Friday Faceoff – When a knight won his spurs…


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 a cover featuring medieval times, so I’ve selected Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay, who sounds as if he should be joining in the jousting with a name like that…


To be honest, this cover produced by Roc in December 1999 is rather underwhelming. It is very brown with an embossed emblem of something that looks as though it belongs on a shield. I’m not overly struck with the rather spindly font, either. Given this is a book about a particularly colourful time, the cover seems to be expending a great deal of energy just to blend into the general background of the shelf this book will be sitting on.


This edition was produced by Roc Fantasy in October 1991 and is far more attractive and lively. The gold font upon the red is much more in keeping. However, my main worry is on behalf of the long-suffering queen or princess… no wonder she is looking so grumpy. I’d be looking a tad fed up if I had an halberd handle sticking out of my left ear, too.


Published in April 2005 by Penguin Canada (APB), I like this one. The gold colour sings out and the distant city in the distance looks invitingly different – an impression reinforced with the two moons in the sky. I like the attractive pattern bordering the vista, which gives a suggestion that this might be an embroidered depiction after the style of the Bayeux tapestry.


This Italian edition, published by Sperling & Kupfer in 1992, has very much gone for the fantasy feel. The moonlit scene – featuring two moons – is beautifully conveyed and unlike the queen in the Roc Fantasy offering, this monarch is unhampered by any weaponry protruding from her ears. She is beautiful and focused – and I want to pick up this book and find out why. This is my favourite cover.


This edition, produced by Penguin Canada in June 2016, is another dun effort. This time we get the edge of the shield, as if we are peeping over it to snatch a view of the city in the distance – also brown. I’m not quite sure why, because it isn’t remotely appealing. However, that’s just my opinion – which cover do you like best?

34 responses »

  1. The mostly red one is the only cover for this book I’d ever seen before, so I think that’s why I’m somewhat drawn to it. I like the gold one best, though. And the last one, the second version of the ‘brown cover’ (because I’m also drawn to anything with La Tene designs).

  2. Well, you won’t believe this, but….I LOVE ALL THESE COVERS!! Each one has something that appeals to me. The one quibble I have is the Roc cover. Surely they could have moved that halberd away from the poor Queen’s ear! That, plus her obviously grumpy expression (perfect for a “Grumpy Queen” meme, lol!) unfortunately mar this cover. I think it has potential, though!

    I love the one you picked as your favorite!! The queen looks appropriately powerful and royal, and the nighttime scene is SO appealing, since it has a LOT of blue in it! (This is my favorite color.) Plus her dress is blue, and those two moons make this a VERY enchanting cover! I am reminded of the fantasy novels of Andre Norton, plus, of course, the cover of “The Mists of Avalon”.

    As for the covers with the shields on them, I must honestly say that I find them STUNNING. I guess that’s because I ADORE circular designs — such as mandalas, and yes, shields. I also love hubcaps!! If I could, I’d have a collection of these!!

    I also love the Bayeux Tapestry cover! You’re right that it has that feel medieval English feel to it. It looks as if it’s made of a very soft, yet rough-textured, fabric. Very evocative!

    So this week, I really can’t choose which of these covers is my favorite. (As for the halberd-in-the-ear cover, if they were to fix it, I would wholeheartedly LOVE it!!)

    Thanks for sharing all of this cover AWESOMENESS!!!!! HUGS!! ❤ ❤ 🙂 🙂

    • Thank you for your lovely positive take on this week’s offering. I feel thoroughly chastened actually – after being rather sarky about the shield design – I’ve realised that a lot of visitors actually really liked it. The only defence I can offer is that it’s been something of a nightmare week for me and when I wrote the post, I was rather despairing. Not really good enough – and I’m taking to heart that if there isn’t anything wrong with a cover other than the fact that I don’t like it, then I’ll keep Crabby-tongue firmly between my teeth!

  3. Well… I actually own the “Underwhelming brown cover ” and I don’t what it tells about my taste , but I actually like it the best among the other covers 🙈

    • Urg… sorry Rash! I have just fessed up to the fact that I wasn’t feeling very positive when I wrote the post. And this week has been an object lesson that just because I don’t particularly like a cover – that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily bad or that other folks won’t love it.

  4. What is with these vague covers? That shield could apply to ANY fantasy read. I almost wish the group of people had been done more of a tapestry, because you’re right–her expression is very odd. The golden sky seems the best effort, indeed.

    • I know – that was one of my main grizzles about it – soooo generic. And yes – I STILL maintain it’s because she has the haft sticking out of her ear…

    • That’s the big problem with it – how do you know what it’s about? And I know what an issue THAT is – my sales for Dying for Space have increased dramatically since the new cover and people know exactly what they’re getting.

      • Thank you, Rae – and it evidently has made a difference – I have even got a couple of extra positive reviews on Amazon – which is marvellous:)

  5. I like the first one the most, but I’m prone to like intricate patterns, etc. I’m familiar with the yellow one – I think it’s been used in Polish version as well – but it just doesn’t grab me for some reason (even though the color contrast is really nice!).

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