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Tuesday, May 1, 2018

EXCLUSIVE COVER REVEAL: City Of Kings by Rob J. Hayes (by Mihir Wanchoo)


For the CITY OF KINGS cover I started with an idea. That idea was to get Shawn King to do all the hard work and make my book look pretty. I think it's fair to say he succeeded.

I approached Shawn with no pre-existing artwork and only a few examples of the sort of thing I wanted. My first thrust of an idea was something akin to Sebastien de Castell's Greatcoat's series. I had in mind a black rose, bleeding out across a white page and a furious battle reflected in the blood.



Shawn countered by conjuring an image of a battlefield with the fighting all but done, weapons and armour bloodied and strewn about the carnage. And standing prominently at the centre of the image, an axe, knocked and dinted from the battle, planted in the earth. The stem of a single black rose curled around the haft, blood dripping from its midnight petals.

Fanciful images both, but neither particularly practical for a book cover for various reasons. We hammered out the themes the cover needed. The single bleeding, black rose was the most obvious and was always going to be the most prominent of the features. Along with that there needed to be thorns, and a general feel of winter. The cover needed to be striking and work both as a paperback cover and an ebook cover, and it also needed to draw the eye when used as a thumbnail.

With a crack of the whip, I sent Shawn back to work. The smoke from his forge darkened the sky day and night, and finally he presented me with... the cover. I approved.

In truth I always knew I wanted Shawn to do the cover for this book. I've worked with him a number of times before and always been amazed by his talent, but this was the first time I decided to go for a full Shawn King original cover.

So with the process of cover creation detailed, I'll also tell you a little about the book. It's a continuation of my First Earth saga of books. It's a stand alone and is designed so it can be read independently of the other books with very little in the way of spoilers. It does, however, follow on from my debut trilogy, The Ties That Bind, and returns the action to the Untamed Wilds and to the Black Thorn and his crew of outlaws. And here's the official blurb:


Pre-order CITY OF KINGS over HERE

War makes monsters and corpses of us all.

For generations the blooded have ruled the Wilds, cultivating a lawless frontier and bleeding the good folk dry. The Black Thorn, once the most wanted outlaw the world has ever seen, is set on stopping them, and bringing an end to the great game that oppresses them all.

Crucible is the only blooded fortress left, but not for nothing is it called the City of Kings. Its defenses are unbreakable, its walls unassailable, all built so one hundred can hold back a thousand. Worse yet, the Black Thorn is running out of time and there are darker things hiding underground, looking to turn the city into a tomb.

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