Friday Faceoff – The last resort of kings, the cannonball… Brainfluffbookblog


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 meme is currently being nurtured by Lynn’s Book Blog and the subject this week featuring on any of our covers is KINGS, so I’ve selected Death of Kings – Book 6 of The Saxon Stories by Bernard Cornwall.


This edition was produced by HarperCollins Publishers in September 2011. I love the simplicity of the cover with the crown on the flagged floor. However, I do think the font is really boring and I wish the overall look wasn’t quite so gloomy…


Published in June 2012 by Editora Record, this Portuguese edition features the person instead of the symbol that defines them. However, the image has a rough, unfinished look as if it originated as a sketch in a child’s history book. Even the spray of blood on the figure in the foreground isn’t sufficient to breathe life or action into this scene. The figure has that wooden, fixed look that I recall from those types of illustrations I used to pore over another lifetime ago. It lacks the necessary eye appeal that would prompt me to pick this one off the shelves – but then, I suppose the publishers are relying on Cornwall’s name to sell this book.


I generally don’t like covers inspired from films and TV series of books – but this Spanish cover produced in January 2013 by EDHASA is an exception. The helmeted warrior wielding a battleaxe is the only one that gives a sense of the unending round of fighting and negotiating necessary to keep a kingdom in this tumultuous time when might was right. This one is my favourite.


Produced in February 2014, this Greek edition published by Ψυχογιός is a classier and more successful version of the first cover. The more elaborate crown is perhaps a bit OTT, but I do like the lighter background and the suggestion of a cathedral as the background building, which works well as context for the story at a time when kings believed themselves ordained by God. This one was definitely a contender as my favourite this week.


This paperback edition, published by Harper in August 2012, has decided the crown needs fresh air and sunshine. It has been relocated onto a strip of monochrome grass with bare trees silhouetted against a white sky and a single horseman galloping away in the distance. The golden crown glows against the muted landscape and if only someone had given the boooorinnnng title and author fonts more than a nanosecond’s thought, this could also have been my favourite. Which one do you prefer?

25 responses »

    • Yes… I’m aware my lack of enthusiasm for the crown covers is a highly personal one – but I did feel it was something of a cop-out for this darker take on the Saxon era.

    • And as you might have gathered – I am a tad underwhelmed by this selection of crowns, Tammy:). Though it’s a completely personal observation – and I think the Greek edition produces a really strong contender.

  1. Pingback: Follow Friday 3/21/19 – The Haunted Wordsmith

  2. I used to love Bernard Cornwell. Starbuck and Sharpe and the Warlord and Grail Quest books and all the standalone books. I started the Uhtred books but just couldn’t get into the series and I think I stopped after book 3 or maybe 4.

    • They aren’t to my taste either, Michael – but the covers nicely fitted the brief:)). Though, like you, I love other books he’s written – my absolute favourites are Stormchild and Sea Lord.

  3. The first one is the best, IMHO: the font might be on the big side, granted, but the dramatic contrast between the dark background and the lonely crown is undeniable. And ROTFL on “has decided the crown needs fresh air and sunshine”!!!! 😀 😀

    • Yes – I agree with you, Maddalena. I could have been more enthusiastic about this edition if the font wasn’t so boring – size doesn’t make up for a lack of imagination regarding design. Glad you liked the comment regarding the outside crown:)).

    • Ooo… I hadn’t considered that connection. And given this is quite a dark book, that might have been the effect they were aiming for… Thank you for that observation, Mogsy!

    • I’m probably a tad too fixated on fonts, anyway – and who am I to talk? I was the one who pitched up at your site, ignored the covers or their designs and fangirled over Viggo, instead…

  4. I can see why your favorite appealed to me, but I’ve recently been studying too much of cover design and I simply can’t get over the axed pasted over the person that feels to be in a wrong proportion to the head in the background.
    The first one might have boring fonts, but overall, it is the most aesthetically pleasing to me.

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