THE EPIC BRIAN STAVELEY COVER REVEAL: SKULLSWORN

Brian Staveley’s new standalone novel returns to the critically acclaimed Chronicles of the Unhewn Throne universe - and do we have an epic new cover to show you. The first title in the Chronicles of the Unhewn Throne trilogy, THE EMPEROR'S BLADES, won the David Gemmell Morningstar Award for best debut in 2015, and the third title, THE PROVIDENCE OF FIRE, is now out in hardback. And now we are proud to present (drumroll please): SKULLSWORN.

SKULLSWORN follows Pyrre, a priestess attempting to join the ranks of the God of Death, who goes back to the city of her birth to pass the final test of her religious order: killing ten people in a month. The trouble is, the test stipulates that among the ten offerings, one must be a person that she loves . . . 

For this cover, we wanted a look that would link to the previous trilogy - as it's set in the same world. However, it shouldn't look part of that trilogy, as this is a standalone, and can be read by all new readers. We considered various options - having a border and a figure on the cover, or perhaps a close focus on weapons, as per the first trilogy but without a border, or maybe a cityscape background . . .  we left the final decision to our designer, Matthew Garrett, who has created the perfect blend of fresh and familiar. 

Working from notes on the setting, the delta city of Dombang - inspired by both Venice and Cambodia - as well as notes on Pyrre and the themes of the book, Matthew has given us the most gorgeous weapon and border design, with a vibrant tropical landscape for a backdrop. This gives us that thematic link to the first three books, but also creates a strong new look that's just for this book. What do you think? And you can see more on the story below...

For one apprentice assassin, the clock is ticking . . .

Pyrre Lakatur doesn't like the description skullsworn. It doesn't capture the beauty of her devotion to Ananshael, God of Death. She is not an assassin, but a priestess. Or she will be, if she can pass her final trial. The problem isn't killing: Pyrre has spent her life training to kill where needful. The problem is love. To pass the trial, a skullsworn must offer their partner to Ananshael - but Pyrre has never been in love, and time is short. 

Pyrre throws herself into the other aspects of her trial - until she's arrested by the brilliant, enigmatic Commander Ruc Lan Lac. He might be Pyrre's last chance at love, so she must stay close – even as he investigates the murders she’s committing. It's a dangerous dance, trying to fall for a man whilst worshipping a god he loathes. If she succeeds, she must betray her only love. And if she fails, a violent death awaits them both . . .

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Praise for the Chronicles of the Unhewn Throne series

‘A vividly imagined story of conspiracy and empire’ 
Col Buchanan

‘Following in the footsteps of George R. R. Martin, Joe Abercrombie and the like . . . Brutal, intriguing and continuing to head toward exciting events and places unknown’
Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)

'Succeeds in every possible way, delivering readers a truly epic tale’ 
Fantasy Faction

'Succeeds in every possible way, delivering readers a truly epic tale’ 
The Book Eaters

‘Don’t wait until HBO or some film producer pick up the rights before you read this – it’s that good . . . Superbly written, sublimely enchanting, utterly engrossing’
The Book Geek