Here’s how The God of the Hive will come dressed, on April 27th, and my editor craves your reaction:
wonderful! love it!
Hm. At this point, what’s important to me with one of your books is your name (writ prominently), and the clear notation that the book is a Mary Russell. Check and check.
I very much like the honeycomb motif and its color.
But the central bridge image is not appealing to me. I assume that the bridge figures in the plot; perhaps the concept of a bridge is also important… then there’s “water under the bridge”… “deep waters”… but these thoughts are all distant and intellectual and, like the empty image itself, just lie there.
I’d rather see something more dynamic and active. A cover image that only works *after* you’ve read the book is a weaker choice (in my view) than one that grabs beforehand.
But as I said, I’ll be snatching it up upon publication day regardless of the cover. I am looking forward to it enormously!
I have to say, this would be one of my favorite cover designs for this series. I (yes, sometimes to my detriment) am very prone to picking up a book based solely on the cover art, and I would do that with this book even if I didn’t know the series.
I really like the book cover. Strong visual- should pull people over to take a closer look. Then of course, once they see that it is a book by Laurie R. King they will take it straight to the register. 🙂
Okay, if you editor really wants our unbridled thoughts, I wonder why HIVE is in a much larger font than THE GOD OF THE. I wonder what was involved in that choice. Hmmm.
It also reminds very me very very much of the cover of Deborah Crombie’s latest book, “Necessary as Blood”, including the UK-looking bridge and the over all blue tone.
But, honestly, I am going to buy the book if it comes wrapped in recycled plastci bags from the supermarket. So it’s the non-regular readers who need to be impressed enough to pick up the book and buy it. And I am very happy that I have only to wait until April for it.
Yay another Mary Russell book!
I love the cover but I so (like Marjorie) wonder about the font size choices– why is “god of the” so much smaller than “hive”?
There’s something about the strange angle of the bridge, and the fogginess, that make it nice and spooky and a little off-setting. I think that’s a good thing!
But I’d also buy it, though, even if it were wrapped in brown paper bags!
First thoughts – like the link to Language of Bees via the honeycomb motif. You know immediately that it takes place in the UK through the bridge – not an overseas adventure for Holmes and Russell. But I can’t wait to read it – the publishing date seems a long way off. And like everyone else I would buy it if it came in a plain brown wrapper!
The color palate it very attractive and brings to mind a Monet painting, but I just don’t get the connect with the title. Does the God live in the water, is he/she/it under a bridge and more troubling, bees drown in that much water so what is that about? I guess I love the cover as a work of art, but not with that title, and the connection to LANG is lost on me.
As others have said, I will purchase the book no matter the cover, but hope others, who have not read a Russell mystery, will be moved to pick up the book because of the juxtaposition of title and cover, which may be very clever marketing, what do I know?
I agree with Nancy W. – this cover image is weak. The photo itself is not a bad picture but it doesn’t draw my eye to the book. I also dislike the combination of colors. With the honeycomb overlay (which I do like) I think a warmer image would work better, or vice versa. Those who know your work will buy the book regardless, but I don’t think this cover will draw people in if they don’t already know the series. (I should mention that I have been a bookseller for – good heavens, has it been 15 years now?)
The cover is lovely but not as memorable for me as the one on “The Language Of Bees.” I thought that cover was truly unique, with a richness that made it stand out from other books around it. (Loved the deep reds and golds, and honeycomb design.)I would like to see the publishers do something as interesting and unique as the cover on “The Language of Bees.” Another cover I thought had pizzaz was “Sweetness At The Bottom Of The Pie.”
1) “God of the” is probably smaller for two reasons- one being that putting “God” in the title of a mystery could throw some people for a loop (though it’s perfectly mysterious, if you think about it….) and two, because the heavier, larger text at that point visually keeps the image settled while also allowing balance and asymmetry.
2) I LOVE HONEYCOMB PATTERN. This is no exception. My problem is that the opacity is tweaked on all sections of honeycomb save the top left- it could use some transparency. It weights the top of the book too heavily, with the bridge in the upper half as well.
3) Me likey. 20 weeks is going to be a very long, but very entertaining, wait……
If I saw his covr on the shelf I would pick up the book tofind out more!
Looks fine to me. Don’t I remember that you visited the bridge to make sure a pivotal scene’s geography is consistent with the bridge, etc.’s geography?
Gorgeous and eye-catching. And nicely mated to the first book.
I like the visual links to the other books in the series. Was a little put off at first by the bridge, thinking ‘what’s that got to do with a hive?’ but then thought it indicates the British location, which makes a certain amount of sense. I find the blue very appealing, and most of the way the typeface interacts with the image, and I like the overall balance of the cover. Kind of cool the way the title is fading into fog, or emerging from it, and I like that the ‘god’ part is de-emphasized; as another reader said, it might be off-putting to some of the audience if the book is seen as having some sort of religious connotation.
This is Westminster Bridge, yes? I recall in your travel blog this summer that you were doing some ‘homework’ around there… I do like the cover art, the colours and the photograhy, but I’m not as keen on the lettering – and I’d like to see your name in larger font! Maybe a bolder type, but taking up less space for the title, too. Honeycomb is a great touch and a link back to The Language of Bees.
Having said all that, I’m guessing this is just for the US edition. Any hints on the UK version yet…?
I’m with Chris. Something about the lettering bugs me. It throws off the balance and symmetry of the cover, and the way it fades into the water makes me think the God is fading as well. Didn’t you say somewhere that the God of the hive was Mycroft? Are you killing off poor Mycroft in this book?!
Nikki, who will go off into her corner to hyperventilate until her terrible imagination learns to behave…
Well, after looking at the cover, reading everyone’s comments, going back and looking at the cover one more time. I think the white text one blue looks totally great, the colors are great, and I like the honey comb design.
Thanks for writing these books. I feel like it has been an awfuly long time since I have checked in with my friends Russell and Holmes.
I just clicked on the picture and really blew it up… wow! I wasn’t on the fence before but now that really did it.
Thanks so much for writing these books that I love. Mike
Nikki, it was me (or at least I was one of the people) who wondered if it was Mycroft who was being referred to as the god of the hive. I am not sure that Laura ever responded to that.
After reading through all the other (very thoughtful) comments here, it makes me wish the the US version of LANG had had the honey comb shapes on it instead of the paving stone-esque shapes. Then the cover for GOTH would have tied in more closely.
Also, what I really miss (after looking again at the LANG US cover) is the including of the Russell and Holmes white sillhouettes.
It is clear that the publishers are using the word “suspense” instead of “mystery” for a financial reason, but the books are mysteries. You are not James Patterson. I wouldn’t wnat you to be. You shouldn’t be sold that way IMHO.
I sure hope that your editor is still happy that she asked for reactions!
Looks wonderful. Very mysterious
The whole motif of the cover is very suggestive of being underwater – the bridge, the color, the half-submerged lettering… Compared to that, the honeycomb pattern doesn’t quite fit in, at least, not to my mind…
Why I said Laura (above), of course I meant Laurie!!!! Can’t we get an edit feature set up here??????? I should never post before my 2nd cup of tea.
I’m sorry to weigh in negatively, but to me, without knowledge of the plot, this seems like it will be a vaguely mysterious (misty, if you will) book like thousands of others. It seems anonymous, and doesn’t have the power of the practical and intuitive Mary Russell. The only part that stands out to me is the graphic treatment of the honeycomb – the rest could easily be a book of travel writing.
Okay, since you ask:
As we know, book covers usually (hopefully) give us our first clue of what a book will explore. I know this book is no longer called The Green Man, but someone known as the Green Man will be featured, right? I find the blue of the cover just too, well, blue. I would like to see it tinged more green-ish and less jewel-like, more fog-like.
Also, I compared this GOTH cover to the LANG cover. I think, marketing-wise, it would be good if the basic design of the two covers was more similar. For instance, LANG features a prominent black section across the top of the front cover (about 2/7 of the entire cover) featuring the classic silhouettes of Russell and Holmes stating “A novel of suspense featuring MARY RUSSELL and SHERLOCK HOLMES” (this design ties the new book into previous Russell titles). Then it has Laurie’s names in CAPS, very large, with “The New York Times Bestselling Author” below. ON GOTH, Laurie’s name is much smaller and near the bottom of the cover. (Hey–Laurie is a NYT bestselling author, for crying out loud. Put her name first!) I think some continuity in design is a good thing–especially since GOTH is a “sequel” to LANG.
I also feel that the section of the hive on the top left of the cover is too dark and heavy. Somehow it feels awkward and seems to be pushing the bridge down at an odd angle. In addition, honeycomb is more golden, not that shade of brown. A muted god metallic honeycomb superimposed over a greener tinted background might be good.
In addition, I notice that the fonts on LANG and GOTH are different. I think the font on LANG’s cover is attractive. Why not use that for GOTH as well (again, to make it more obvious that GOTH is a continuation)?
My two cents’ worth…
Oh my, Laurie, your editor is probably ruing the day she said she wanted feedback.
Roxanne, I loved your comments. They caused me to pull out my copy of LANG and compare the two covers in detail. I think you have really hit on something with the idea there should be a band, similar to what is on LANG, at the top of GOTH. For me that would push the image down and eliminate so much water. There would still be room for the title to be emerging from the water and to have the bridge be a focal point, but would give more impact to the title and the bridge. Duplicating the band at the top would tie the two books together and would restore the silhouettes (I agree, Marjorie, they need to return) that tie all the books together. IMHO 🙂
Overall I think the cover is lovely from a graphic design point of view (I especially like the font choice). The only thing that immediately struck me as being out of place was the section of comb that is in the top left corner. Unlike the rest if has not had its opacity adjusted and therefore immediately drew my eye there, rather than to the title or author of the book. Probably not a good things for a novel.
Can’t wait to read the next instalment. I’m eagerly awaiting this one.
While I can totally understand why everyone is saying what theyre saying, I personally feel that the cover is wonderful as is! The deep colors, very finished, jewel colors are very intriguing. It is exactly the kind of cover which, even if I didn’t already have a relationship with the characters/other books, would pull me in were it sitting on a bookstore shelf or library shelf. I work at a large public library and believe me, this cover is a winner!
First response on the cover: Pretty! Personally, I really like the blue and orange color combination and the fonts are crisp and clean. I’d probably stop and pick the book up if I were browsing through the new release section.
That said, though, if I was an LRK fan and wasn’t already anticipating this book’s release, I’d be completely taking by surprise that this was a new Russell story. It has no connection whatsoever with any of the other cover designs that have been used for the Russells. There should really be some kind of visual continuity for a series. Plus, given that LANG and GOTH are particularly linked by that “to be continued,” I would have been looking for a cover design that mirrors LANG in some way.
I like it very much. J has a point- the depth of the jewel colors on LANG and GOTH is very similar, and both draw the eye. I especially like the way the title is water-lapped; that’s genius. Earth has not anything to show more fair – Wordsworth was right. Can I fit in a trip to England next spring, I wonder?
Do I remember correctly that somewhere in the Canon, Holmes refers to London as a hive? If so, and if Mycroft plays a large part in GOTH, the picture on that cover seems fabulously appropriate. Also, the honeycomb covering less of the picture than in LANG seems appropriate, as the secrets are revealed; and the blue darkness seems very evocative of Damien. The LANG cover, though less arresting as art, did make the Russell/Holmes connection very clear. This would be a plus for those LRK fans who like the Russell series better than the Martinelli series or the stand-alones.
I like the cover photo, and it is a beautiful one–but I was wondering what the water under the bridge had to do with a hive. Someone else commented above that London is the real hive, so if that’s the case I can understand it. Otherwise, it’s just a wee bit confusing (if beautiful!).
I don’t dislike it, but like some others have mentioned, my first thought when looking at it was “what does all that water have to do with a hive?” I can appreciate that possibly (probably) after having read the book the bridge and water may make more sense/clearly fit, but the juxtaposition of all that water with the title initially strikes me as odd. It simultaneously makes me question the appropriateness of either the title or the cover or both; even though intellectually I know both could be quite fitting for the book, the visual and the title don’t jive to me (as a person who has not read it yet). I do enjoy the honeycomb motif. (Alternately, were the title still The Green Man, I don’t think the photo would be so…dissonant.)
I like it, I never saw a cover i didn’t like in this series! I love all the books, I read them over and over, this cover makes me want to read it SO bad! Not to mention the title, (so mysterious!).
My first reaction was “Ohhh, sooo pretty!” I don’t know, right off the bat, I want that cover. It’s…just really pretty. I mean, of course, I want the book for its content too (duh.) but I think when I get it (finally) I’m just going to spend a few seconds (minutes) staring at the cover.
Laurie, Thanks for asking us – I am a bit surprised that your editor want’s to hear from us. It suggests to me that this title is still causing unease in NY… and now there is a certain amount of insecurity regarding the cover art…
I’m siding with Roxanne and Strawberry Curls – will put my check by all of their comments.
In addition I am less than thrilled with the capitalization of the word “God”. I objected to the confused symbolism in this title to begin with (see the VBC site, The Language of Bees: The Discussion thread) and now there is another attempt to elevate (?) fiction into the religious. “Playing with fire” comes to mind; not to mention confusing faith and fiction or even bordering on the sacrilegious. Anyone who adheres to a religious belief and not familiar with this series may be deeply offended when they pick up a book that turns out to be a panasche of a fictional character. Anyone who is familiar with this series – as works of fiction – may be deeply offended by the conscription of the sacred in the titling of the profane.
If “God” is used in this title; the name given to the deity in several major religions, this could well be offensive to any, if not all of them. Christianity and Judaism have both been significant to the Kanon to date. To title a book of detective fiction or suspense with the use of a capital “G” is to allude to, if not outright refer to God as understood by both the Jewish and Christian traditions. That, my friend, can be seen as blasphemy.
The god of the Hive connotes pantheism or other forms of naturalism and may well refer to a wider scope than that. The God of the Hive is using a name/title for a recognized God – and IMO – crossing a line that you may well regret.
The proposed cover art – IMO – is fraught with confused symbolism; does not tie in well as a sequel to it’s predecessor, and, at worst uses words to say one thing while the art actually illustrates those words as merely an aside to the main visual images of bridge, water and – what appears to be – an obscured sky. Perhaps it’s meant to be early in the morning or later afternoon, or a very foggy day (over the bridge but not in the foreground… ?) I don’t know. It’s no clearer that the rest of this cover.
As I said before about titling a book: To name a book is to say something about the author and the book in it’s entirety; not to select a part and add distortion to that particular aspect, plot twist or new character. It doesn’t do justice to the work nor to the author. I would add that this should also be true of cover art. But neither should the art attempt to make up for titling or illustration deficiencies by trying to throw together every possible symbol for this book’s themes or dramatic action onto it’s cover.
Wendy said: “But I’d also buy it, though, even if it were wrapped in brown paper bags!”
I suspect all that enjoy LRK’s writing would, but that is to say we would buy the book for the writing. That’s a pretty devastating commentary on what we actually think of this title and cover art – to buy it despite… Maybe that thought will tell your editor something worth listening to – there is great loyalty towards a good writer but that can’t be said about the editorial choices made so far for this book.
OK. Literal first response: saying out loud “Oh, Nice.” Thereupon I became fuddled reading about the first 10 other comments, but decided to go back and read ’em afterward. It has a spooky, mysterious quality which I think may work well. It would attract me to pick up the book. Whether it passes the “notice it across the bookstore” test when done in blue tones, I have No Clue. Show me a pic with a London landmark in it, I am more likely to give it a close look. I think there’s enough of the “cells from the hive” as a running theme. But I must confess that I always like the Russ/Holmes silhouettes. just sayin’ . best to all//Meredith
I went home last night and realised that my earlier comments about the honeycomb linking in with LANG is theoretically wrong – this cover does link in, but with the UK edition’s cover of LANG with IT’S partial honeycomb motif. So in fact there is less of a link to the Bantam edition of LANG and, whilst they have, and need, their own identities, I think there needs to be more of a continuity link between the two – maybe a return of the black band and character silhouettes, though this is where I’m probably going to be in a minority as these don’t appeal to me as much as to others – sorry!!
I must admit that, with the rejacketing of the Russell backlist in the US, I thought that having two new series titles out in consecutive years would allow for the same design and lettering, as it is still fresh. AND – even having said this, I do really like this illustration, so I guess I’m just going to sit on the fence in the end!
My initial reaction is pretty negative. It doesn’t look dark and mysterious – it looks dark, and dirty, and dingy. The incomplete lettering is also not attractive to me. None of this will keep me from buying the book in hardback, but I’ll hope for a better cover in a later edition – this one just sucks.
I like the colors, the blue with the gold. Love the gold honeycomb. However, I do think that the honeycomb should be a raised overlay, something that cries out to be touched, to run your fingers over. There’s nothing quite like a cover that cries out to you to touch it. It might also be better to have the title and author’s name in raised gold as well. In any event, I would rather see the title and author’s name in the gold like the honeycomb, to make them more outstanding, and the rest of the information in white.
I really like the cover, which surprised me because I much prefer the old style of cover with Russell and Holmes’ profiles. I liked the honeycomb on the last book, and this seems like a good way to link the two. I think this cover is really wonderful, dark and ominous, clearly London with the incoming fog. And the fog adds to the unknown and possibly dangerous starting point of the continued story, so you don’t just pick up on the darkness of where the characters are from the dark colors, but even from the lighter hue that the fog brings.
For me though, all of the covers are better than the one with the girl on the front who looks WAY too child-like and young to resemble even a single physical characteristic of my mental image of Russell. However, your Russell/Holmes books could come covered in brown paper or messy newsprint and I would still buy them as soon as humanly possible. I ordered this from Amazon on Nov 4, and I’m dying to get my hands on it!
I can’t believe some people don’t like the cover. I think it’s great. I think you’re fabulous. I think Mary is fabulous. I think the whole thing is fabulous and I can’t wait for it to come out. You always leave me waiting for the next book. I thoroughly enjoy your writing.
Just thinking out loud in response to Donna’s comments above… I think the capitalization of “God” has more to do with the fact that it’s a noun in a title and less to do with the “god” vs “God” argument. If the book’s title was “The Floor of the Hive,” Floor would be capitalized; “of” and “the” aren’t capped since they are a conjunction and an article.
Of course, my post only makes sense if I’m correctly understanding Donna’s objection to the capitalization. My comment doesn’t apply to the argument of whether the word itself should be used in a book title, that’s a different argument.
As far as whether we like the cover – I think you’re asking the wrong group. I plan to buy the book no matter what the cover looks like, similar to what many others have stated here. You’d be better off asking people who haven’t read any LRKs, who have no idea how well you write.
I really like this cover, more than I like the LANG cover. But then I’ve generally preferred the UK covers. An interesting feature for me is that the lapping water and the graduated type sizes gives the cover a three dimentional look.
As a former editor legibility of type is a first concern. I would ask the designer to show me “The God” and “of the” in a point or two larger type. I’m also concerned about the tan lines when the cover is pictured in small photos. We want people to know it’s a Russell-Holmes book. White shows up better but isn’t as pleasing artistically.
For books in series two marketing considerations are to show kinship, but also to show differences so the buyer knows that this is clearly a new book. I think the conjunction of honeycomb and new look does this.
I too preferred “The Green Man,” but I don’t share Donna’s concern about God in the title taking on a religious connotation. As Kari says, title capitalization is a set convention, and we might speak of the god of the playground or the theater simply to denote dominance, or even to poke fun at an unwarranted self-importance.
The cover is absolutely gorgeous. I love the image; the strong blues and greys and the mist gives it an irresistably ethereal feeling and somehow give the impression of having been taken in England. The honeycombs are a lovely touch, although I agree that somethng should be done to make them different from the rest of the book. Perhaps making the honeycombs matte and the res of the cover glossy?
And although people have felt it curious why “Hive” is so much larger, I feel that its size is perfect and balances the cover better than making the rest of the title larger would have. In addition, although this may not be the most polite of sentiments, I must say that if I had not already read this series, I probably would not chosen to read this book if “God” had been given a larger font.
My only concern is the tan lettering in the middle of the cover; while the font size and colouring give balance to the cover, it is a little hard to read.
Despite all the critiquing though, I would honestly buy this book even if the cover was made out of ugly plastic bags,
Well, of course we Londoners love the bridge too! But if I’m not mistaken, that’s Lambeth Bridge, which wasn’t built until 1932.
Oh dear. Clearly I was looking sans glasses, or coffee, or something, but you’re absolutely right, those lamps are not trios. Sigh. My editor will murder me, or the art department, but I’ll ask if it can possibly, pretty please, be changed.
I love it!
Can’t wait for the new book! I am only sixteen but I feel like I have been reading this series forever! The story of Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes has been one of the best reads of all time for me.
The cover just makes me so excited that I can hardly wait to make a quick run to the nearest book store (which, as I live very much in farm country is an hour away) and start reading!
P.S- I know this is rather odd, but I really wish the Holmes and Russell would have a baby- just saying. hehe
When I was a kid, I read and re-read all of the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew I could find. Then I graduated with my M.Div. degree in 1988, for which I paid dearly with several classes that slogged through Hebrew and Greek grammar. I have also read (several times) every Sherlock Holmes volume I could get my hands on over the years. Imagine my complete surprise and delight to find a series that once again draws on my all-time favorite slueth and pairs him with an incredibly intelligent theology student. Wow, I thought I was in ecstasy! I am currently collecting all your books as my bank account will allow. Thank you for your incredible stories. Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes are the epitome of detective fiction for me.
I love the new cover. Excited to see the conclusion of the cliff hanger.
Love it, looking forward to it.
Looks quite handsome.. .and hope it follows up on The Language of Bees….
I hope this series never ends; I start reading one of them and I can never put in down! I hope another Russell book besides “God Of The Hive” will be added to this awesome series. Tell us as soon as possible Laurie!!
Love the cover and I am looking forward to all my questions that were raised in Language of Bees being answered in God of the Hive. Also how about someone generating their ideas of what Sherlock’s son’s paintings might look like. Their written description sounded wonderful. Or is that what the photos of paintings across the bottom of the site are supposed to be.
Yes, I love this series so much and my mum and I are reading it aloud together. My personal favorite was either The Beekeeper’s Apprentice or The Game
Love the cover: depicts the mysterious foggy atmosphere of the Holmes era. Cannot wait to read this book! Love all the Mary Russell books.
I love it! I am an avid reader, and I especially love this series. I was thinking, as I finished “the language of the bees”, why your writing is so appealling to me? I love mysteries, and Sherlock Holmes has always been a favorite and you have filled out his character so well with the addition of Mary. I also love that as I read your books I occasionally have to open my dictionary, and after I finish I have several topics that I now feel the need to research because you’ve peaked my interest (i.e. stone formations in britain)
Thank you so much for sharing these wonderful stories with us, I appreciate your gift!
I am so looking forward to The God of the Hive. Before I read the Language of Bees, I re-read all of the Russel novels. I’ve read Locked Rooms twice and all of the others three times. I am totally adicted!
Looks nice! I’ve read only the first six, because others are still not available here, in Croatia… and I’m almost half way of reading all of them the second time! Cannot wait till others come here, I simply LOVE them!!
Great cover. Do you know that Fantastic Fiction still has this book titled “The Green Man?”
I love all of your books and am reading the Language of Bees currently. Can you tell me if you might ever consider writing a sequel to Califia’s Daughters? I really enjoyed it and would like to see where things go next.