Pawns, knights and kings…
I’m in a bit of a dilemma about the cover of the next book. The title as everyone knows, is Gisborne: Book of Kings.
This doesn’t necessarily refer to monarchs though. The trilogy’s titles have tended to be built around the awful manipulation of people’s hearts and souls in the Middle Ages and so we began with Pawns, moved across the board with Knights and will have the denoument with Kings.
Thus the cover could indicate a king, an emperor or even a duke. It could be Richard Lionheart, Phillip of France, Leopold of Austria – even Emperor Henry Hohenstauffen. Or none of them…
The over-riding factor is that in order to bind the three novels of the trilogy together the subjects of the covers must all be taken from paintings by Rogier van der Weyden.
Yes, I am aware that this august painter lived in the fifteenth century, but faces in twelfth century paintings are invariably maudlin, gothic and elongated. My brief to my cover designer has been that I want ‘interesting’ faces.
This is what we have found…
The problem is: which one? Any ideas?
Prue, I love the first face, so complex and sensitive. Who is it? Of course, it depends on the type of character you’re wanting to convey. Ann xx
Hallo Anne – one of the many burghers van der Weyden painted, I dare say. It just says ‘Portrait of a Man’ and is held in the Hulton Fine Art Collection. As you can see, quite a bit of work would have to be done after the image is purchased without watermark from Getty, to remove fifteenth century hats etc.
That gentleman does have a wonderful face, doesn’t he? He could be anyone – which I like, as the idea of concealed identities is one of the central themes running through this final book.
The last thing I would want is to define a particular character from the book. I want more of a mood/atmosphere. I always think readers should be at liberty to identify characters themselves. I always feel hardly done by when someone takes that from me by slapping a photograph of a musclebound man or buxom woman on a cover. Takes away the mystery, I think. And what is reading but unravelling mysteries in their purest sense…
You have some of the most beautiful covers around, Prue! I think I like the middle one, but that may be because he looks older (more “kingly”) and he has a book. 🙂 Also I think he might go best with your other two covers. But they’re all suitable. Have fun choosing!
Thank you so much, Anne! And I tremble at the thought my cover designer may leave the trade and move on!!!
It’s funny you should say the second one – it’s the one I have leaned toward all through. But the designer is an absolute wizard in securing just the right mood and it will be interesting to see which one she errs toward…
I like the first face. There is a sensitivity to it that makes me wonder what he’s thinking.
He’s certainly got a highly emotive face and is incredibly good looking. A lot of van der Weyden faces are rather ‘warts and all’. No photoshop in those days!
The first one. His hat is more ‘kingly’ than two and his face is more appealing. Three, I think, is the same man as ‘book of knights’.
Hi Elizabeth. Unfortunately the hat would have to be ‘lost’ as it’s a fifteenth century hat and the trilogy is 12th century and specialists pick up on things like that so quickly and review accordingly.
Interestingly number three isn’t the same man as ‘Knights’. Look at that nose – a fabulous hook whereas ‘Knights’ man has very smooth features. You can see what a dilemma ‘choice’ causes. I am spoiled by choice!
Yes, number one is definitely all about the hat – the actual guy himself looks like a mannequin. Number two looks like a supporting character to me, but number three is magic. Have you thought about a female portrait?
I hadn’t thought of another woman. It’s hard to imagine a woman’s face with the title ‘Kings’. But anything’s possible. And 3 is looking more and more possible because of the faults in his face. Lots of character…
The first one.
The second image is more scholarly than kinlgy.
Grace – I’ve set up three cups and am starting to place slips of paper in each. When the decision is reached, I shall burn them and you will see the plume of smoke and know that a decision has been made! 🙂
Number one because he does look kingly or number two because I love that he is holding a book.
Marsha, I’m in such a dilemma now because each of the portraits is securing their own dedicated following! As i said to grace, each vote goes in a cup and the results will be burned and the resultant plume of smoke will indicate a decision! Gulp.
Black smoke or white smoke?
Definitely white! 😉
Definitely first one . Very kind eyes . Second preference is number 2 . Third feels a little incongruous with title – even though you are not necessarily referring to monarchs , the vague sense of incongruity could be off putting to someone who hasn’t read the other books or who comes across the book in isolation from others . Good luck with choosing .
Thank you Dianne, and welcome back to the blog after a long time away. You can see why I have divided the votes into 3 cups – so many different viewpoints!
I vote for the first pic who seems more complex and mature than the man pictured on book 2. But my vote really goes for getting this book published!!!! so I can find out what happens to this “motley” crew of characters.
Bless you, Maggie. I am trying to get it written – honestly I am.
I love your description of a ‘motley’ crew. It was important to me when writing, to have a mix of people across the board. Whilst we know of strict delineation in society, Ysabel and Guy had moved beyond that, had come to know such diverse and fascinating people that I wanted them all to play a part in the tapestry of the story. Would a woman like Ysabel have been ‘friends’ with her blacksmith or with the shady skipper of a nef or galley? Purists would say never! I however, say differently. When someone is exiled from their society, they survive as best they can, don’t they? And relationships across the social spectrum have great substance and meaning. Such is Ysabel’s and Guy’s life.
I am catching up on my e-mails~been a while. Do you have a guess-ti-mate as to publishing your next Gisborne book?
Hi Maggie – it’s almost finished and my editor and I anticipate a May release. Feel free to let anyone who loves Gisborne know! 🙂
Thanks a Million!!!!!