Friday Faceoff – It shuffles through the dry, dusty darkness…


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 the theme is mummification,, so I’ve chosen The Osiris Ritual – Book 2 of the Newbury and Hobbs seriesby George Mann – see my review here.


This gorgeous cover, produced by Snow Books in September 2009, is my favourite. I love the colours, the vivid colouring and beautiful, apt detail. The balance of information against that eye-catching design is perfect – in short this is one of my all-time favourite covers and is certainly the best of this selection.


This edition, produced in August 2010 by Tor Books is also a great effort. The giant sphinx and dark, muted colours certainly give a sense of the threat and catch the eye. I also like the title and author fonts, but it does lack the wonderful detail and flair of the previous cover.


Published in February 2012 by Piper, this is yet another strong offering, with plenty going on that is particularly applicable to the content. I like the steampunk cogs decorating the frame – enjoyable as well as informative – while the bridge disappearing off into the distant London landscape works well, given what the Osiris ritual is all about.


This cover, produced by Titan Books in November 2015, is another effective effort. The gold immediately sings out, drawing the eye and definitely setting it apart on the shelf – and again, I appreciate the icon that lets the reader know this is steampunk. It also sports the Newbury and Hobbes label – appropriate as this detective duo set in a steampunk version of Victorian London now has a solid fan following.


This edition was produced by Fahrenheitbooks in November 2014. This is the weakest effort, with a generic image that I don’t think works all that well with the font. Having said that, you would certainly notice it on a bookshelf. Which is your favourite?

29 responses »

  1. I have to agree, the Snow Books cover is stunning! I’m not familiar with this book at all, and I’m curious about the combination of mummies and steampunk. I posted my very first Friday Face Off today, it was a blast:-)

  2. I would choose any of the books off the shelf just for its cover, but to be honest, if I recognized the cogs as a steampunk incentive, I might turn it down. I am not sure I understand the term/genre steampunk anyway. When did it begin to be used? Is it used universally or mainly in the UK and outside the States? Does it indicate machinery? I am thinking of the NBC version of Emerald City where one of the characters is partially reconstructed by machinery or even the machine/clock in Wicked. Please advise if you can. TY

    • Steampunk is a sub-genre of science fiction where all sorts of cool devices are powered by steam. It is often an alternative history, frequently set in a Victorian-type world and is often quirky and rather dark, but often with shafts of humour and strong feisty women. There is some argument about when it started, but the first use of the term was back in the early 1980’s by J.W. Jeter, submitting a piece of work and describing it as a ‘steam punk’ adventure – which was clearly borrowing the term from the recently coined cyberpunk sub-genre. As the SFF community thrives particularly in the US as well as the UK, I’m not entirely sure which side of the pond it actually started – while the setting is frequently (though not exclusively) Victorian London, many US authors happily write adventures based there, such as Gail Carriger with her Parasol Protectorate and Shelley Adina’s Magnificent Devices series.

      I hope that helps – I have a fondness of steampunk, which can often ring the changes from my ususal fare and be great fun.

  3. Pingback: The Friday Face-Off: It Shuffles Through The Dry, Dusty Darkness – Books by Proxy

  4. The top one is cool and gives a sense of history. The second one is dark and foreboding. The third one seems more like a novel. The fourth one looks like an almanac. I don’t like the last one at all. So, I think my choice is number three.

    • Yes – it’s a another strong contender. The book I read had on the Snow Books cover – I happen to think it is really beautiful, but I’m unsure if I am biased…

    • I LOVE your choice – a great one! Yes… though I have my doubts about the last of these offerings – I still think it compares poorly with the others.

      • Oh no! Sorry… I switched subjects halfway through that comment and didn’t bother to change the pronoun or EVEN signal said change with new paragraph. Didn’t I tell you that visitors to this site need to be telepathic??

        The comment starting Yes… was about my covers – I’m not convinced the last one is all that good… *sigh* I wouldn’t blame you if you decided not to continue to visit, again…

    • You could have cheated Mogsy – before I recalled that I’d read this one, I was all set to post a book featuring the OTHER kind of mummy:)). The Tor cover is great, isn’t it?

    • Thank you, Proxy:). Yes – I have to say, although the Snow Books cover is still a firm favourite, the Tor cover has steadily grown on me – it’s cleverly designed to give lots of information about the genre and content. And that yellow certainly sings out.

    • It is, isn’t it, Jean? As it happens, this week all the covers have more or less kept to the content – there are weeks when it’s hard to believe the covers are all for the same book…

  5. Hmmm. I’m mostly with you this week, Sarah. The second and last covers are definitely the weaker of the batch. I mean, that last one was one of those where the intern saw the cover and grabbed the first image Google threw out. The second one…hmmm. Yes, I think it’s the muted-ness of it that makes it easy to look at and move on. It’s not a bad cover, but it doesn’t hold attention, either.

    Which is why I actually feel more drawn to the fourth cover than any other. The first cover is beautiful, as you said, with amazing color and balance, but I had no clue it’s of a steampunk age when I looked at that cover. That golden fourth color just shines to me. (There’s a terrible pun or something in that, but I’ll pretend it’s not there. 🙂 I love the touch of the wheel cogs for the steampunk, the element of detective duo so you know it’s also a mystery, and the font mix is so playful! Yup, I’ll have to stand by that fourth one…which is weird, actually, because I usually like the ones with lots more color to them…

    • That’s fine, Jean:). Other than the last cover, I think the others are all good – so it comes down to personal preferences. And while I always enjoy hunting down appropriate covers for the themes we are given, half the fun comes in seeing which covers my lovely visitors choose.

      • Ah, true! Plus it’s fascinating to see the approaches different countries take due to their own cultural preferences or society’s norms/taboos. I love when you go global! 🙂

      • Yes – though recently there hasn’t been too much opportunity to do that. Hopefully there will be more chance with the very popular and established books I’ve got lined up for the next few weeks.

  6. I agree that the last one is the weakest one of them all. I also think that the fourth one had a great concept, but the execution could be better (not enough contrast makes the cover muddy).
    I really like the first three (for similar reasons you do), but out of them, I consider the third one the most beautiful and creative (great design, beautifully played contrast, etc.).

    • It has proved to be a very popular choice, Joanna – I think many others felt the same way about it:). Mann is very fortunate in having a number of very strong, successful covers for this book.

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