viking re-enactor, is something that I’ve wanted to do for a while) I came across a passage in the Poetic Edda, which is a collection of Scandinavian poems about Norse mythology. I was reading the Voluspa/the Seeress’s Prophecy, which deals mostly with Ragnarök, that end-of-days battle where the Norse gods fought themselves to extinction, and the world was made anew. I came to the very last passage, set in the aftermath of the battle, and it set my writerly nerves jangling:

‘There comes the shadow-dark dragon flying,

the gleaming serpent, up from Dark-of-Moon Hills;

Nidhoggr flies over the plain, in his pinions

he carries corpses.’

I thought, “oooh, I wonder what might have happened next?” And that’s where the Bloodsworn Saga began.

To answer your question of “what can readers of my previous books expect here?” Well, I hope that at the heart of anything I write you will find family and friendship, and a tale that examines the strength and power of those bonds. Of course, you will also find mercenary bands of warriors and shield walls and longships, and monsters of tooth and claw, and a good dose of magic, as well. Some love and betrayal, some vengeance and some hope. And a dragon.


Thank you so much to John Gwynne and Orbit Books for allowing me and Novel Notions to host the cover reveal of The Shadow of the Gods. Every member of Novel Notions is a HUGE fan of Gwynne’s works, and it really means a lot for us to be given this incredible opportunity. Out of all the amazing books being published this year, I can confidently say that this is my most anticipated book of 2021, and I await its release enthusiastically! Truth and Courage!

Thank you once again, and thank you to everyone for checking out this post!

-Petrik Leo


The Shadow of the Gods official release date: 6th May 2021 (UK) & 4th May 2021 (US)

You can now pre-order the book from: Amazon UK, Amazon US, and Book Depository (Free Shipping)

Special thanks to my Patrons on Patreon for giving me extra support towards my passion for reading and reviewing!

My Patrons: Alfred, Alya, Annabeth, Ben, Blaise, Devin, Diana, Edward, Estefani, Hamad, Helen, Jimmy Nutts, Joie, Lufi, Melinda, Mike, Miracle, Nicholas, Summer, Zoe.

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