The Book of Transformations by Mark Charan Newton

A new and corrupt Emperor seeks to rebuild the ancient structures of Villjamur to give the people of the city hope in the face of great upheaval and an oppressing ice age. But when a stranger called Shalev arrives, empowering a militant underground movement, crime and terror becomes rampant.

The Inquisition is always one step behind, and military resources are spread thinly across the Empire. So Emperor Urtica calls upon cultists to help construct a group to eliminate those involved with the uprising, and calm the populace. But there’s more to The Villjamur Knights than just phenomenal skills and abilities – each have a secret that, if exposed, could destroy everything they represent.

Investigator Fulcrom of the Villjamur Inquisition is given the unenviable task of managing the Knights, but his own skills are tested when a mysterious priest, who has travelled from beyond the fringes of the Empire, seeks his help. The priest’s existence threatens the church, and his quest promises to unravel the fabric of the world. And in a distant corner of the Empire, the enigmatic cultist Dartun Súr steps back into this world, having witnessed horrors beyond his imagination. Broken, altered, he and the remnants of his order are heading back to Villjamur.

And all eyes turn to the Sanctuary City, for Villjamur’s ancient legends are about to be shattered…

A couple of weeks ago, I whined and complained about the early cover for Mark Charan Newton’s The Book of Transformations, the third volume in his wonderful Legends of the Red Sun series. I wasn’t the only one displeased by the cover, it seems. Newton has posted a new cover on his blog, citing fan feedback for inspiring the change. A very cool move on the part of Newton and his publisher, Tor UK.

And the result? Much better. They’ve removed the ninja-girl and shifted the focus to the city, which is much more appropriate for Newton’s work, in which the cities are as important to the story as any of the characters. I’m not a fan of obvious CG artwork in a Fantasy setting (especially when compared to the lovely artwork on the UK Hardcover of Nights of Villjamur), but as long as I look at the city as a whole, rather than focussing on the details, it’s a nice approximation of Villjamur, where the novel takes place.

The novel itself sounds great. Nights of Villjamur (REVIEW) was a solid debut, but Newton showed great progress with City of Ruin (REVIEW); if The Book of Transformations continues that trend, we’re likely looking at one of the most unique and compelling series in recent years.

  • Yiota October 15, 2010 at 10:49 am

    I like the cover more than the previous with the girl. The city looks great!
    In the next month i’m planning to start the series and i was wondering when the 3rd comes out? In case it’s soon, i will wait and buy them all together:) Do you know?

  • aidan October 15, 2010 at 10:53 am

    I’m not sure of the exact release, but Newton’s just turned in the draft for The Book of Transformations, so it won’t be out for several months. Spring, 2011?

    The books stand alone nicely, so you’re safe to go purchase the first two right now, if you’re interested in the series.

  • Patrick (YetiStomper) October 15, 2010 at 10:58 am

    Wow! They fixed the hell out of this cover.

    This might be my favorite cover of the year now.

  • Yiota October 15, 2010 at 11:00 am

    @aidan: Thanks a lot for the info! Of course i will buy them. And soon enough i can say.

  • […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Aidan Moher, Kevin Pearson. Kevin Pearson said: I would agree – @adribbleofink new cover for @MarkCN's THE BOOK OF TRANSFORMATIONS. …better than the earlier attempt! […]

  • Kendall October 15, 2010 at 5:59 pm

    It’s so much better than the previous versions with Ninja Girl, IMHO (with similar caveats to yours, Aidan, re. obvious CG).

  • Locusmortis October 16, 2010 at 6:23 pm

    I was on the “get rid of the ninja chick” side and I’m delighted to see that the cover has vastly improved without her on it.

    CG artwork can be fine, you only have to look at artbooks like Expose from Ballistic Publishing to see the potential it can have.

  • Chad Hull October 19, 2010 at 5:07 am

    I almost feel bad for the ninja girl being so universally reviled, but I too like the landscape only cover better.

  • Nerd News Roundup for October 19, 2010 October 19, 2010 at 7:32 am

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