Revealing the UK Cover for Drew Williams’ A Chain Across the Dawn

It’s been three years since Esa left her backwater planet to join the ranks of the Justified. Together, she and fellow agent Jane Kamali have been traveling across the known universe, searching for children who share Esa’s supernatural gifts…

We’re excited to share the cover for the UK edition of A Chain Across the Dawn, the second novel in Drew Williams’ the Universe After series—an epic space opera chase across the galaxy with witty banter, fantastical planets, and a seemingly unbeatable foe!

Author Drew Williams on the UK cover, designed by Jack Smyth:

God, I love this cover. I always feel a little weird, saying that: it feels almost egotistical, even though I myself had nothing to do with the design of the thing and it represents the work of incredibly talented people who are very much not me (Jack Smyth, in particular, who I imagine see beautiful things behind his eyes as he’s just going about his day). But even with that, it still feels like mine, so complimenting it feels like somebody asking you about your kid and your response being, ‘yeah, they’re just… the best. Other kids suck compared to my kid.’ But I mean… come on. Look at that design. Look at that art. Just look at it. The asymmetry of the thing, the juxtaposition of the brightness and the dark, between the broad circles that make up the sun and the pinpricks of white that create the stars; the way Jack managed to create the implication of a horizon—of a ‘dawn’—while still showing the vastness of the cosmos beyond with just a few points of light… it’s abstracted, idealized, but also immediately recognizable.

Even the font serves such a specific purpose—harkening back to that sort of mid-70s explosion of science fiction in film and novels, driven by the space race and the moon landing—that I immediately feel awed and a little terrified of the comparisons the cover invites the reader to draw: to Arthur C. Clarke, to Ellison, to later Heinlein, all absolute luminaries of the genre. I mean, even the shape of the title conveys just the slightest hint of rising motion, implying something—a rocket, a starship, a dream—lifting off from the horizon to race out into the stars. A buddy of mine looked at the British cover for The Stars Now Unclaimed and said ‘it looks like a lost Kubrick film’, which is just about the best compliment—even inadvertent—that he could have managed; to me, the Chain cover manages the same aesthetic, while also being warmer, more hopeful, even braver, somehow. (And that’s from someone who absolutely loved the British Stars cover, as well).

So—yeah. I don’t give a damn about being modest; it’s my cover, it’s my kid, and it’s freaking gorgeous, and I would still feel like it’s freaking gorgeous even if it wasn’t mine; the pride I feel in that—in the fact that my novel will forever be associated with this bold, beautiful image in the mind of anyone who reads A Chain Across The Dawn with this cover on the book—feels like the opposite of immodesty: it feels humbling, humbling and supremely gratifying, to know that someone felt like my novel deserved such a defining, brave, elegant face to show the world. The creation of a piece of art like this for my work—it feels like an act of incredible kindness, like a gift, from Jack Smyth and Anne Perry and everyone else at Simon & Schuster UK, and not a gift to me, but to Chain herself: it feels like they told her she was beautiful.

God, I love it so, so much.

A Chain Across the Dawn publishes in the UK with Simon & Schuster in August 2019, and you can get book one, The Stars Now Unclaimed, now. The US edition publishes May 2019 with Tor Books. From the catalog copy:

It’s been three years since Esa left her backwater planet to join the ranks of the Justified. Together, she and fellow agent Jane Kamali have been traveling across the known universe, searching for children who share Esa’s supernatural gifts.

On a visit to a particularly remote planet, they learn that they’re not the only ones searching for gifted children. They find themselves on the tail of a mysterious being with impossible powers who will stop at nothing to get his hands on the very children that Esa and Jane are trying to save

With their latest recruit in tow—a young Wulf boy named Sho—Esa and Jane must track their strange foe across the galaxy in search of answers. But the more they learn, the clearer it becomes—their enemy may be harder to defeat than they ever could have imagined.


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