It’s 2024 already, and we’re nearly through the first month, actually as this is late, we’re already through it! As usual we’ve been very busy over the last few weeks after a much-needed break in between Christmas and New Year. I’m very much looking forward to this year, as it should be the first full steam year at Curious King with four books planned for pre-order with at least four books shipped this year too!
I released the details of our next title last week to a very warm response, and I’m very grateful to be able to publish the 40th anniversary edition of David Gemmell’s “Legend”. As a British Publisher and huge fan of Fantasy (in particular heroic/gritty/grim fantasy) David Gemmell’s “Legend” is one of the originals. It’s up there with The Black Company as a forerunner for gutsy hard fantasy novels that felt more like war movies. To be able to do the first limited edition, and in it’s 40th year is just overwhelming really but I’m excited to take it on.
There is a lot going on at CK HQ and with production, so please read ahead for more:
The Blade Itself
We are very close to releasing the prints of Tommy Arnold’s amazing cover, but unfortunately the prints are stuck in customs at the moment. Hopefully I’ll be able to get them released asap, then I can take some pictures and put these up on the website for sale.
To remind everyone of the specs, these are 16x20inch prints, and they have been signed and numbered by Tommy Arnold. These are limited to just 50 pieces.
The price for the signed and numbered Tommy Arnold print is going to be £110 plus postage/packaging. These will come packaged in a very sturdy tube and well protected within. I’m hopeful we should be going live with these during the first week of February.
The Fifth Season
Moving forward nicely, though we’ve had little snag rear it’s head. We’re missing the first 8-page section on the Lettered Edition paper Liber Charta. Luckily it’s not a major hold up, as the other tiers can be progressed until we have these pages to hand.
The bindery is making good progress with the book blocks and the slipcases, and I recently dropped off the Amethyst cases for interior production which was very exciting and a hairy drive down from Manchester. Regarding art we are very nearly there, we have just 3 finished pieces awaiting sign-off before they can be printed for tip-ins, but the ones we’ve seen have been absolutely incredible, a big hats off to John Anthony di Giovanni – incredible range.
I’ll be sharing a couple of these in the run up to shipping, but not all as I want some surprises for the book owners.
I’m still hoping this will ship out by the end of March, but that’s looking more and more unlikely at the moment which I can only apologise for and take full responsibility for. April may be more realistic depending on printing the tip-ins.
The production levels on this edition from Standard to Roman Numeral are as high if not higher than The Blade Itself, so whilst I know this has taken some time, it will be worth it.
Here’s one of the finished interiors by John, the enigmatic Schaffa sailing to return Syenite to the fulcrum.
Jaime is very nearly finished with all of the colour paintings now (and yes, they are oil paintings!). The B&W images are being litho printed next week, then this will go across to Nomad Letterpress for the text printing.
Not only that I’m having the prototypes updated and they are nearly finished. I’ll be sending these to a proper photographer (I think you can all guess who), so we can get some images that do the editions justice.
Where is the Roman Numeral? Still being made. I have gone back and forth on this one a hundred times now, and we’re doing the last piece of testing at the bindery. The case is also getting an update too, as I wasn’t quite happy with the last prototype.
When will this be released and what will it cost? End of February I think, hopefully earlier. Price will be around £6,500 – £7,500 depending on a couple of things that haven’t been finalised yet. Don’t worry it will be printed and bound at the same time as the other tiers.
We’re aiming for H1 shipping for Hyperion still, so hold tight.
Here’s a sneak peak at the nearly finished Shrike feature image on the easel (it’s done now, and incredible)!
Before They are Hanged
Next up after Hyperion is Before They are Hanged! I’m very excited to be working on the second First Law book, as the first one was so well received.
The big news on this (which Joe accidentally revealed on his birthday blog post) is that Tommy Arnold is stepping away from art duties for the remaining two books due to his schedule. Whilst disappointed, Tommy won’t be able to finish the series, but it does give us a fantastic opportunity to see other artists depictions of this world, and will allow us to finish the original trilogy quicker.
I’m pleased to announce the incredible Vance Kovacs is working on Before They are Hanged and we have already seen the preliminary images and they look great. Vance is a fantastic artist who has worked in games, films and books previously. He knows Jaime Jones and Justin Sweet very well due to working on the same projects, and comes with such a high bar for quality.
The prototypes are currently under production already. These will fit in nicely with the first book, and I’m just toying with a few ideas regarding colour before releasing the info.
We are looking like a March reveal and pre-order for this title, with shipping pencilled in for H2 2024.
There is an artist we are in conversation with on Book 3 (if you want to know) which Joe is particularly excited about (as am I of course), but won’t be able to confirm just yet.
Recently announced, we are taking on David Gemmell’s masterpiece “Legend” as a standalone novel for the 40th anniversary. As mentioned in the blog post we are working with Justin Sweet for the art, and we will be working on the bindings in the next couple of months.
There has been a wonderful response to this announcement, as I was a little bit worried this was a title that hasn’t been widely read in the US. The UK contingent is certainly strong, and I think I’ll be increasing Standard Editions to 400 and exploring a potential trade edition (not making any promises!).
As always art is the name of the game for timing, and all being well this should ship in Q4 2024 after a planned pre-order date of June.
Gary is working his magic, and I have made a start on some binding concepts. Marcelo has also made a start on the interiors too, which is very exciting. As a certified control-freak it’s been hard to let go of the interiors, but Marcelo is by far the better layout designer so I know it’s in good hands. The entire team is on the same page with our level of respect for this particular title, and we’ll do everything we possibly can to make this perfect.
I’m also working on a cool idea for the Roman Numeral edition (ambitious but possible I reckon). Hopefully I can pull it off, but who knows! It may end up in the bin.
I am working on other bits to complete the five year roadmap. I’ve recently signed a contract for another fantasy series which hasn’t had the full fine press treatment yet (though I believe there may be a limited done by another publisher).
There is also another potentially very exciting project which has taken up a bit of my time recently. Will it come off? Who knows, but I think it would be very well received.
Am I biting off more than I can chew? I don’t think so. Taking on other titles will allow me to pick and choose which books get published to ensure I do four a year. Also getting a head start on art is the aim of the game at the moment!
Despite increasing my titles under licence, this doesn’t mean I’m going to increase my output or lower the quality of my work. That’s my promise. There may be the odd year where 5 or even 6 land during the 12 months but it won’t be the norm. I want the freedom to choose what comes next for my collectors when it’s ready, rather than being a slave to a schedule.
I’m really excited about where we’re heading and hope you guys are ready for all of this!