Cover Reveal – The Cleaving by Juliet E McKenna

As a special treat this Fantasycon weekend, we are delighted to reveal the cover of The Cleaving, the upcoming novel by Juliet E McKenna, due out in April 2023, from Angry Robot.

Isn’t it stunning?

The Cleaving is an Arthurian retelling that follows the tangled stories of four women: Nimue, Ygraine, Morgana, and Guinevere, as they fight to control their own destinies amid the wars and rivalries that will determine the destiny of Britain. Based on the high medieval Romance tellings of Arthur rather than being shackled to any historical rationale this will be a story familiar to lovers of Malory, Crossley Holland and Borman’s Excalibur alike: a vibrant and bloody tale of chivalry, betrayal, deceit, power and magic.

Juliet E. McKenna: “We all know the imagery of the Arthurian legends; the sword, the castle, the knightly banners, and most of all, the king. This isn’t his story though. I love how Chris blends familiar elements with these wonderful portraits of the women who are central to this novel. As their gazes challenge the reader, the artwork mirrors my intent to do that as the writer.”

Alice Coleman, Cover Designer: “This cover was such a pleasure to design! We knew early in the process that we wanted to highlight the strength of the four main characters, capture the magic and intrigue that defined Juliet’s writing, and attract the attention of potential readers through a rich and evocative cover design. I was delighted to have Chris on board as illustrator, and his artwork perfectly captured the mood we were looking for, right down to the finest details. Some careful framing, elegant typography, and a very compelling tagline brought the overall layout together to create a cover that I hope is just as compelling as the stories that Juliet has shared inside!”

Chris Panatier, Cover Artist: “Illustrating this cover for Juliet McKenna’s The Cleaving was a total joy. I worked very closely with Angry Robot on the vision for the look and feel of the art, with substantial input from Juliet herself. My instructions were to create a scene featuring the four main women from the story, Guinevere, Ygraine, Nimue, and Morgana. They were all be possessed of strength and of confidence, while all clearly harboring different motives and designs. From the start, I had a certain feel in mind for the look of the final piece that came from my earliest memories of Arthurian legends told through various media. I wanted this book to have a retro color palette like so many soft cover fantasy books I saw growing up—which was good because AR wanted those lighter tones as well. I went back to them a few times to ask for additional details from Juliet that I could throw in like little Easter eggs, and so if you look closely enough, you’ll find them. I drew the cover in procreate using about 60 layers.”

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