One of the books I’ve enjoyed reading most last year, is Robert Lyndon’s Hawk Quest.
Wonderful book, story, you name it.
Great cover as well, in my opinion. Which is what leads me to this post.
Well, in doing a post the other day, the Goodreads/Amazon one, I mentioned the cover. It was a surprise to me to find they’d found it necessary to ‘improve’ on it. Seems to me, we’re in much the same ball-park as ‘if it ain’t broke, fix it anyway’, though they’ll justify it as a re-fresh. An attempt to get new readers, after the book has presumably got a good reception since it first came out in 2011/12. And why not? It’s worth every penny.
Let’s start at the very beginning, which is a very good place to start…This is the hardback version I have on the shelves here at Speesh Towers. It was released, as far as I can see, in the UK 05 January 2012
I bought it after seeing that Ben Kane was raving about it. Quite rightly. He wrote a review which you can read on Goodreads. The cover quote seems to be taken from this review, though I doubt it was done for Goodreads originally. The quote isn’t exactly how Ben wrote it either, they’ve shuffled it around a little to (presumably) have more impact.
I have also seen that there is a paperback version of this cover. You can order it here. It may be one of those larger sized paperbacks, given its hefty price tag.
What puzzles me, is that for the UK paperback (released 02 August 2012) they’ve changed it so completely.
Really, I’d have left well alone. Rather than commissioning so total an overhaul. I don’t know why, and I don’t think it’s an improvement. Look at those sparks, for goodness’ sake! And that huge red sticker!
Then I thought, OK, purely for fun’s sake, let’s see just how much the Hawk Quest cover changes in so many versions as I can find.
So, moving across the pond, this is what seems to be the US hardback version, released 09 April 2013
Got ‘straight to DVD’ written all over it. Except it isn’t. A DVD cover, I mean. If you liked Lord of the Rings, you’ll like this. Which is actually exactly the right analogy to be selling, really. They’ve certainly gone balls-out for ‘epic’ here, haven’t they? Though they have clearly haven’t got the balls to run the whole of cuddly uncle Ben’s recommendation. But it does mean, given Ben Kane is front and centre there, that he carries some weight, figuratively speaking, in US Historical Fiction reader circles, eh? Didn’t realise that.
Although…You know, when I started preparing this post, a while back, in a different form, I was pretty sure I’d seen a listing for the above cover on a re-printed UK hardback version. Can’t find it now. So the above might be that one, masquerading as the US hardback cover. Which would explain the Ben Kane quote, if he isn’t that well known in the US after all.
But look at this. I don’t know how this one fits in the great scheme of things, apart from maybe an early attempt. Until the receptionist pointed out “that T looks like a C!” I like the style of lettering, but it does look like Hawk Quesc, doesn’t it? You can still see it on the Goodreads page for Hawk Quesc.
Then of course, there’s the German version
Germans being Germans, they’ve changed the whole lot. They don’t like the English language on the best of days – for instance; Germans always overdub English-language films, rather than like here, in Denmark, keeping the original English, but putting Danish subtitles. My German is not what it could be, so I can’t make much of a guess as to what the title has been changed to. It sure isn’t Hawk Quest though, is it? Being now fluent in Danish, does help however, as the two languages do actually overlap in many areas. A guess from me would have the title as ‘The throne of the world’, but don’t quote me on that. And on Amazon’s page for it, the German translator even gets a credit!
The German people behind Hawk Quest have however, produced a really quite excellent video you can see on YouTube or here. Captures the scope and epic nature of the book and story perfectly. Whoever did that film (it’s best seen on the page here, actually) needs an award. Then they need to be given the film rights and then they need to be left alone. There would without doubt come an epic to match Lord of the Rings. And that guy doing the voice-over, wonderful. No idea what he’s saying, but he needs the job of narrator for the film. Bringing my Danish to bear on the German language, some of the words on screen are about ‘mighty enemies…a great journey beginning…the court of Constantinople’ and ‘crossing borders.’ Some of the other promo material also looks the absolute business
In Spanish, it’s called La Gesta del Halcon. I’m guessing, by the looks of it, that is a straight Spanish translation of Hawk Quest
I think this one looks just excellent as well. Maybe if the illustration was a little more photo realistic. It looks a little un-finished here. Needs something in the foreground, even though there’s the small type there. And the flying hawk could be a little better placed. That’s what I’d have said to the designer showing me this before I took it to the client.
I’m not sure if this is the chap that did the above illustration, but you can see what looks like a rejected cover idea – the illustration and the whole cover idea on the blog of José Luis Martin.
Moving to what seems like Slovakia, I give you The Path of the Hawk (I think):
Now, you see, that is much more like it. OK, they’ve probably done it to save some money, but re-using the UK original cover is exactly what I would have done. For them all. The hawk looks like a bit of an afterthought and all they had in the stock libraries, but this is how it should have been for them all, you ask me. Strip out the English type, put in your own country’s language – bingo, job’s a good ‘un.
The Turkish publisher delights in calling it The Grey Falcon. Which is wrong on a couple of fronts. Still, I couldn’t spot the difference if there were two pecking away at me right now, could you?
Not to the Gulags though, as through my extensive mastery of the Russian language, I can clearly see they have their house in order alright. The ships, I’d have to think about
Then finally, there’s this one
It’s from a company called The Handmade Press. Click on the name and you’ll go to their website. Their site says Design, illustration and typography for the advertising, publishing and music industries. There’s some absolutely wonderful design work on their website – look for The Glass God book cover (also for Little Brown), outstanding. The above picture is on their site, but no information other than ‘Design, illustration and typography.’ The original hardback version I have credits ‘Illustration © Steve Stone Design Sean Garrehy – LBBG.’ That might be Little Brown Book Company? This picture looks like an idea that they maybe put forward to showcase their typography solution for the way the words ‘Hawk Quest’ should be done. I’m speculating, uninformed-ly. But it does look like they had a hand in the process somewhere along the line. Maybe The Handmade Press did the typography? As they seem to have done for The Glass God.
I hope they don’t mind me posting the picture and links, I will of course take the section down if they wish. Otherwise, they’re in Leicester, England and you can get them on +44 (0)7872 529 716 or by email: studio @ thehandmadepress .com
There you have it. Amazing to think how that little paperback you* have in your hands in your own language can have a whole life you never realised.
*Clearly by ‘you’, I mean me.