Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente

Artwork by Beth White, design by Peter Lutjen

Irene Gallo, Art director at, on the cover:

In a way this was a tough one—if only because all the cool-kids of Tor kept telling me how much they loved the book. The pressure was on.

The story is a reimagining of the Russian folk-tale of Koschei, the Deathless, set in Stalinist Russia. I remembered seeing (and being jealous of) Beth White’s cover for The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate for our sister company, Henry Holt. I thought the story-book quality of Beth’s artwork and the bold use of graphic shapes would due well to set Deathless apart in our catalog and in the stores.

Awesome. You can never go wrong with black and red and the iconic silhouettes stand out amongst all the generic photo manipulation and CG art that floods bookstore shelves these days. I also appreciate how the design gets more distressed as the eye moves down the image. Tons of characters, and you immediately get the sense about what you’ll find between the pages. I hadn’t heard of Deathless before I saw this cover, but count me now among the curious.

You can read more about the process and see more early designs at