The Bishop’s Man

April 21, 2011 § Leave a comment


Great cover.

It achieves something very interesting…

On the one hand the clever use of the shadows and silhouette creates a cruxifix that is not only very arresting but beautifully brings to life the religious backdrop of the novel. This is elegantly reinforced by the way the cross cuts through the words of the title.

It works extremely well on both shelf and screen.

However, the designers have recognised that they can’t stray too far into the world of religion if they want this book to be a commercial success.

They need to balance the overly-serious tone of the crucifix and the title with another layer. This is where our friendly ‘Shadow Man’ comes in.

At a stroke the ‘Shadow Man’ changes our understanding of the title and imbues the story with ‘Thriller undertones’ that take it out of the specialist religious ghetto and place it firmly in the arena of commercial fiction.

Well done to the publishers for pulling off this neat trick.

We would quibble with the black and white treatment as it makes the book feel a little bit too heavy / serious / literary but we warmly applaud the shift away from the more obvious and far less impactful hardback cover.

It is unusual to see paperbacks get more interesting than the hardback version. Here is one of the rare exceptions.


The much more obvious and far less clever hardback cover

Unfortunately, Canadians got a rehash of the tepid hardcover jacket on the trade paperback release. The “great” design above was for Jonathan Cape’s UK market edition.


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