Here we are, two days before Leviathan comes out, and I’ve just realized that it’s the beginning of a new month. That means it’s time to reveal one last piece of Keith Thompson’s wonderful art!
This is an illustration that we call THE GRAND MAP! And it comes with a story:
As I was writing Leviathan, and the characters began to wind their way across Europe, a wise editor of mine suggested that we might want to put a map in the book. I agreed, of course, because all the best novels have maps in them. Also, we’d already decided that Leviathan would have endpapers. Endpapers are the heavy leaves of paper pasted to the inside of the front and back covers of a book. Because they go through the printer separately from the rest of the pages, you can easily make them color.
“Delicious color art . . . ,” I said.
When I told Keith about this, he started researching (he’s always doing that) and discovered a bunch of cool “allegorical maps” of the period, which used illustration to communicate politics. Back in 1914, you see, a lot of people were illiterate, so maps had to show who the good and the bad guys were with pictures.
Here’s a real historical example from the Entente (what I call Darwinist) side of the war:
And here’s an example showing the Central (Clanker) view of things:
Naturally, we thought that this allegorical style would be awesome to imitate. So Keith went off and created a Darwinist vs. Clanker version for us to use.
Here is the stupendous result:
Click the map to make it much bigger, and revel in the details!
UPDATE: The map jpg is now much bigger, and with the correct key. After clicking the above, click it again for a HUGE version.
Here are some notes about the map from Keith, explaining what all the symbolism means:
The Clanker Powers
“Germany is a massive military machine with weapons aimed outwards to all surrounding countries. It points threateningly at Britain, not so much as a sign of direct aggression, but more as an indicator that it was now Germany’s turn to start a grand global Empire to challenge the world’s current one.
“Austria Hungary is an aggressive armoured giant, teetering on shoddy foundations. It is also the primary aggressor in a land grab against Serbia, with two bayonets piercing the border.
“The Ottoman empire is a teetering automaton, collapsing under the weight of a paranoid and ungainly spying network that gazes at Europe through many lenses and spy glasses.
“The Swiss watch ticks away the time, comfortable to wait it all out.”
The Darwinist Powers
“Britain is an militaristic lion beast with a Roman Imperial italic-type helmet. It sits upon a mound of riches gathered from its Empire.
“France’s elephant beast (wearing the French kepi they started the war with before adapting their firefighter helmets) is influenced by the Elephantine Collossus built for the Universal Exhibition of 1889 in Paris (later it ended up going to the Moulin Rouge.) It also represents France’s huge significance in WWI, which is something that tends to get a little glossed over.
“Russia is a huge imperialist bear, rotting and filled with maggots. (Russia collapsed during the real war.)
“Serbia’s imagery (a skeleton) is an indicator of the huge amounts of civilian deaths and suffering they’ll find themselves subject to.
“Norway and Sweden are both Scandinavian trolls in the style of John Bauer, an incredible and inspirational illustrator from the time who produced a lot of phenomenal work during the war.
“Portugal is a parrot for the Entente trying to goad a slumbering Spain into the war (this was based on something from a contemporary map and I’m not totally sure about the viewpoint’s veracity, but I couldn’t resist the image, and it seemed to match up with what I knew of the situation.)
“Ireland looks askance to Britain and brandishes a shillelagh. An indicator of their very rough relationship at the time, and of their upcoming involvement with the Central powers.
“Italy is a clutch of snakes with intents on the Central powers despite existing agreements. A foreshadowing of their arrangements at the secret 1915 Treaty of London where they were promised land in exchange for involvement. It was heavily influenced by Italian Prime Minister, Antonio Salandra’s open policy of serving Italy’s self-interest (there’s a great quote where the notion of ‘divine self-interest’ is invoked, but I can’t dig it up unfortunately.)”
Pretty cool, huh?
Note:This map only appears in the US/Canadian and Australian versions. The UK version doesn’t have it! I don’t know about other languages yet.
My tour starts Tuesday, the same day the book is out! For details, click the “Appearances/News” button up in the menu at any time, or just click here.