I'm used to putting on a brave face about my covers. It's generally clear someone has put a lot of thought and effort into them, I'm not going to change things, so I might as well pulse some positive vibe into the proceedings and say 'great!' Christopher Corr, for example, did the design for my first novel On Bended Knees - news which delighted me in advance for he was one of my two favourite illustrators at the time. His work was pleasing in itself, but majored on a portrait of the main character in the book. I don't like my fiction being illustrated so specifically, preferring readers to have the freedom to form their own sense of how a character looks.
This new cover does the job thoroughly for me though. I was chuffed to discover this picture of J. S. Haldane: he mentioned its being taken in a letter. The photographer is Sir Benjamin Stone, capturing Haldane in his work clothes before descending the sewers beneath the Houses of Parliament in 1902. The photo's been coloured, and the foreground extended.
The perching canary has for me always been the most emblematic part of the Haldane story: everyone knows about canaries used in mines, but the fact that their introduction stemmed from a brainwave by Haldane has hitherto passed unnoticed. The long subtitle was added at the editor's suggestion, giving the illustrator more to work on . . . avoiding the 'Haldane who he?' reader response. I appreciate the 'Dead or Alive' wanted poster script of the title.
This is one I would pick up in a bookstore. Let's trust others do so too.