We were promised the reveal of the cover of Red Rising Book V, Dark Age, on Friday and Pierce Brown delivered the goods. Dark Age‘s cover takes a gold tone and features two slithering black snakes. “Why did it have to be snakes?” we (and Indiana Jones) ask. We’ll talk that out in a minute. First, check it out…
Earlier this week, Pierce Brown announced the approaching arrival of the Dark Age cover, offering up a signed copy of Iron Gold to the first person who guessed what the cover might feature. As he stated today in his Facebook post, not a soul got it right…
“Here it is, my people, the cover for DARK AGE – Book V of the Red Rising Saga (PREORDER IT). I can honestly say that this has been my favorite of the series to write thus far. There is treason! Death! War! Romance! Destruction! Betrayal! Twists! Turns! Foxes! Space Knights! Duels! Whiskey! Crumbling empire! And a helllll of a jam-packed swervy turvy adrenaline shot of a plot that takes you to the wastes and jungles of Mercury to the tunnels of deep Mars. I can’t wait for you to get your paws on it as soon as possible. (NOW PREORDER IT)— And no, not a soul guessed the cover right. Guess that’s because you haven’t met the Gorgons yet.”
Not going to lie, I read Pierce Brown’s post in the voice of the grandpa in The Princess Bride.
In addition to teasing treason, war, romance, destruction, betrayal, twists (AND turns), foxes, space knights, duels, whiskey, crumbling empire and trips to Mercury jungles and Mars tunnels, all packed into a “swervy turvy adrenaline shot of a plot,” Brown notes that we probably couldn’t have guessed the cover image because we haven’t met the Gorgons yet.
Um, the who?
What are Gorgons? Or potentially more to the point, WHO are Gorgons? Are they snakes or are they actual people represented by some kind of snake symbol?
Right now, we can only speculate. But we have heard “Gorgon” before (outside of greek mythology). Gorgon Island is the name of the island on Venus on which the Ash Lord’s fortress was hidden. It’s possible that’s where Gorgons live, but that seems almost too obvious. I’m more inclined to think the island was named after a group of people, perhaps its conquerers. Or maybe it was the original home of a bunch of slithering, black snakes…?
Of course, the snakes on the cover of Dark Age could be symbolic, representing sneakiness and deceit. But if I’m going to go out on a limb (or a rim) and throw a theory out there, I’d reference Venator Pandora, a woman who’s either the leader of or highly ranked among the Moon Lord’s secret police and intelligence agency, Krypteia. She’s also known to be the Rim’s greatest assassin, the Ghost of Ilium. In Iron Gold, when Cassius and Lysander are first captured, she’s clearly calling the shots. What does she have to do with snakes? Well, Lysander does notice an onyx implant on her hand…
“A snake slithers around the webbing and up over the knuckle to devour its own tail.”
Lysander recognizes it as an old war relic, but he doesn’t go into details about its meaning. He also seems fairly in awe of Pandora, who’s old now but still fairly terrifying (she nearly gouges his eye out).
The snake implant on her hand may be completely unrelated to the cover of Dark Age, of course. But it seems worth noting, right? And given that this woman was something of a myth to Lysander, she seems important enough that we could see Pandora again in the future, whether or not she has anything to do with the Gorgons.
Update: I’ve seen some suggestions that the snakes are pitvipers. In fact, when a commenter asked Brown about pitvipers on his Facebook post for the Dark Age cover, he didn’t outright confirm or deny it, but he did note that baby pitvipers are the most dangerous…
I’m not sure if we can read that as confirmation, but pitvipers would line up with what he mentioned about Dark Age taking us to the tunnels of Mars, which is certainly where you’d want to go if you were foolish enough to go looking for a pitviper.
We’ll have to wait and see. Fortunately, the wait is just a matter of months. The closer we get to more willing I am to believe this book will actually drop on its expected date of September 11, 2018. Here’s hoping everything stays on schedule. We have Gorgons to meet. (UPDATE: The Dark Age release date was moved to February 12, 2019.)
Dark Age is already available to preorder over at Random House Books (and other places that sell good books).