Not-a-slow news day

Yes, we did – for those who think something looks different hereabouts. Changed the banner to show the cover for Children of Earth and Sky, and so this represents the beginning of a new journal – for a new book.

Had to wait until today for the cover reveals to take place. Not wise to pre-empt your publishers and their planning. Did any of you see the tweet this week of the secret passage behind the bookcase in the new Penguin Random House Canada offices? There have been rumours of screams. Also rumours they stole the idea from ‘Young Frankenstein’.

A very busy day in media terms.

There were ‘cover reveals’ on CBC Books site and B&N blog this morning. I’m posting a good-sized jpeg here and what will be the jacket copy for the American edition (they are slightly ahead in fine-tuning, Canada will be very similar, UK is in-progress). The book will be released in May. (Yes, it seems early, yes the book world has changed a lot.)

The cover artist is Larry Rostant, who has done several for me now, all gorgeous, and the art director is Adam Auerbach. Stories of disastrous covers are all over the literary world (and I have had a few in foreign language editions, and even early ones in English once or twice), so I am serious when I say how lucky I feel to have talented, committed people engaged in working on these.

Art directors and artists take initial guidance from editors, especially when the covers come early in the process and they haven’t had a chance to read the manuscript. In this case, that means Susan Allison, Nicole Winstanley, Adrienne Kerr, and Claire Zion, who arrived when Susan retired and had some sharp ideas right away. From Larry’s first draft, done after discussions with Adam after visual cues from Susan, we all knew we were going to have a cover we loved. It was that immediate. Part of what everyone wanted was a ‘look’ that matched up with the last two covers (Under Heaven and River of Stars) in terms of scale and effect, and that was where the fine-tuning came in. Yes, I love it.

Here is the cover:



And here is the jacket copy:


The bestselling author of the groundbreaking novels Under Heaven and River of Stars, Guy Gavriel Kay is back with a new novel, Children of Earth and Sky, set in a world inspired by the conflicts and dramas of Renaissance Europe. Against this tumultuous backdrop the lives of men and women unfold on the borderlands—where empires and faiths collide.

From the small coastal town of Senjan, notorious for its pirates, a young woman sets out to find vengeance for her lost family. That same spring, from the wealthy city-state of Seressa, famous for its canals and lagoon, come two very different people: a young artist traveling to the dangerous east to paint the grand khalif at his request—and possibly to do more—and a fiercely intelligent, angry woman, posing as a doctor’s wife, but sent by Seressa as a spy.

The trading ship that carries them is commanded by the accomplished younger son of a merchant family, ambivalent about the life he’s been born to live. And farther east a boy trains to become a soldier in the elite infantry of the khalif—to win glory in the war everyone knows is coming.

As these lives entwine, their fates—and those of many others—will hang in the balance, when the khalif sends out his massive army to take the great fortress that is the gateway to the western world…


We also can announce something else important.

Children of Earth and Sky will be published in the UK by Hodder & Stoughton, also in May, under the editing and stewardship of Oliver Johnson. This is a new relationship, and one I’m really happy about. Hodder do smart things in marketing and positioning books, and the challenge I always present publishers lies in how I lie suspended (so to speak) between mainstream, history, and fantasy. (There is very little cookbook in me, though I know quick readers will point back at the Mosaic pair to rebut that!)

Here’s the Hodder press release, which went out today (Yes, it makes me feel self-conscious. Next question?):

We are delighted to announce the acquisition of the latest novel by the legendary Canadian fantasy author Guy Gavriel Kay for publication on May 12th 2016. The deal was negotiated by Jonny Geller of agents Curtis Brown UK.

In The Children of Earth and Sky Kay returns to the familiar territory established in several earlier works, a reimagining of the melting pot of the medieval Mediterranean. In his hands well-known places and events are transformed into the wonderful and strange through the lens of fantasy, and brought to life with brilliantly drawn characters and the most graceful of styles, which will seduce his many fans and new readers alike.

Acquiring Editor Oliver Johnson says: ‘To bring a celebrated, legendary author like Guy Gavriel Kay to our list is a truly wonderful moment; an editor’s dream is to publish a writer he has long admired, and this couldn’t be more true for me than with Guy. Though we have no specific genre list we are very proud of our work at Hodder with books that cross the divides of genre as Guy does with his brilliantly written, erudite and deliciously imagined works of historical fantasy. Our hallmark is great writing without bounds and we know we have acquired exactly that in Guy’s new work.’

Guy Gavriel Kay famously assisted Christopher Tolkien in the editing of The Silmarilion. His debut novels in the Fionavar Tapestry established him as one of the most exciting fantasy writers of the last half century. Several of his books (including Tigana, The Lions of Al-Rassan, Under Heaven) have been named as among the greatest fantasy masterpieces of the last twenty-five years. His work has been shortlisted for the Best Novel in the World Fantasy Awards several times and he won that award with Ysabel in 2008.  In 2014 he was appointed to the Order of Canada for his services to literature, the country’s highest civilian honour.



10 thoughts on “Not-a-slow news day

  1. I am bouncing at the edge of my seat after reading the jacket copy description of this book. You have found my sweet spot in apparently returning to Renaissance Europe, and I look forward to reading this at 12am the day it is released.

  2. Just reread, probably for the 3rd time, the Sarantine books. Trying a bunch of unfamiliar fantasy authors at the same time but these favorites were more compelling and so much better written that I kept putting the new books down and going back to these.

  3. Re – Reading Kay’s books – which I’ve been doing since Fionavar was first released- is like sitting down for a long visit with old and beloved friends. I’m not sure how many times I’ve read the entire collection, but it’s more than ten for the older books, a couple each for his last two – never gets old. Can’t wait for the next one!

  4. Thank you for returning to familiar grounds…cannot wait. You are the most underrated author in history. Thank you for sticking to the writing path when you were young and it was likely not easy…

  5. I am still a bit miffed that there wasn’t a proper sequl to ‘Under Heaven’! ‘River Of Stars’ is a very good read, but advancing hundreds of years from the time of ‘Under Heaven’…..

  6. So Excited! Tigana is one of my top five favorite books ever, and I’m thrilled about returning to a European type setting. Can’t wait. Hoping it will be available in audio format right away.

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