The Bone Ships by RJ Barker – COVER REVEAL
Today I am Excited (with a capital ‘E’) to reveal the cover for RJ Barker’s The Bone Ships.
For anyone who hasn’t heard of him (really? The Antler Overlord himself?) RJ Barker is one of fantasy’s rising stars. His first series, the Wounded Kingdom trilogy (Age of Assassins, Blood of Assassins, King of Assassins) was released start-to-finish within the space of 12 months and was nominated for multiple awards in fantasy. He writes with wit and wisdom, crafting stories that breathe life into the books they are recorded within. Reading an RJ Barker novel is like being sat around a fire, hearing the story first-hand from the storyteller himself.
The Bone Ships is a departure from the Wounded Kingdom series, and with it Barker plots a new course across the open seas. Brimming with wonderful worldbuilding and compelling characters, it is a departure from the Barker readers know, but it is most certainly the same Barker we love. I have been lucky enough to read a very early version of the story, back when it was still a work in progress, and it blew me away. The thing that struck me immediately is that here is an author who can do it again, differently, and do it as fantastically as the first time. This isn’t an evolution, or a change per se (though admittedly Barker has grown as an author, and this shows in The Bone Ships); it’s more Barker showing a side of him that we as readers haven’t had the chance to see much of before. Reading it, I knew this was an RJ Barker book – I could feel it in my bones in the same way Barker poured himself into the bones of the book.
Into the Bone Ships themselves.
Enough of my rambling. Let’s get to the good bit! The cover:
‘Enter the Hundred Isles, where ships made from the bones of extinct dragons battle for supremacy on the high seas.
Our hero Meas Gibryn must unite a crew of condemned criminals for a suicide mission when the first live dragon in centuries is spotted in far off waters…
The first book in a bold new epic fantasy trilogy from Gemmell, Kitschie and British Fantasy Award-nominated RJ Barker, author of Age of Assassins.’
In my honest opinion, the cover is perfect. The designer, Hannah Wood, has crafted a masterpiece with it. I genuinely do not have the words to describe it other than to say it sums up the book better than I can. We all know the saying ‘a picture paints a thousand words’ – well, this one paints a novel.
Here’s what RJ Barker had to say about the cover:
‘I love this cover, it is ferocious. I’ve loved it since I saw the first roughs by the designer Hannah Wood, and although the actual design has changed the style of those original pictures has been kept and the designer stuck to their guns. I am so glad they did. I love the font and I love the woodcut style, I love the subtle echoes of Tudor and Norse and the hints of maps and navigation in it.
Oh, and I love that dragon, stylistic, fierce in a way that makes me think of Meas, one of the primary characters. I only hope my words will do justice to this image.’
The Bone Ships is scheduled for release 26th September.