So there is to be a new UK Mass-Market Paperback Edition of THE gritty epic fantasy debut of 2006 (obviously excluding Scott Lynch’s, Brian Ruckley’s, or Tom Lloyd’s, and no, Pat Rothfuss was 2007, you cheeky so-and-sos), The Blade Itself , appearing in time for Christmas, and it looks a-little something like this:
The existing UK Mass-Market paperbacks are B-Format (slightly larger size), these will be A-Format (classic small bookstand size), and hence probably somewhat fatter (so pretty damn fat – 624 pages). The long established parchmenty treatments have, of course, served the books well on both sides of the pond:
Which will continue to be printed, in fact, and so will co-exist with the new treatments for the time being. Indeed the original covers (by design sorceress Laura Brett) have probably been the most consistently admired thing about the series. But there was a feeling that theyweren’t necessarily grabbing the core epic fantasy reader as hard as they might be, or at least that an alternate, more classic cover might broaden the market, and possibly encourage better buying-in and shelving from some booksellers.
Art is by Chris McGrath who does a lot of Urban Fantasy covers but less epic-style stuff, and I reckon he’s done a bang up job. Gritty, impactful, and says epic fantasy without the slightest whiff of cheesiness (which is not an easy trick to pull off). Not at all a bad representation of Master Ninefingers either. Never an easy thing for an author to see his/her characters made manifest like that. Glokta (Before They are Hanged) and Jezal (Last Argument of Kings) will be following over the next few months, at which point there’ll probably be some tweaking to give it more of a unified series feel…