Judging SFF Books By Their Richard Anderson Covers

Richard Anderson is every art director’s dream. His bold, painterly approach is explosive—there is energy to every line. Nothing is ever still in his work, even when the figures aren’t in motion. The scene is never a stiff or frozen: you are given a moment to look at, but it’s easy to imagine what comes before and after. The looseness in his style invites the viewer to fill in the gaps, it also allows the reader to imagine the details for themselves as they go through the book. Richard gives you tone, a feeling for the book, and asks you to participate in the imagery. He’s also just a joy to work with. (It may not be the most important aspect of an illustrator, but it sure helps.)

After reading Aidan Moher’s feature on Richard, I was curious to see all of his book covers in one place. While I am very familiar with his work, I always enjoy a chance to see an artist in new a context. With that, here are some of the books that various publishers felt Richard was the perfect artist to set the stage for, and a little about each series. Enjoy!

Click covers to enlarge.


Richard Anderson Brian Staveley book covers The Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne

The Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne
Brian Staveley
Tor Books

Staveley’s epic fantasy begins with the assassination of the emperor of Annur, but the true threat to the Unhewn Throne is the conflicting ideologies of the emperor’s three children. His daughter Adare, recently-appointed minister working in the heart of the empire, rallies forces against the coup who believe that she has been touched by the empire’s patron goddess. Valyn, shaped by the brutal training of the Kettral soldiers, has allied himself with the nomads who seek to invade the weakened city. Caught in the middle is Kaden, the rightful heir to the Unhewn Throne, who struggles to master both an ancient power and valuable knowledge of the secret history behind the Annurian empire. Even if they manage to regain ownership of their city, their legacy might already be beyond repair.


Richard Anderson SFF book covers Skullsworn Brian Staveley

Brian Staveley
Tor Books

The first standalone novel within the world of the Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne stars Pyrre, the assassin who plays a pivotal role in The Providence of Fire. Set before that book, Skullsworn traces Pyrre’s final trial before becoming a priestess in her city’s religious order, the Skullsworn. In order to pass the test, Pyrre must kill the seven people named in an ancient song—including the most enigmatic, “the one who made your mind and body sing with love.” The problem is, Pyrre doesn’t think she’s ever been in love. But once the trial begins, she has ten days in the city of her birth to fall in love, and fulfill her destiny.


Richard Anderson Kameron Hurley book covers Worldbreaker Saga

The Worldbreaker Saga
Kameron Hurley
Angry Robot

Every two thousand years, the dark star Oma appears in the sky, awakening violent powers within all who stand beneath it. In Hurley’s grimdark epic fantasy saga, the Saiduan kingdom falls to armies from another world who share their faces. The pacificistic Dhai people, once enslaved by the Saiduan but now begged by their former masters to join the fray, must contend with the same eerily familiar invaders. As the Tai Kao seek to harness Oma’s power and close the link between worlds, who will be sacrificed to restore balance?


Richard Anderson Victor Milan Dinosaur Lords series book covers

Dinosaur Lords Series
Victor Milán
Tor Books

Milán’s splendidly weird world of Paradise mirrors 14th-century Europe: rival dynasties grappling for power send their knights across the land to ensure their control… except that the armored knights ride Stegosauruses and T-Rexes instead of horses. After being left for dead in battle, Dinosaur Lord Karyl Bogomirsky seeks to rally people away from eternal, bloody, pointless war. Unfortunately, his timing couldn’t be worse, as the Empire has declared a religious crusade against a peaceful kingdom. Worst of all, the ancient gods who dropped humans into Paradise on a whim are unhappy with their experiment, and have sent the Grey Angels to rid the world of sin.


Richard Anderson book covers Wesley Chu Time Salvager Time Siege

Time Salvager Series
Wesley Chu
Tor Books

With the majority of the human race having abandoned toxic Earth for outer space, a small subset of the population is recruited for dangerous work traveling into the past and steal treasures from key moments in history—without altering the timeline. With his sordid history with the law and the unique psychological makeup that experience provides, James Griffin-Mars makes the perfect chronman. But on the salvage that will secure his retirement, James absconds with something far more dangerous than an artifact: Elise Kim, a scientist fated to die on an ocean liner. In fact, James begins collecting a number of forbidden human treasures, each pulled out of their respective timelines to create enough chaos to threaten the entire solar system—a system which both fears James and will stop at nothing to cut his time short.


Richard Anderson John Fultz book covers

Books of the Shaper
John R. Fultz
Orbit Books

The King of Yaskatha might have slain the Giants to bring Men to power, but he is brought down by one of his own. After young Prince D’zan watches a necromancer slaughter his father and usurp the throne, he flees to neighboring kingdoms to seek allies in six foreign princes whose fates are tied to his. So begins Fultz’s epic fantasy series, which spans the jungles of Khyrei to the drought-sticken Stormlands. The trilogy follows Twin Kings arguing whether their destinies lie in knowledge or war, and seven sorcerers who marshal their greatest magics against invaders who would destroy the Land of the Five Cities.


Echopraxia Peter Watts book cover Richard Anderson

Peter Watts
Tor Books

In a posthuman world, Daniel Brüks is a fossil: a field biologist stubbornly still working despite computers outpacing him, his work warped to meet terrorists’ ends. When Dan tries to turn his back on the rest of rapidly evolving humanity, he instead finds himself on a spaceship headed for the center of the solar system. Suddenly, he’s in the thick of everything he rejects, flanked by a soldier haunted by whispered messages from his dead son (the dearly departed can send postcards from Heaven) and a resurrected vampire. If that’s not enough to unhinge this atheist, the Rapture-obsessed monks who pilot this ship—the Crown of Thorns, naturally—are on a collision course to meet an entity known only as the Angels of the Asteroids.


Richard Anderson SFF book covers Sunset Mantle Alter S. Reiss

Sunset Mantle
Alter S. Reiss
Tor.com Publishing

In one swift strike, Cete earned the honor of saving his lord from “the madding” in battle and the exile that came from killing the man. Wandering through the settlement of Reach Antach, the veteran warrior searches for a new purpose. What leads him to take on a three-year posting in the Reach army is not loyalty—the settlement is doomed, he knows—but an investment: So taken is he by the titular sunset mantle, crafted by a blind woman at the market, that he commissions a similarly spectacular cloak. For what, he doesn’t know; he simply feels compelled to own such a piece. Reiss’ novella is key example of the “small story” in epic fantasy—the relatable struggles of real people against the backdrop of a lush fantasy world.


Sarah Gailey River of Teeth Richard Anderson book cover

River of Teeth
Sarah Gailey
Tor.com Publishing

In an alternate universe, the United States government went ahead with a wacky plan to import hippopotamuses into the marshlands of Louisiana to be bred and slaughtered as an alternative meat source… only to discover just how fast and sharp their new meat source’s teeth are. In this alt-history 1890s American frontier, Winslow Remington Houndstooth and his gang of hard-living, knife-wielding mercenary cowboys are tasked with taking back the Mississippi from the bloodthirsty feral hippos who have claimed it.

Two words: Hippo. Mayhem.


Richard Anderson SFF book covers The Stone in the Skull Elizabeth Bear

The Stone in the Skull
Elizabeth Bear
Tor Books

Bear’s new epic trilogy—set in the same world as the Eternal Sky series—soars over the dangerous mountain passes of the Steles of the Sky and dips south into the Lotus Kingdoms. The Gage and The Dead Man are an odd pair: an automaton (wrapped around the core of a human) tasked by his creator, the sorcerer of Messaline, to deliver a message to the Rajni of the Lotus Kingdom; and his protector, who previously served for the now-deposed Uthman Caliphate. The message they carry places them in the middle of a dynastic war between two rulers of a once-great Empire.


The Builders Daniel Polansky book cover Richard Anderson

The Builders
Daniel Polansky
Tor.com Publishing

Imagine Redwall, but as a spaghetti Western: After the last mission in the Capital goes cockeyed thanks to turncoats, the Captain’s whiskers are twitching at the thought of sweet revenge. But first he has to get the gang back together for one last job: opossum sniper Boudica, stoat assassin Bonsoir, and salamander Cinnabar. However, the Captain isn’t the only one carrying the bad memories of last time, and even the best-laid plans can be exploded, in Polansky’s novella that’s equal parts violent and tongue-in-cheek.


Richard Anderson SFF book covers The Forgetting Moon

The Forgetting Moon
Brian Lee Durfee
Saga Press

Durfee, an illustrator for Tolkien Enterprises, Dungeons & Dragons, and more, brings his own fantasy epic to life with the Five Warrior Angels series. In the first installment, the invading army of Sør Sevier descends upon the Five Isles and its final unconquered kingdom, Gul Kana. While religious fanatic King Jovan retreats into paranoid isolation, his two sisters take action: Jondralyn disdains her beauty in favor of becoming a warrior, taught by her assassin-turned-paramour Hawkwood, while Tala uncovers a damning family secret that could pose its own threat to the kingdom. Within Sør Sevier’s ranks, knight Gault finds himself disillusioned with the prophetic commands of Aeros, the Angel Prince, and turning away from the quest.


Richard Anderson SFF book covers Beyond Redemption Michael R. Fletcher

Beyond Redemption
Michael R. Fletcher
Harper Voyager

In the dark city-state of Fletcher’s dystopian fantasy, belief or perception is a stronger force than fact or logic. Under the Theocrats’ rule, the Geisteskranken—men and women whose delusions manifest into reality—with the strongest and most obsessive convictions possess the greatest power to shape the world itself. Seeking to form order out of chaos, the High Priest Konig manipulates his believers with the notion that they must allow a young boy, Morgen, to ascend to godhood. Except that “ascension” means “sacrifice” to raise a preexisting god, one which Konig can control. But he isn’t the only one who wants to use Morgen as a tool; the priest’s doppelgangers have other plans for Morgen, and then there’s perhaps the greatest threat to the Geisteskranken—the only sane man left.


Richard Anderson SFF book covers Kings of the Wyld Nicholas Eames

Kings of the Wyld
Nicholas Eames
Orbit Books

Eames’ debut novel puts a fantastical spin on the “getting the band back together” reunion story, as this is a band not of musicians but of mercenaries. Despite Saga’s glory days of adventure, the group of hired fighters disbanded, each member growing old, fat, or drunk (or all three). Clay Cooper is enjoying his quiet retirement when he gets called back into the fold by Saga’s former leader Gabriel, whose daughter Rose has tried to follow in her father’s footsteps. Unfortunately, that means the fledgling mercenary has been kidnapped. Now, Clay must round up Saga’s other bandmates: bailing the brawn out of jail, giving the wizard searching for a cure to a deadly illness a new focus, and luring the dagger man-turned-king away from his throne. But after so much time apart, can they make sweet music hold their own in battle and make the name of Saga mean something again?


Richard Anderson SFF book covers The Burning Light Bradley P. Beaulieu Rob Ziegler

The Burning Light
Bradley P. Beaulieu and Rob Ziegler
Tor.com Publishing

New York City is a flooded relic, not that it matters to its inhabitants: They’re all addicted to the Burning Light, which pulls its users out of the global mind-network on which humanity relies, honing their attention to when they can get the next hit. Zola, once a pilot able to control a thousand ships solely with her mind, has turned to the Light. Yet unlike the other junkies, she has something that the Light needs. But she doesn’t have much time left: Colonel Melody Chu, a disgraced government operative struggling to find her career redemption during her exile in New York, is closing in on Zola. Having lost her entire family to the Light, Chu isn’t likely to see Zola’s side of things. And the Light just keeps getting stronger.


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