Between 1982 and 1984 PAN printed the four titles in the Julian May “Saga of the Exiles“ series namely “The Many Coloured Land”, “The Golden Torc”, The Non-Born King” and “The Adversary”. They all had covers in a similar style by the artist Stephen Bradbury. If you put the covers side by side you’ll find that the images do not quite join together whereas on the outside of the 1983 (first 3 titles) and 1984 (all 4 titles) boxed sets they do which prompted me to contact Stephen Bradbury and he kindly replied and said
Hi Tim, Thanks for your email.
The answer to your question is, the artworks were painted separately over a period of years. Gary (Day-Ellison) and I basically decided to keep the central horizon about the same level with each painting. We knew it was going to be a series, so we developed a ‘series look’ to the jackets from day one. The overall use of slightly different blue colours was a conscious thing. The success of the series blew us away, so I think by book 3, “The Non-Born King”, the marketing department decided to photographically merge the artworks. They were initially used this way on large billboards and giant posters, which I have copies of. The same trick was used when book 4 “The Adversary” came out. The large billboards looked quite dramatic. Each Julian May book got high in to the top ten , in the book charts. It was a great success for Gary, myself and Pan Books.
This was followed by “Intervention”, “Jack the Bodiless”, “Diamond Mask” and “Magnificat” They were a few years later, and I decided use faces of the characters in the sky. I knew the pages of the last book, “Magnificat” go right back to the beginning of “The Many Coloured Land”, so I contrived to get the artwork to do the same trick ! Overall, I tied to keep the artwork for the series quite elusive ! To draw people in, but not give anything away about the stories. It seemed to work. Intervention, is just that ! An eagle flying along , suddenly is intervened with. An intervention, unlooked for. I did this with all the covers Quite surreal, and quite sophisticated , for the time.
If you see the American covers for the same series, they are a bit cringeworthy. Gary and I really did create a magical format. I have the boxed set , you mentioned, and yes, they were linked by photographic means. The Many Coloured Land was my first book cover, and I will always be eternally grateful to Gary for giving me my first book cover and my first break in to illustration and publishing. I wouldn’t be here now, if it wasn’t for Gary.. He has great insight.
I hope that answers your question Tim. Use my email address to contact me.
Keep in touch
I greatly admire Stephen’s work and will be adding more covers in the next few weeks. From reading reviews the books were very well received but from the excellent condition of both of my boxed sets these books appear to have never been removed!
Nice one Tim