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Friday, August 2, 2019

Cover Reveal & Guest Post: Blood Under Water by T. A. (Toby) Frost



Blood Under Water is the second adventure for Giulia Degarno: assassin, thief-catcher, occasional thief and the closest thing that the magically-enhanced Renaissance has to a tough private eye. She and her friend Hugh – an aging but still dangerous knight – have travelled to the city-state of Averrio to seek a new life. However, when two old friends of Hugh’s mysteriously arrive, and the body of a priest is found floating in a canal, Giulia finds herself accused of murder. Wanted by the City Watch, and hunted by an evil conspiracy, she has a week to find the killer – or go to the gallows in his place.

I’m no expert in how pictures and art are produced. However, as the author, I had a pretty strong idea of how I’d want someone to view both Giulia’s first adventure, Up To The Throne, and the sequel, Blood Under Water, and the feelings and ideas that I’d like them to take away from seeing the covers. I’ve been very lucky with covers, and my illustrator, Claire Peacey of Autumnsky has done a terrific job.



Claire and I agreed that the covers for all the Giulia books – I plan to release a trilogy – would need reoccurring features to link them, while depicting different aspects of Giulia’s world. Obviously, the titles and other writing are presented in a very similar way on both covers. Likewise, the colours are quite muted and sinister. Also, on both covers the reader’s eye follows a cloaked figure into a mysterious world.

I wanted the book covers to reflect both the literal things in the story and its overall tone. While there is violence in both books, it’s rapid and unheroic. A cover involving combat wouldn’t be appropriate. Also, I wanted to show some of the setting: its architecture, and its sense of foreboding. I’m a big fan of Mervyn Peake’s Gormenghast books, and that sense of the surroundings reflecting the tone of the story really appeals to me.

Obviously, having a human figure on a cover lends the book a more, er, human feeling. In crude, D&D terms, Giulia is a thief, but what sort of thief? I saw her as pragmatic, rather cynical, a little like a private detective. She definitely isn’t like Catwoman. So she ended up with a short, practical cloak and dark, anonymous clothing. Also, I didn’t want people to see Giulia’s face. It’s scarred, but it’s up to the reader to decide how bad those scars are. Sometimes, I think, it’s important to let readers make decisions in a book for themselves.


One aspect that I particularly like is the square-and-circle shape around the edge. This acts as a frame, but also suggests the outline of Leonardo da Vinci’s famous drawing of the Vitruvian Man, which hints at the Renaissance technology that powers Giulia’s world. All credit here to Claire – it was her idea and it works really well!

Overall, I’m really pleased with both covers. I feel that they capture the style of the novels without giving too much away. I’m looking forward to coming up with ideas for the third cover – something with Romans, perhaps, and undead…

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Pre-order Blood Under Water over HERE (releasing on August 5, 2019)

OFFICIAL BOOK BLURB: When there's blood in the water, there'll be death on the streets... …

Giulia thought that coming to Averrio would be the start of a new life. But when a renegade priest turns up dead in a canal, the City Watch needs somebody to take the blame. And who better than a woman with a dark past and an even darker future? …

Now Giulia has seven days to clear her name and find the killer. But as the violence mounts and the danger rises, she comes up against a conspiracy founded on gold, murder and evil magic. Giulia must deal with a cunning, ruthless enemy - and friends she may no longer be able to trust.


Official Author Website

OFFICIAL AUTHOR INFORMATION: T. A. (Toby) Frost is the author of the Warhammer 40,000 novel Straken, published by Black Library, and six science fiction comedy novels about Space Captain Smith, published by Myrmidon Books. Toby has written short stories for Black Library and the collections Sharkpunk and The Immersion Book of Steampunk, as well as articles for the website Fantasy Faction. …

Up To The Throne is Toby’s first self-published novel, and is a tale of intrigue and revenge in a magically-supercharged Renaissance. He has recently finished writing the sequel, Blood Under Water, which will be out in paperback and on Kindle on August 5th 2019. First chapters and more information are available at his website.

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