I’ve been writing. You’ve been reading. But that’s not all that’s been going on—while we’ve been doing our part, the extremely awesome Drew Baker has been mulling over the book’s cover.

Drop by that site I’ve linked above. Drew is an incredible artist, and I’m sure you’ll be impressed with his work. (If you play L5R, D&D, or Warlord, chances are you already have been.) Once you’ve done that, so you have a sense of how a finished piece might come across, have a look at this short progression of initial sketches:

An initial idea: Martin outside the castle, surveying the work to be done.

A second concept, this time moving Martin into the Old Church in Liege. That would be a fresco of Saint Martin, on his horse with the cloak and the beggar and all that, in the background.

Another take on the same scene, giving Martin a more dynamic pose and upping the tension in the piece.

In our discussions, we’ve kicked around how to convey Martin’s modern background, but ultimately decided that there wasn’t any great way to do it—and that it wasn’t really that important, anyway. Drew had this to say: “The story is about him fitting into his new world, not him being ‘The Man From the Future!’. You established the conceit straight away, but it’s mostly served to make him the stranger in a strange land, and we learn about the world along with him. None of the Avatar posters or covers focus on Jake Sully being paraplegic—it’s the same thing.” Well stated.

I’ve known Drew for a very long time. I’d like to say I “discovered” him, in the sense that I gave him one of his first professional commissions, for a Millennium’s End book that was unfortunately never published (but for which he drew some excellent pieces). Truth be told, though, with his skill and talent his discovery by others was quick and inevitable. Coincidentally, one of his earliest jobs was illustrating the Triamore Sourcebook I wrote for Ars Magica—a sourcebook set in a Brabantine manor that was a sort of prototype for the Bois de Haillot of this novel. This was not long after Drew had done the Millennium’s End work, and I don’t think either one of realized our mutual involvement in the project until we each got our contributor copies! As if that’s not enough, I have one of Drew’s original oils up on my living room wall. So to say that I respect and admire the man’s work would be an understatement!

I really like the direction these sketches are heading—what do you think?

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