What a design. This is one of my favorite covers and a wonderful display of John’s visual imagination. The ascension of spirits, rendered through ancient dwarven iconography.

For all that it uses fantasy cheats to defy death, this chapter was a kind of death, a death for Gravedust as we knew him. The things that seemed to be central to his concept…his status and mission as last of the mystics…would be coming to their conclusion here.

It was a conclusion I didn’t expect and may have argued against at the time. I was always more into the idea of Gravedust’s mysticism than Flo was, in practice. And it’s true that we would occasionally struggle to give him stuff to do after he discarded his defining tasks.

But in the long run, it was the right call. As when he did stand-up comedy, as when he put down his pen to hear Bandit’s anecdote, as when he will take control of the Savasi, Gravedust is at his best when allowing himself to become something new.

That said, he wouldn’t be Gravedust if such transitions¬† were easy for him. And none will be more difficult than this. On the next few pages, the stormclouds begin to build…