Last spring, during our discussions of cover art for historical novels, I directed you to author Michelle Moran's comments on the genesis of the cover for her forthcoming novel The Heretic Queen (unfortunately, I don't believe the link to historicalfiction.org works any longer). I received an advance copy of Michelle's novel yesterday in order to read it for review, and let me tell you, the cover is just beautiful. It features a pair of ivory, blue, and green wings that wraps around the spine of the book. The book's title and the outline of the wings are gold leaf, enough of a highlight to make the cover eye-catching but not gaudy. The gold also affirms the Egyptian rather than Native American provenance of the wings, as does the small band of hieroglyphics that runs along the bottom edge of the cover. With its white background, the book looks clean and crisp and should attract attention on the shelves. The novelty of the cover--its lack of a headless woman or portrait of any kind--could be its strongest point. Readers who read and loved Michelle's first book, Nefertiti, will buy The Heretic Queen regardless of the cover; the unusual artwork should entice people who wouldn't normally pick up a woman-themed cover to examine the book. I admire Michelle and the designers for being willing to try something different and think this cover will prove to be very successful.
I'll be busy for the next few days reading and hope to post a review and an interview with Michelle on September 16. If you haven't already read Nefertiti, try to do so before the new book comes out. The Heretic Queen isn't technically a sequel to Nefertiti but does feature characters from the same dynasty. In any case, by reading Nefertiti now, you'll only prolong the treat of escaping into the world of ancient Egypt that Michelle evokes with such grace and immediacy.