The Jackson 4

More tip top news in a week of tip top newses: Douglas Jackson announced yesterday on his Facebook page, that the next in the Valerius Verrens series, Sword of Rome is now available for pre-ordering.

And indeed it is.

And, where can I pre-order it! You cry.

Well, you can – and indeed should – pre-order on, though it doesn’t seem to be available on just yet.

What does it look like, just so as I know I’ve got the right one?! I also hear you cry.

Well, apart from the book publisher thoughtfully putting Sword of Rome on the front in 18 ft high letters*, the cover looks more than a little, like this:

Sword of Rome coverAnd I must say, looking like that, it almost doesn’t matter what the book’s like. That is one hell of a cover. Though I say, if the cover looks like that, then the book is going to be absolutely magnificent!

Looking at the covers for all four of his Valerius books so far, I’m thinking first of all, that it’s interesting that the main figure’s face is not visible on any of them. A good move I say, as it doesn’t say ‘this is how he looks, no matter what you get from reading the book.’ How many times have I heard people say, when seeing a film made of their favourite book; “Oh no. I never saw him/her like that!” We each see a character differently, or at the very least slightly differently, no matter how much an author puts into his description of that character I reckon. What we’ve got here, is an all-action, take no shit, Roman soldier, not taking any shit at all. We suppose it is Valerius, though it’s not said it is. It might not be after all. In Hero of Rome, while the character was looking towards us, his face was in darkness, so we couldn’t see his features. Though, due to the Roman soldier battle dress, it is fairly obvious it’s a ‘he’ and not Boudicca, for example. On the second, Defender of Rome, the character is still reasonably face on, but looking more to his left. Number three, Avenger of Rome is the first where he is looking away from us, into the scene. I like this, works well as an invitation into the story. This latest Sword of Rome follows this idea and again has the character looking away from us, seen in only side profile, though not enough to define how we should think he looks. I feel it is leading us into the scene, the story, the book. A ‘come with me!’, if you like. And who of us can resist?!

I was knocked out by how good the first in the series Hero of Rome was. I have number two and three, as paperbacks, on the way. I don’t know if I will have them read before this one changes from hardback to paperback, but I think I’m going to break a habit of a lifetime – again – and go get this one in hardback anyway. It looks so good!

Plus, let’s face it, those Ben Kane Forgotten Legion paperbacks have had it all their own way on my bookshelf for far too long. Time they got shown what’s what by some Douglas Jackson muscle!

*Possibly not actually 18ft high.

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