I’ve talked a couple of times about Aliette de Bodard’s new novel coming this year, “The House of Shattered Wings”, and my eagerness to read it. My excitement grows further with the recently released cover artwork for the US edition of “The House of Shattered Wings”. Roc Books, the imprint of Penguin Group, publishing the US edition, chose the Spanish artist Nekro, who previously created covers, among others, for David Barnett’s US editions of “Gideon Smith and the Mechanical Girl” and “Gideon Smith and the Brass Dragon”, E.D. deBirmingham’s “Siege Perilous” (the fifth book in the Mongoliad Cycle) or Kendare Blake’s “Anna Dressed in Blood”, for the cover of Aliette de Bodard’s novel. And the end result is excellent, a great match for the details of the novel surfaced so far. Although the sense of a post-apocalyptic setting is not in the face, Paris seen in the background doesn’t look exactly like a city in ruins, the feeling of destruction is felt through the crumbled walls and ruined floor presented to the fore, by the burning feathers falling to the ground and the gloomy and oppressive clouds covering the sky. The crumbling wall, the falling, burning feathers and the wrecked throne with the carved angel (I love a lot this detail) hit other aspects of the synopsis, these elements can find an easy connection with the downfall of one of the Great Houses of the story and with two of the characters, a fallen angel and an alchemist with a self-destructive addiction, mentioned in the novel presentation. I believe that Nekro’s cover gives an excellent face to Aliette de Bodard’s “The House of Shattered Wings”.
In the late Twentieth Century, the streets of Paris are lined with haunted ruins. The Great Magicians’ War left a trail of devastation in its wake. The Grand Magasins have been reduced to piles of debris, Notre-Dame is a burnt-out shell, and the Seine has turned black with ashes and rubble and the remnants of the spells that tore the city apart. But those that survived still retain their irrepressible appetite for novelty and distraction, and The Great Houses still vie for dominion over France’s once grand capital.
Once the most powerful and formidable, House Silverspires now lies in disarray. Its magic is ailing; its founder, Morningstar, has been missing for decades; and now something from the shadows stalks its people inside their very own walls.
Within the House, three very different people must come together: a naive but powerful Fallen angel; an alchemist with a self-destructive addiction; and a resentful young man wielding spells of unknown origin. They may be Silverspires’ salvation—or the architects of its last, irreversible fall. And if Silverspires falls, so may the city itself.