Connie’s a bit pressed for time right at the moment, but she’s said I could post a little art for her. I’ve been very excited about Connie’s art since the first sketch she did for me (Nethin imprisoned in the coffin from The Shadow Road). She puts so much life into her characters; personality vibrates in every line. So, for a start, here is a drawing of Ulfleif.
Ulfleif is the narrative character of the story. She’s the one who witnesses it all, providing the audience with a viewpoint. She’s dragged into it herself as well, both simply by being there, and through the parallels she recognizes between herself and Ulfhild, the legendary villain of her folk and family history. (It’s hard not to be involved when two supernatural beings are having a swordfight that destroys your sister’s royal hall, of course, but her emotional involvement runs a lot deeper than, “Eek, scary, gotta get out of here!”) Her realization that she has to defy tradition and expectations to create her own chance at escape from a life she doesn’t want (and which will probably kill her), because no-one else is going to give her a way out, is one of the threads of the plot.
And no, this isn’t the “princess who wants to be a warrior” theme, which was all very innovative back in the seventies and early eighties. Read the book while you’re waiting for the manga!
Anyhow, here is Connie’s design for Ulfleif, as of summer 2010.