THE EMPRESS HOLDS THE KEY
By Gabriel Farago
Countdown to publication; the Book Cover
Let’s make Friday the 13th — Black Friday — into an auspicious day. With the November release date of The Empress Holds The Key racing towards us, the time has come to give you a little preview of the all-important book cover.
Ask any author, and he will tell you when it comes to book covers, you have about a minute to capture the reader’s attention, ignite and hold his interest, and persuade him to want more. That’s quite a task. Let’s see if we’ve succeeded.
The cover has to appeal to the eye, the blurb to the intellect, and both to the imagination. It’s a balancing act where all the pieces have to fit perfectly, with harmony the glue that holds them together.
Needless to say, a great deal of thought has gone into the cover design.
The centrepiece is a violin. Not just any violin, but a copy of the splendid 1703 instrument crafted by Antonio Stradivari known as “Philip V of Spain.” This adds further authenticity and meaning to the image which is multi-layered and full of subtle messages. The fact that the violin is a genuine Stradivarius is significant, and relates directly to the text and the storyline.
The colours are rich and dramatic, create a mood of mystery and warmth, and draw you in. If you look at the front cover carefully and let the design speak to you, you will notice the words Roha and Parzival come floating out of the f-hole of the violin together with a faded Star of David, and a set of numbers 8241 … Once the reader delves into the book, he will discover the meaning of all this, but for now, it is of course a mystery.
The blurb on the back of the cover must be short and punchy. It is one of the most difficult things to draft. To convey the ‘flavour’ of a book that is quite complex and almost 500 pages long in a couple of short paragraphs, is an art. Not only does the blurb have to capture the reader’s interest, it must appeal to his imagination, be true to the text and ignite curiosity and a desire to learn more. Let’s see if we’ve succeeded:
Journalist Jack Rogan knows a great story when he finds one. A charred old photograph found in the ruins of a cottage hints at dark secrets and unwittingly reignites an ancient and deadly quest for a holy relic mysteriously erased from the pages of history.
Police officer Jana Gonski in pursuit of a suspected Nazi war criminal joins forces with Rogan, barrister and amateur archaeologist Marcus Carrington QC, and celebrated composer Benjamin Krakowski. Together they uncover a murky web of intrigue and greed, hoards of Nazi gold and hidden Swiss bank accounts. All implicate wealthy banker Sir Eric Newman. When Newman goes on trial, unexpected clues are discovered pointing the way to a mystery that has haunted the Catholic Church for centuries.
On a dangerous journey to find the relic, Rogan and his companions trace links back as far as the reign of Akhenaten, the heretic pharaoh of ancient Egypt, and King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. What is this dark secret guarded by the Knights Templar, and so feared by the Vatican? Will religious fanatics foil this quest which could destroy the very foundations of their Church and challenge Christianity itself?
One last thing remains to be done. We have to introduce the author who created it all. He too, must appeal to the reader. We have tried to this in two ways. A small portrait picture of the author on the back cover, and a short biography. Here’s the biography:
Gabriel Farago is an Australian author, lawyer and novelist with a passion for history and archaeology. Gabriel holds degrees in literature and law, speaks several languages, and has studied Egyptology. He travels extensively and visits all of the locations mentioned in his books. Gabriel lives with his wife in the Blue Mountains near Sydney.
As for the rest, let the cover speak.