Thursday, January 29, 2015

The Cover for COMMANDO: Operation Archery

My cover artist for the COMMANDO series, Ander Plana, sent me the cover for the latest book, Operation Archery. The novel covers the Commando raid of Vaagso, Norway at the end of December, 1941. The Vaagso raid was the first large-scale Commando raid of the war, involving the whole of 3 Commando, as well as elements from Numbers 2, 4, and 6 Commando, along with a squad from the 1st Independent Norwegian Company, formed in exile in Britain. Along with the Commando forces, the Royal Navy sent along several warships to provide bombardment firepower, and the RAF sent a number of long-range fighters and light bombers. So, in addition to being the largest Commando raid thus far in the war, it was the first raid fully utilizing a "combined arms" approach, supporting the raiding infantry elements with naval and air power.

Writing Operation Archery will definitely be a challenge. While it is a very well-documented raid, this will be the first book in the series that fictionalizes a completely historical event, and I'll be weaving my fictional characters around historical figures and their exploits. This is a task that is always tricky, because while you want the fictional characters to shine in your story, you also don't want to detract from or diminish the actions of the historical figures, something that is often treated as a cardinal sin by fans of historical fiction.

Turning back to the cover of the latest book, I spent quite a while discussing with Ander the style and action on the cover. We agreed to flip the color scheme used in all previous covers and go with an all-white cover with black lettering, something that better fits the daytime winter environment of the raid. In addition, when deciding what the illustration on the cover would depict, we agreed that Ander would draw heavy inspiration from an actual photograph taken during the raid. I'm really happy with how this turned out, because I feel that anyone familiar with Operation Archery will recognize the inspiration behind my novel's cover, and I hope they'll appreciate the reference.

I hope to have Operation Archery out and on sale by mid-spring. As always, I'll make an announcement here, but if you want to receive word of the book's release, feel free to sign up for my mailing list.


Charles Gramlich said...

I've never tried that sort of historical writing. I've always imagined it must be hard. Maybe you could post at some point about some of the specific issues you struggle with.

FreeLiverFree said...

Would I need to read the other Commando books before reading this one?

Anonymous said...


Jim Cornelius

Sean McLachlan said...

Looking forward to reading this one. It's fun to weave fictional characters into historical narrative. Sometimes history gives a helping hand. When I was writing about my characters joining up with a historic Confederate guerrilla band, that band disappeared from the record for a few days just when I needed them to do something fictional!

Filipe said...

Any update?