Blog Tour: Iron Sky – Dread Eagle by Alex Woolf


I am delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for Iron Sky: Dread Eagle today. Here is a post by David Saliriya on the creation and design of the book…


The Creation and Design of the Iron Sky: Dread Eagle. David Salariya

Alex Woolf has already written his brilliant futuristic series Chronosphere for us. Alex has an amazing knowledge of history and is well known for his historical writing. I discussed the idea with him that we would like a set of three novels in the Steampunk genre, featuring an independently minded aviatrix as one of the central characters amidst a theme of war, spies and a great deal of machinery. Alex has created an alternative history set in 1845, where Napoleon has won the Battle of Waterloo and the two great Empires, Britain and France, are still engaged in a bloody war. Napoleon is in the process of building a secret weapon-a massive war machine-with the intention of invading Great Britain. The aviatrix character became the engaging Lady Arabella West, one of a crack team of fliers, the Sky Sisters, who each have their own steam carriages. Lady Arabella has an unforgettable sidekick, the steam-powered robot named Miles.

I envisaged the books in this series, to be beautiful objects that the reader would want to keep. I wanted the cover design, the paper, the binding, the illustrations and the typeface for the cover and text to make up an interesting whole that would stand out in the bookshops and online. The design must grab the attention without being distracting. A book should feel good in the hand and present well to the eye. So, of course, this Steampunk book had to be published in hardback, with embossed cloth boards, a dust jacket, tail bands, endpapers, a colour plate and four full-colour double-sided gatefolds.

The elegant Cochin font family has been used throughout the book as the main text; it has many oddities and eccentricities which make it highly appropriate for a Steampunk novel. The design itself harks back to the 18th century although it was actually created in 1914 by the French designer Georges Peignot. The drop caps used on chapter openings have been custom designed to incorporate machine cogs.

From the list of great coal-and steam-powered machines in the books, Jonathan Salariya created 3D grayscale models that could be viewed from any angle. The wireframe models were used to make a short Iron Sky video. On completion of the models we then commissioned Mark Bergin to create artwork that looked like original drawings and plans, or blueprints, for these fantastic machines. The innovative design of the air galleons is a fusion of 18th-century sailing ships, Zeppelin airships and 1930s coal-powered engines.

The inspiration for the cover design and the gatefold illustrations comes from the lavishly illustrated Eagle comics, published between 1950 and 1969, and Look & Learn the children’s magazine published between 1962 and 1982. The Eagle was especially famous for its cutaway illustrations. Our cover illustration is by Matthew Laznicka.

Thanks, David.

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