We’re pleased to share the cover for Susan Jane Bieglow’s Sky Ranger, available June 28th from Book Smugglers Publishing! A story of hope and adventure, sacrifice and freedom, Sky Ranger is the second novel in the Extrahuman Union series and the direct sequel to critically-acclaimed Broken. Below the cut, Bigelow talks more about the series—plus, check out the full superheroic cover by artist Kirbi Fagan!
Author Susan Jane Bigelow on Sky Ranger and the Extrahuman Union series:
This book started with a nagging feeling that I’d left something undone. In the very beginning, way before any of these books came close to publication, I’d planned for Broken to be a stand-alone story. But unsurprisingly, those characters and that world simply wouldn’t let me go. Specifically, I felt that there was one character whose story was begging to be told: Sky Ranger.
Sky Ranger, the leader of the Extrahuman Union who has both the power of flight and extraordinary strength, starts off as an antagonist in Broken. I won’t elaborate on the events that bring him out of that role in case folks haven’t read it yet! But by the start of this second book in the Extrahuman Union series, he’s faced the loss of his friends, his people, and all of the certainty about his life and his world that he ever had.
This book is, in part, about how he tries to come to terms with his own past and with all the pain his actions as a willing collaborator with the totalitarian Reform Party have caused. It’s a story about growth, guilt, sacrifice, and redemption.
The book also introduces Renna Fernandez Silva, a refugee running from persecution back home, and Dee, a teenage orphan who has uncanny good luck. There are many others first seen here who will be with us for a long while to come.
But Sky Ranger’s name and face are on the cover, so it’s really his story. Where in the world did he come from? He started off as a riff on Superman, which is pretty obvious. He’s just the kind of arrogant meathead with powers who often appeared in the cartoons and comic books of my youth, and he’s initially very easy to hate.
It’s never that simple, though, is it? There’s always more to the story, and that’s where this book begins.
I am beyond delighted that Sky Ranger is returning in this gorgeous new form, and I can’t wait to share it all with you!
Artist Kirbi Fagan on the cover design:
I use a combined technique of traditional and digital materials to create the illustration. My color choice was very important to my vision for the series. I painted the whole series in cooler, neutral colors in hopes of creating a sophisticated palette. This somewhat dull palette contributes to the narrative that these superheroes are very flawed, real people. For Sky, I wanted him to have a classic hero feel that was quickly identifiable. Red and blue seemed like an obvious choice for a timeless looking hero. To avoid looking too formal, I designed the seams on the costuming to be more modern and sporty. The tiny tears and rips bring the grungy, raw narrative that we feel throughout the series.
Sky Ranger is available June 28th from Book Smugglers. From the catalog copy:
Sky Ranger, leader of the recently annihilated Extrahuman Union, is on the run. Deceived by his former Confederate allies, despised and branded a traitor by the rest of the world, Sky Ranger has left Earth behind in search of atonement.
Impetuous and stubborn, Renna is one of the refugees aboard the same ship as Sky Ranger and instantly feels drawn to the former hero. Along with an orphaned teenager named Dee, Renna is one of the only people who will acknowledge Sky’s presence—even after their ship crashes. Together, in the middle of a scorched desert planet, Sky Ranger, Renna, and Dee form an unlikely bond.
Everything changes when Dee is abducted and whisked from alien space back into the heart of the Confederation. Sky Ranger faces a grim choice—to go his way alone, or return to face the same government that committed genocide against his people.