Cover Reveal: The Combat Codes (The Combat Codes Saga, #1) by Alexander Darwin

Cover Reveal: The Combat Codes (The Combat Codes Saga, #1) by Alexander Darwin

Hi everyone! Petrik from Novel Notions here.

We have an incredibly exciting post today. Orbit Books has asked Novel Notions to host the cover re-reveal of a book I’ve read and enjoyed almost two years ago: The Combat Codes by Alexander Darwin. This was originally a self-published novel that became one of the finalists in SPFBO 6th. Orbit has announced its acquisition six months ago, and now, The Combat Codes is receiving a brand-new cover art, design, and publication date. I also had the opportunity to chat a bit with Alexander Darwin himself regarding the new cover and what’s new with the Orbit edition. It is an honor for me and Novel Notions to post the cover art to The Combat Codes. Without further ado, here’s the NEW cover reveal to The Combat Codes by Alexander Darwin!

Cover art illustrated by Peter Bollinger

Cover designed by Lauren Panepinto


Title: The Combat Codes

Series title: The Combat Codes Saga (Book 1)

Author: Alexander Darwin

Publishing date: June 13th, 2023

Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy

Publisher: Orbit

Formats: eBook, Paperback

Twitter: @combatcodes

Official Blurb:

The first book in a debut, action-packed and character-driven science fiction trilogy set in a far future world where the fate of nations is determined by battle-hardened warriors who are trained to compete in brutal single combat.

Hundreds of years ago on a planet once ravaged by war, the nations swore an armistice never to use weapons of mass destruction again. Today, battle-hardened warriors known as Grievar Knights train to represent their nations’ interests in brutal hand-to-hand combat.

Murray Pearson was once a famed Knight until he suffered a loss that crippled his nation — but now he’s on the hunt to find and train the next champion.

In underground and ruthless combat rings, an orphaned boy called Cego is making a name for himself. Murray believes Cego has what it takes to make it in the world’s most prestigious combat academy – but Cego has to fight his way out of the underground first.


 Short Q&A

Hi Alex! Congratulations for the new cover reveal to The Combat Codes! It’s been quite an adventure, isn’t it?

Hi Petrik!

So happy you’re going to be revealing the new cover a bit later this month. We’ve really come a long way, huh? From you first reviewing / revealing some of the self pub covers in 2020, to us now looking upon the upcoming Orbit release… I’m still in shock that I’m going to be released by my favorite publisher.
Orbit is my favorite traditional publisher, too, I’m happy to see you’re being published by them. What do you think about the new cover art to your debut?
You’ll notice the style is obviously quite different from Felix’s artwork in the self pub version. I love that version, but I’m quite happy with Peter Bollinger’s and Lauren’s work. Orbit really knows the market well, and understands that the symbolic dragon will sync with the right readers online and in bookstores. They did a similar transformation with Evan Winter’s Rage of Dragons (going from artistic character renditions to symbolic covers).
It’s a completely different style to Felix Ortiz’s rendition, but I do agree it is striking and eye-catching in its own way. Now, remembering that this was originally self-published, are there any changes or updates given to the traditionally published edition?
As you know I’ve made quite a few updates to the book. I’ve added nearly 30,0000 words to the Combat Codes to make the characters more in-depth, expand on the worldbuilding and of course add more action. I really feel like I’m being given an extraordinary second chance to let this series reach its full potential. Utilizing the expertise of the Orbit team along with years of reviewer feedback (including your own), this book has truly leveled up, and just in time to release it to a wide audience of new readers.
In addition, I’ve been able to look back from having written the entire series and make sure the first book fully lines up with ongoing plotlines and character development.  Joe Abrecrombie recently spoke about writing his entire newest series prior to releasing the first book to ensure the best quality, and I fully agree there are massive advantages to being able to do this.
As for those who have already read the self pub versions, I believe there is more than enough new content to entice them back into the world of the Combat Codes. If this series performs to all of our expectations, I’d love to write either prequels or sequels in the same world.
And to answer a question for many readers, new and old, why the dragon? Well, this goes along with the extensive new worldbuilding in the Combat Codes. Flux Tattoos were always one of my favorite concepts. Imagine having a tattoo moving across your body as if it had a life of its own, almost like a pet or familiar. I expanded on this concept a bit, and the dragon on the cover certainly plays into that. In fact, I’m even considering getting a version of this dragon as my own first real tattoo.
Well, not gonna lie, I think all of these sound exciting. Thank you so much for coming to my channel to talk about these. I look forward to reading the new form of The Combat Codes and witnessing all the new additions to the book!
Again, I really appreciate you doing the reveal. It’s great to bring you along this journey with me Petrik. And hopefully when you get a chance to read the new version, you’ll see the changes I worked towards using your feedback and those of other readers.
Thanks again and feel free to reach out with any questions.

I want to give my special thanks to Alexander Darwin, Angela, & Orbit for allowing Novel Notions the honor and pleasure of hosting the exclusive cover reveal for The Combat Codes. As fantasy enthusiasts and self-proclaimed connoisseurs of book cover art, it means a lot for me and all of us here at Novel Notions to be given this opportunity. It goes without saying that I’m looking forward to rereading The Combat Codes!

Lastly, thank you to everyone for taking the time to read this post!


You can pre-order this book from: Amazon 


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

My Patrons: Alfred, Andrew, Andrew W, Annabeth, Casey, Diana, Dylan, Edward, Elias, Ellen, Ellis, Gary, Hamad, Helen, Jesse, Jimmy Nutts, Joie, Kristina, Lana, Leigh, Luis, Lufi, Melinda, Meryl, Michael, Miracle, Nanette, Neeraja, Nicholas, Radiah, Reno, Samuel, Sarah, Sarah, Scott, Shawn, Xero, Wendy, Wick, Zoe.

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