2014 was a good year for Kameron Hurley. She won a Hugo Award. (Two of them, actually.) She announced a new book deal. And Angry Robot published her epic fantasy The Mirror Empire, the first volume of The Worldbreaker Saga, which broke out in a big way—and was subsequently nominated for a Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel and the David Gemmell Morningstar Award for Best Fantasy Newcomer.
How could 2015 hope to compare? Well, a great cover for Empire Ascendant, book two of The Worldbreaker Saga, certainly doesn’t hurt, and covers don’t come much better than this one. Artist Richard Anderson has once again created a striking piece of art that both perfectly encapsulates the series and calls out from the shelf, flat-out demanding to be read. Angry Robot has given us a chance to show off the full cover, which you’ll find below the plot teaser, along with the full front-and-back cover spread. Below the jump, we also have some thoughts on the design process from Kameron and Richard.
Loyalties are tested when worlds collide…
Every two thousand years, the dark star Oma appears in the sky, bringing with it a tide of death and destruction. And those who survive must contend with friends and enemies newly imbued with violent powers. The kingdom of Saiduan already lies in ruin, decimated by invaders from another world who share the faces of those they seek to destroy.
Now the nation of Dhai is under siege by the same force. Their only hope for survival lies in the hands of an illegitimate ruler and a scullery maid with a powerful – but unpredictable –magic. As the foreign Empire spreads across the world like a disease, one of their former allies takes up her Empress’s sword again to unseat them, and two enslaved scholars begin a treacherous journey home with a long-lost secret that they hope is the key to the Empire’s undoing.
But when the enemy shares your own face, who can be trusted?
Here’s Richard Anderson with his thoughts on the cover:
My inspiration for the cover of Empire Ascendant was to contrast the massive, cold, army invading, with the calmness and strength of the two main characters at the table. It was very important to me also that the colors of both The Mirror Empire and Empire Ascendant complement each other.
And here’s Kameron:
As has become usual working with Richard Anderson as artist and Marc Gascoigne doing cover direction, I was floored when I got the sketch for the cover of Empire Ascendant, and blown away by the final version. It’s an extraordinary piece of art that perfectly captures the high stakes of the book and its key characters. At the end of the day, Anderson’s work is more than just great cover art, it’s great art period.
Empire Ascendant is available pre-order now. It comes out October 6.