The Geomancer


What's the best cover art for Vance's Lyonesse?

Not stricly Pyr-related, this; but I know Lou has a more than merely professional interest in good cover-art. So: I've been writing an afterword for the Gollancz reprint of Jack Vance's Lyonesse trilogy, and in an odd moment I was curious as to how previous publishers have illustrated this masterpiece of stylish, ormolu, witty, beautiful, Vancean High Fantasy. Over on my other blog I discuss the various images, but here they are again. Which do you reckon does the best job?


  1. The only one that would catch my eye on a bookstore bookshelf is the last one - the one with the purple title/masthead.

    The first one is a definite turn-off.

  2. Definitely #3. Nice and old school.

    A Dribble of Ink

  3. The image on the last one is lovely; but the purple masthead itself is a bit gauche.

    #3 was the first edition I ever read, so I've a sweet spot for it.

  4. Saibot2:35 PM

    I like #3 and 5, with number 5 being the only book in the Gollancz Fantasy Masterwork series I've seen and acctually liked.

  5. I like 3 and 5 the best. Have to disagree with you about the masthead, which picks up some purply/bluish tones from the image itself. The worst one is 4, I think, followed closely by 1--which is the version I actually grabbed off the bookshelf and bought. But that's because it was a Vance book, not because of the cover (or, for that matter, the cover copy, which seemed to make it a very tame and unVancean book).

  6. Yeah, 4 & 1 are definitely terrible. 3 & 5 are okay I guess, but similar and to me anyway, generic fantasy and so a little boring. I'm voting for cover two.

  7. Anonymous5:43 PM

    Numbers 1, 3 & 5 are the strongest of the bunch for me but I'd probably be more inclined to pick up the 5th cover. It's just visually striking and would still look great on the shelf with a little reworking of the title, masthead, etc.

  8. I own the first one but prefer the 2nd. But I prefer both over 3,4, and 5.

  9. Anonymous9:14 AM

    I'm with Adam Roberts; the masthead ruins #5.

    #3 would be better (maybe best) without the rectangle borders around the author and title.

    Maybe #5 but without the masthead and instead with the text/font/etc of #1 on it.

  10. #1 is the one I bought, but seeing #2 and #3, I would have liked those. #4 and $5 are OK, but nothing special. this a fair one to judge? I would have bought it with those words JACK VANCE on it even it it were wrapped in a plain brown shopping bag.