Before the clamour starts, yes it's another 'hooded figure' cover, but to my mind this is entirely justified - the book is about a spy and subterfuge in general, so at least it's got a reason to use the over-familiar feature. Of course, it helps that it's a very nice cover indeed. While I like the little duel detail at the bottom, the two combatants do look rather static, as if they're both standing still - who stands still during a swordfight? But otherwise, very good indeed.
As for the blurb, it sounds very promising (please note this is only a blurb-in-progress, the final version may differ):
1588: The London of Elizabeth I is rocked by news of a daring raid on the Tower. The truth is known only to a select few: that, for twenty years, a legendary doomsday device, its power fabled for millennia, has been kept secret and, until now, safe in the Tower. But it has been stolen and Walsingham's spies believe it has been taken by the Enemy. This Enemy is not who we usually think of as our traditional opponent. No, this Enemy has waged a brutal war against mankind since time began, and with such a weapon they might take terrible toll upon England's green and pleasant land...And so it falls to Will Swyfte - swordsman, adventurer, scholar, rake, and the greatest of Walsingham's new breed of spy - to follow a trail of murder and devilry that leads deep into the dark, venomous world of the Faerie. As Philip of Spain prepares a naval assault on England, Will is caught up in a race against time in pursuit of this fiendish device...
Sounds exciting, looking forward to this one - release date is 1 April 2010, publisher is Bantam Press.
Interestingly, the novel has a different name and artwork in the States. Over there, it's called The Silver Skull, and the artwork is below:
So, the inevitable question - which cover do you prefer? Personally, I like both but think the UK version edges it.
Release date for The Silver Skull is 23 November 2009, which obviously is far earlier than the UK release date - I would urge UK readers not to import the US version, and instead wait for the UK edition to be released. Why? Because otherwise we run the risk of harming the UK version's sales and threatening the likelihood of future instalments being published over here. Chadbourn has advised that future instalments will be released simultaneously, so this problem hopefully won't arise again.