Here is the latest artwork from the great Dean Stolpmann for the cover of Akon’s Mission. Dean was very considerate to send the full image as well as how it looks so far on a CreateSpace template, and I am very pleased with how it’s turning out.
Here is the preliminary description for Akon’s Mission, and I think you’ll agree this cover art captures the concept and spirit of the book very well.
Imagine if Jason Bourne had been a Spartan.
An elite, highly intelligent covert operator specializing in infiltration, sabotage, and assassination who also carries with him the battle discipline and contempt for death of a Spartan peer.
This man exists.
His name is Akoniti of Sparta, and he is an agent of the Krypteia, a secret society devoted to the state and serving as the shadowy blade for the ruling ephors. Agents are dispatched to eliminate targets political, military, and personal, and during open war they serve as special forces to augment the much-heralded hoplite phalanx.
But Akon’s loyalty is tested early and often when he discovers he was born a helot, a child of Sparta’s servant class, and sold to the ephors to be forged into their perfect weapon. They use the shame of his tainted blood and lure of true Spartiate citizenship to bend him to their will, and he will constantly struggle to align his desire to be a part of his community with the resentment and rage he harbors for those who send him to spread murder and misery.
Akoniti’s adventures will be a blend of the immersive historic detail in Steven Pressfield’s classics such and Gates of Fire and Tides of War and the rousing escapism found in Bernard Cornwell’s Sharpe series. They begin with Akon’s Mission, set in 432 BC with Akon 22 years old and on his first mission as an agent of the Krypteia. Tensions between the Athenian Empire and Sparta are high. Sparta and her allies, the Peloponnesian League, have convened in Sparta to discuss going to war with Athens. The five elected ephors of Sparta advise against war—publicly. Privately they want nothing more than to extend Sparta’s power far beyond the Lacedaemonian valley, but they need an act of aggression from Athens before they can muster the vaunted Spartan hoplites.
Akon’s mission is to assassinate the senior Corinthian diplomat—a Spartan ally—and make it look like an Athenian blade did the deed, forcing Sparta and the Peloponnesian League into war with Athens. Just as Akon is about to strike, he witnesses the Corinthian diplomat meeting with an agent from the Athenian delegation. Rather than kill them both, Akon decides to find out what they are planning. This leads him into a twisted, deadly tapestry where information cuts faster than a xyphos and his skills as a Spartan assassin and devoted citizen will be tested beyond measure as he learns his true history and why he was chosen by the ephors to become the tip of Sparta’s spear.