Whenever a new Terry Brooks book is going to publish, I think back to the first, The Sword of Shannara, and how many of us were influenced by Sword. Without the existence of Sword, for instance, you would not be reading this post.
And your life would be absolutely dull and without meaning, right? Ha!
Sword is an interesting book. It was released as a trade paperback first. It became a bestseller right out of the gate. It proved to publishers that epic fantasy could sell outside of The Lord of the Rings, meaning a lot of epic fantasy writers today owe a debt to Sword. It was then released as a 3500-copy first edition / first printing hardcover so it could become eligible for the Science Fiction Book Club. It survived those who compared it to Tolkien’s great masterwork and over the years it has undoubtedly been responsible for a great many people entering fantasy. To say it’s a special book—an important book to the genre’s history, in fact—is a vast understatement.
But over the years, more people have asked about one aspect of The Sword of Shannara than any other:
Where did the interior artwork go?
The Sword of Shannara was originally released with a full-color foldout depicting the company from Culhaven, painted by the Hildebrandt Brothers. It’s a gorgeous piece. But after the release of The Wishsong of Shannara in 1985, all interior artwork in Terry’s books disappeared. Artwork costs money to produce, after all, and Del Rey Books decided at that time it was not cost effective to continue doing so. The business decision made a lot of fans sad, myself included.
A few days ago, Terry and I were talking about my novel, The Dark Thorn, and how it is progressing toward publication. It’s still being professionally edited but that doesn’t mean I can’t start looking toward the future and the things that must be done to bring it to you all. Terry likes my plan for it. Because I love symmetry, I’m going to publish 3500 copies of The Dark Thorn—just like The Sword of Shannara had in 1977—and it will have a full-color foldout and black & white inserts as well. There will also be a 500 signed & numbered slip case edition signed by a few people you might know.
It got Terry thinking though. He was curious if his fans would pay an extra $1.00 or $2.00 to get interior artwork like that seen in Sword or soon in The Dark Thorn. If his books are retailing for $27.00 cover price, would you as fans be willing to pay $29.00 to have interior art?
I told him we’d poll it. So here we go! Vote your choice and then comment below. I’d love to hear all of your thoughts. And who knows? Perhaps if you guys like the idea, we can take the data to Del Rey and make it happen!