Talk about combining two good things: the Friday competition over at our Tor Facebook page with the exclusive (unless he's beaten us to it) cover reveal of Mark Charan Newton's new novel, the beginning of his new series: Drakenfeld which we're publishing in October this year.

Inspired by writers such as C J Sansom and Don DeLillo, Mark has created a thrilling crime novel with a fantastical edge, set against the backdrop of a Byzantine/Ancient Roman landscape. With all the scope, colour and imagination that made his Legends of the Red Sun series so popular, Mark returns with a brilliantly conceived main character who is sure to enthrall both old readers and new.

We had some interesting cover meetings in trying to find the right mix for this novel. We didn't want to go down the hooded man route, despite knowing how much you all love that particular look, we wanted it to look different from the previous series but also more crime/historical-looking to match the storyline.

I am Lucan Jupus Drakenfeld, second son of Calludian, Officer of the Sun Chamber and keeper of the peace. Sometimes people get in the way of that ambition . . .

The monarchies of the Royal Vispasian Union have been bound together for two hundred years with treaties and laws maintained and enforced by the powerful Sun Chamber. As a result, a long harmony has existed, nations have flourished, and civil wars are a thing of the past. But corruption, deprivation and murder will always find a way to thrive . . .

Upon receiving news of his father’s death and recalled to his home city of Tryum, Drakenfeld is soon embroiled in a mystifying case. King Licintius’ sister, Lacanta, has been found brutally murdered during a night of festivities - her beaten and bloody body discovered in a locked temple. Despite hundreds of revellers, no one saw anything. With rumours of dark spirits and political assassination, Drakenfeld soon has his work cut out for him trying to separate superstition from certainty.

With his assistant, Leana, he embarks on the biggest and most complex investigation of his career, revisiting the ancient streets of his past, tracking down leads, interviewing suspects and making new enemies in his search for the truth.

His determination to find the killer soon makes him a target, as the underworld of Tryum focuses on this new threat to their power . . .

So this went down incredibly well in the covers meeting with a unanimous YES from sales and marketing (almost unheard of!). We showed it to Mark who also loved it and had this to say: What I like about this design is how, aside from the fact that it's a great graphic, is that the banners - or rather the nations and nationalism they represent - are actually very important to the ongoing storyline. The cover design also comes across as something that would appeal to a wide range of readerships, which is always pleasing for an author. And even on a simple, gut reaction level it's immensely striking and eye-catching. It pushes all my buttons.'

There are still tweaks to be made. Shoutlines to be added, quotes to change etc. This is a cover rough rather than the final version BUT who can wait that long to see it? Sooooo - drum roll please? The cover design that we all fell in love with. Hope you like it too!


For a chance to win a set of the entire series of Legends of the Red Sun then just head over to the Tor Facebook page and tell us which detective mixed with a fantasy setting you'd find most entertaining to read. We'll chose the best next week.