SNEAKY PEEK: Cover for Mandigo and the Hellhounds

In August we will be publishing Nina Sokol’s English translation of the first book in the Danish YA fantasy Mandigo trilogy by Anders Reemark. Mandigo and the Hellhounds (originally published in Danish as Mandigo og Helvedeshundene) is the exciting story of young Mandigo who starts to realise he is special on his twelfth birthday.

Artwork: Alison Buck
Artwork: Alison Buck

Although the mediaeval setting and characters have a Scandinavian feel, Anders’ story itself is timeless, transcending national borders and cultures, and appealing to everyone. Young readers in any country will empathise with Mandigo as his life takes sudden and unexpected turns, he discovers the truth about his own past, and starts to fear for his future and that of everyone he loves.

As soon as we read it, we knew that we wanted to publish Anders’ book for an English-speaking audience. The next major decision, of course, was the design of the cover. Early on in the story Mandigo has an encounter with a demon that leaves his face badly scarred. Anders was very keen that the cover should show Mandigo, including his face – but would it scare off younger readers or intrigue them? We decided to portray Mandigo as he looks out from the top of a tower of the Bloodstone fortress, the setting for much of the action. Once again artist Alison Buck has produced an image that captures the character of Mandigo, while being sympathetic to the nature of his disfigurement.

When we showed it to Anders his response was “That cover is absolutely awesome. Alison has done a great job. The way Mandigo’s scarred face is shown, it makes the reader ponder, ‘What on Earth happened to this guy, and what is he doing on that book cover?’ Also, the way the image is composed, you get a sense of the loneliness that Mandigo is experiencing. At first sight, he scares you, and then you start feeling curious and a little sorry for him. And then there is the setting sun in the background. Something is coming. Something powerful. Spooky, and awesome! I also like the font. They look like Scandinavian runes. A nice touch that.”

Mandigo and the Hellhounds will be published as an eBook on the 5th August and the print edition will be launched in September at the FantasyCon convention in Scarborough.