With the recent unveiling of the cover for Django Wexler’s The Shadow Throne, the sequel to his debut novel, The Thousand Names, I thought it would be a good time to catch up with Django, who has contributed to A Dribble of Ink in the past, about his upcoming work.
The Thousand Names impressed a lot of people when it was first revealed thanks to an attractive cover for both its North American and British releases. It’s tough to follow up a great cover, but the American edition of The Shadow Throne is attractive and uses a nice colour palette that separates itself from the more aggressive colouring found on many fantasy novels these days (See: Joe Abercrombie, Brent Weeks, Brian McClellan).
“I’m really happy with how it came out,” Django said when I asked him about the new cover. “The uniform has the right look, and there are a lot of neat little details. If you look closely at the background, the cathedral towers are topped with the double-circle of the Elysian Church, just like they should be!”
After the Middle Eastern-inspired look of The Thousand Names, it feels a little unusual to see a figure that looks more suited to Civil War-America on the cover, but the flintlock fantasy genre has changed a lot in the past year, and this cover, perhaps, portrays the novel in a way that is similar to its contemporaries like Brian McClellan’s popular Powdermage Trilogy. Speaking of McClellan’s work, as another blogger mentioned to me, it might be appropriate for the Ace/Roc to buy Lauren Panepinto and the Orbit art crew a beer as thanks for the inspiration.
Anyone can plot a coup or fire an assassin’s bullet. But in a world of muskets and magic, it takes considerably more to seize the throne.
The ailing King of the Vordan lies on his deathbed. When he dies, his daughter, Raesinia Orboan, will become the first Queen Regnant in centuries—and a ripe target for the ambitious men who seek to control her. The most dangerous of these is Duke Orlanko, Minister of Information and master of the secret police. Having meticulously silenced his adversaries through intimidation, imprisonment, and execution, Orlanko is the most feared man in the kingdom.
And he knows an arcane secret that puts Raesinia completely at his mercy.
Exposure would mean ruin, but Raesinia is determined to find a way to break herself—and her country—out of Orlanko’s iron grip. She finds unlikely allies in the returning war hero Janus bet Vhalnich, fresh from a brilliant campaign in the colony of Khandar, and his loyal deputies, Captain Marcus d’Ivoire and Lieutenant Winter Ihernglass.
As Marcus and Winter struggle to find their places in the home they never thought they would see again, they help Janus and Raesinia set in motion events that could free Vordan from Orlanko’s influence—at the price of throwing the nation into chaos. But with the people suffering under the Duke’s tyranny, they intend to protect the kingdom with every power they can command, earthly or otherwise.
“As the synopsis indicates we’re back in Vordan City,” Django explained. “Marcus and Winter will have a lot to deal with, between Janus’ plans and problems from their own pasts. I had a ton of fun putting this together, and I’m really hoping people enjoy it!” But it’s not all familiar faces returning, Django explained, “I’ve added Raesinia as a third point of view – she has some very dangerous plans of her own.”
For more from Django, be sure to read Django’s article, ‘So You Want to Have a War?’ about the research and planning behind military fantasy. It’s good stuff.