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Anatomy of a fantasy cover redesign

27/07/2010. Contributed by Isabel Morgan

Buy Secrets of the Fire Sea in the USA - or Buy Secrets of the Fire Sea in the UK

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HarperCollins Voyager, the fantasy and science fiction imprint of HarperCollins, is currently in the process of re-jacketing many of the old classics on their list to bring the novels up-to-date. So what’s the new look for authors like Raymond E. Feist and Stephen Hunt? SFcrowsnest investigates.

Some of the first Voyager re-covers to hit the market will be for the Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts’ ‘Empire’ trilogy – while British fantasy author Stephen Hunt’s works are also being re-designed, with the paper-back of his 4th novel in the Jackelian series, ‘Secrets of the Fire Sea’, breaking away from the look of the current hardback’s jacket. These new designs will be on sale in September 2010.

When word of Stephen Hunt’s redesign filtered through the market, the original hardback for ‘Secrets of the Fire Sea’ sold out of its last print run on Amazon within days, with collectors purchasing what they anticipate now becoming a collectable.

The original designs for Stephen Hunt’s Jackelian fantasy series featured a line-work motif that echoed the Victorian level of society which features in Hunt’s imagined ‘Kingdom of Jackals’ – a post-ice age take on what England transforms into millions of years in the future, filled with page-turning jeopardy, intrigue, strange races and the debris of lost civilisations.

The new jacket designs feature a more contemporary take on Hunt’s creations, suggestive of the mystery, romance and adventure which runs through the novels.

Literary agent John Jarrold, who represents Stephen Hunt, said the designs “are quite dashing”, while Hunt himself commented, “It’s an opportune moment with the print runs for the Jackelian books still selling out and new editions about to hit the bookshops, to seize the opportunity to do something distinctive and fresh for their covers.”

What do readers think of the new designs?

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