Friday Faceoff – As Old As the Hills…


This meme was started by Books by Proxy, whose fabulous idea was to compare UK and US book covers and decide which is we prefer. This week’s theme is mountains and hills, so I have selected C.J. Cherryh’s first book in her cracking Finisterre duology, Rider at the Gate.

rideratthegateThis is the cover produced by Aspect in September 1996. It certainly gives a sense of the bitterly cold weather and mountainous, challenging landscape. I also love the pink sky, but the great clunky chunks of purple with the raised title and author name do detract from the overall look of the cover, I think.


This hardcover edition was published by Aspect in August 1995. While I think the figures are depicted with plenty of drama and movement, once more the title crashes through the artwork and mood.

rideratthegate2This offering, published by Hodder & Stoughton in January is another view of the first snowscape. While the title and author’s name is prominent, at least it doesn’t completely swamp the artwork and mood music. I love the colouring, and this cover is my favourite, despite the poor quality of the reproduction.

rideratthegate3This cover is for the January 1995 edition, published in Franced J’ai Lu. And what a difference a sympathetic font makes… Suddenly the arresting picture on the front is able to bounce off the cover and shout ‘Buy me – I’m a wonderful story!’. Which, indeed it is. Which of these covers is your favourite?

15 responses »

  1. I haven’t read the book or even seen it until now, but if I saw the various versions on the bookstore shelf, I’d definitely reach for the last cover. It is the cleanest, most expressive and most balanced of all the offerings.

    • That’s okay:). They certainly aren’t the best covers out there – but the book is a gem of a read and we had to include covers with mountains on and I couldn’t find anything else that I’d read (a personal must for me) that was better.

  2. I grew up with the style of the first, so it doesn’t bother me too much and I prefer the blue colour scheme to the yellow/red, as well as landscape to characters. That said the newer version of the landscape (H&S) is probably my favourite of them. Part of my hesitation in reading Cherryh had always been the covers though – so often so 80s!

  3. Totally agree with your choice. The first one – that font is almost difficult to read. The others, the artwork isn’t quite right for me somehow – can’t pin it down.
    Lynn 😀

    • Thank you:). I’m aware that culturally, I’m more drawn to the landscape rather than covers featuring people – but I do love the slight sense of strangeness in that third cover.

  4. Looks like the author had a bad luck when it comes to this one. I can’t find a single one I like, and I agree that in the first one the letters are a horrible distraction. The second wouldn’t be bad if someone had stuck to the space for name/title the artist left on the top instead of making it bigger (while the French edition leaves too much of this blank space, in my opinion).

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