New cover: NIKOLES

Just thought you might like to see this. I haven’t got the paperback version just yet. The new ebook cover won’t be live till later today or perhaps tomorrow, but here it is:

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12 thoughts on “New cover: NIKOLES”

  1. Off topic, but just finished reading Return of the Thief, and had some thoughts about issues you raised in your post:

    1) I think I agree with you on the age – Peris is just on the cusp of puberty, but small for his age because he was underfed growing up. If he’s 12-13ish, then his slightly younger brother would definitely still be solidly in “child” range, but old enough to be held to some responsibility for his actions

    2) Regarding the Medes’ apparent unconcern after seeing the Gods’ intervention, I don’t think they fully credited the healing after the trial – they probably assumed the injuries were exaggerated, or something like that. They didn’t have an ambassador there anymore by then, after all. Also, it’s mentioned a few times how much in fear of their emperor they are – even with that, though, I’d think the lightning strike would be pretty incontrovertible. Maybe at that point they figure they’re probably screwed either way?

    3) The Braeling ambassador, on the other hand, knows how the Gods intervened, and knows just how scary Gen can be when provoked to it, and I think he hurried home as fast as he could to encourage at least his king to make some major efforts to apologize and fix things. Not sure about the other Continental Powers on that front – not seeing a long, healthy life ahead for the Pent king, although maybe the other royals will talk Gen out of stirring things up too much with their neighbors.

  2. Sarah, thanks for your thoughts — I think you’re right about both the Medes and the Continental powers. I can imagine this scenario:

    “General! Lightning strike! Aaah!”
    “Yes, but if we retreat now, the Emperor will have me ganched. Forward!”

    Certainly if I were the king of any of those other countries, I’d be making a short list of the top five things that would be most likely to make the Peninsula happy and sending a new ambassador.

  3. On the Return of the Thief:
    I’d guessed Peris closer to 15, at least 14 and at most 16, his brother (nearly) 14 which IIRC was the age boys were considered ‘adult’ at least in some ways, such as becoming a soldier, and being held responsible for themselves and their own actions.

    Peris has had very little contact and education beyond his nurse and her cottage, keeping out of sight as much as possible since shortly after his young brother was taken away from him and nurse – if little brother was taken away at 4, Peris will have been growing up nearly feral since he was 6 or so. So he starts off at that point with a very limited 6 or 7 years old bullied kid’s understanding of the world, in a small and scrawny body from being underfed and under-exercised, as well as getting very little mental stimulation from his fearful old nurse. He may have picked up bits and pieces after that from spying and overhearing, but he’s mostly been hiding, so he will have had a very limited worldview as well as no personal experience of the way normal people interact (as he’s been trained to behave like he’s an idiot who can hardly do anything, from a very early age).

    That this looks to the reader like a 12 year old at the start doesn’t surprise me that much, when I think about it.

  4. On the new Nikoles cover: I like this style a lot, but I’m a bit geographically worried about the snow – green border in the background.
    I thought the border was the river, all along its length? Or at least as far as is visible from the area where these stories take place.
    But in the background the border runs along the crest of a hill, and that is not where a river would run.
    Still the snaking line along the crest looks as if it might be meant as a river (or else a road), so that green slope falling away fairly sharply to the right bothers me.
    The fall-off to the left is a little less noticeable, except for the direction of the tree-shadows, but together it’s really clear that the place where the border runs is the highest line.

  5. I know it’s a bit iffy, but the artist really wanted the dividing line down the middle, and I eventually said okay.

  6. Then the artist should have let the green land rise a bit beyond the river before letting it fall off, and put the treeshadows on the snow at a slightly different angle so that last snowplain dips a bit towards the river.
    The green and white area distributions may look really well this way, but having a river running along the top of a row of hills is really weird and unnatural.
    Well okay, so is that abrupt border, but as that is a basic bit of this fantasy worldbuilding, with the deities determining the temperature and skies (in my mind, in effect keeping two different worlds smooshed against each other so they connect and crossovers are possible), I’ve accepted that. But the boundary river not behaving like a river shocks my sense of the world you built.
    For a new reader who doesn’t know the story it might be fine, just an extra signal of the fantastical elements of this world, and not to expect the natural environment to behave like a normal landscape would.

    Anyway, it *is* a pretty cover, I really like the more delicate detailing in each half of the landscape, and the carefully shaded differentiation of the sky too. Except for the water not always running downhill, this artist does pay good attention to the details of the landscapes, and that makes them look real.

    After the snow tiger on Tuyo, the wolf here helps keep the theme, as does the bicolored landscape.
    Maybe keep that theme with a half green and half yellow (or reddish) sand cover with a prominent jackal for the story involving the summerlands?

  7. You know what, I think I will include something in book three justifying that, Hanneke. I might even go back and add something to NIKOLES, since, I mean, I could do that.
    That river really is supernatural … and it does move according to events in the world. I will give that a little thought.

    For the book where we see the land south of the summer country, I am thinking Sahara-like desert on the right and non-desert on the left. Not sure about the border-marker. A jackal would definitely be appropriate. It will be awhile before we get there.

  8. I can see Hanneke’s point, but also agree with the artist that it does LOOK really cool—I really like this artist’s style and I’m looking forward to eventually stocking these copies on my shelves (once I have physical shelf space and not just digital!)

  9. My two bits worth – I like the dividing line. I actually thought that the line on the ridge was just the ridgeline and not the river. That is, I assumed there was some artistic license deviating from the book canon that the river was the dividing line. I’m completely fine with that. It gets the concept across well. If you want to retcon the river magically flowing in weird ways, that’d be fine, too, but I wouldn’t feel like it was necessary. Covers take artistic license on plot details all the time.

  10. AT first I liked it, but the more I looked, the more it seemed off. Should my eye be drawn to that bright blotch of waterfall(?) in the middle where there isn’t anything? And why does it seem to go flat instead of expand in the distance? And somehow it looks crooked, makes the book look like it slants to the right.

    Then I called over the Teen who draws and paints when hands/arms/nerves are functional, and had very strong opinions. Negative ones, I’m afraid. It’s digital isn’t it, the art? It shows in the overly textured stuff at the front that doesn’t fade out properly in the distance. The artist was clearly thinking in a grid and it’s far too obvious. Then it went off into perspective and technicalities I can’t reconstruct. Boiled down to ‘doesn’t draw the eye in. Just messes with perspective.’

    The Teen has had Opinions about other covers, too. Some Sanderson books and the Martha Wells Raikirreth(?) got multi-day rants.

    So… likeable at first glance, definitely eye catching! maybe not so great for the artistically inclined to stare at, unlike a Kinuko Craft or Michael Whelan.

    And I hope the book was actually slanted in the photo.

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