Blogosphere and on-line forums are full of discussions about the typical hooded figures on the cover of fantasy books. I know that some of the fantasy lovers can't stand covers displaying single hooded figures. I, personally, don't close the door on them categorically. It is art after all, and it depends on various facts such as the composition, colour scheme, movements etc.
Mark Lawrence's upcoming book (published on 4 Aug 2011 by Harper Voyager), Prince of Thorns, has such a cover. Even though the typical hooded figure is at the centre of the cover art, I really like it. At first glance, I thought the idea of being misty didn't go well with strong winds capable of lifting a cloak, but I must admit I quite like its black-and-white and lifeless background. In contrast, the main figure's colours and the movement of his cape create the main contrast. We are not sure if this young and delicate looking warrior is responsible of the carnage around him but the planted swords raise from the ground like the bloody thorns of a battlefield. The cover art is created by Jason Chan.
Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence
Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: Harper Voyager (4 Aug 2011)
Before the thorns taught me their sharp lessons and bled the weakness from me I had but one brother, and I loved him well. But those days are gone and what is left of them lies in my mother’s tomb. Now I have many brothers, quick with knife and sword, and as evil as you please. We ride this broken empire and loot its corpse. They say these are violent times, the end of days when the dead roam and monsters haunt the night. All that’s true enough, but there’s something worse out there, in the dark. Much worse.
Once a privileged royal child, raised by a loving mother, Jorg Ancrath has become the Prince of Thorns, a charming, immoral boy leading a grim band of outlaws in a series of raids and atrocities. The world is in chaos: violence is rife, nightmares everywhere. Jorg’s bleak past has set him beyond fear of any man, living or dead, but there is still one thing that puts a chill in him. Returning to his father’s castle Jorg must confront horrors from his childhood and carve himself a future with all hands turned against him.
Prince of Thorns is the first volume in a powerful new epic fantasy trilogy, original, absorbing and challenging. Mark Lawrence’s debut novel tells a tale of blood and treacher, magic and brotherhood and paints a compelling and brutal, sometimes beautiful, picture of an exceptional boy on his journey toward manhood and the throne.
"This is a lean, cold knife-thrust of a novel, a revenge fantasy anchored on the compelling voice and savage purpose of its titular Prince. There is never a safe moment in Lawrence’s debut." — Robert Redick, author of The Red Wolf Conspiracy