In the fantasy book world, one would expect that most fights would involve medieval weaponry or magic. Fantasy fiction writer, Terry Goodkind, however, has taken to the internet to express his grievances with the cover art to his new book, ‘Shroud of Eternity’.

Designed by the well-known illustrator, Bastien Lecouffe-Deharme (who has worked on artwork for notable authors such as Chuck Palahniuk, H.P. Lovecraft and Philip K. Dick), the jacket design was described by Goodkind as ‘laughably bad’ in a Facebook poll he created for the public.

Unfortunately, Goodkind’s criticism of his book cover has turned many of his loyal readers against him. Many of Goodkind’s former fans have announced that they will no longer be purchasing books from the author, with the artistic community showing their support of Lecouffe-Deharme.

Since posting his comment describing the novel as a ‘a great book with a very bad cover’, Goodkind has edited his remark to say ‘Not the artist’s fault, of course. The quality of the artwork is terrific. The characters are not represented well and that’s the responsibility of the publisher’. Lecouffe-Deharme has argued that his depictions of the characters closely resemble those shown on the dust jacket of the Goodkind’s last book in the series and that designers are paid to follow the instructions of the publisher and the author.

Students hoping to study English at Oxbridge may wish to examine the impact of a book’s cover on how characters are perceived by a reader. Those aspiring to read Art History and Fine Art could explore how successfully artists can render another person’s vision. The way in which human beings air disputes publicly might be an interesting topic for Experimental Psychology students to delve into.

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