It’s real. It’s happening.

One of the weirdest parts of being an author (for me at least) is picking the cover of my work. When you’ve spent months crafting the text to go inside the shiny wrapper it’s really strange when your Publisher gives you a call to discuss the visuals, colour schemes and what readers really want to see.

The Coercion Game is set in Macau so I knew I wanted to make some reference to that on the cover, which basically meant either the bay, the casinos, or the ruins of St. Paul’s. I also debated Fort Monte – the ancient base of the Jesuits and later army base for the Portuguese governors of old Macau – but it didn’t really give the sense of what the novel was about (until you’ve read it of course).

Colouring too was going to be really important. With Macau being part of the People’s Republic of China we had some good options around Chinese lettering, red and gold colours, and a fantastic orange cover that really caught the idea of the sun setting over the peninsula but it just wasn’t quite right. This isn’t a tourist book – it’s almost the opposite. Our man goes to Macau to see an old friend hoping for a few days of rest and relaxation but what follows is anything but relaxing.

That called for something darker, the grays and greens of a storm rolling in rather than a beautiful sunset reflecting off the glass and steel of the big casinos.

So here you go…


I’ve still got the galley proofs to check but it’s here. It’s real and it’s being published on February 29th. And this is just the start of Umbra Sumus and the adventures of Chris Lee. I hope you’ll enjoy reading them as much as i’ve enjoyed writing them. MB.