Science Fiction/Fantasy Art Book Review

Kingsgate: The Art of Keith Parkinson

(2004) Keith Parkinson, Fanfare, 15.99, pbk, 128pp, ISBN 0-865-62090-3

The title of this book rather speaks for itself and, in fact, this is Keith's second book of art. It features 58 full-page colour paintings accompanied by commentary from the artist. You may not know his name, but you will probably recognise at least some of the paintings from the covers of best-selling books by David Eddings, RA Salvatore and Terry Goodkind (who also provides an insightful forward). Keith's artwork has also adorned the covers of computer games boxes, including the hugely popular Diablo 2 and Everquest. The rest of the paintings in the book are made up from calendar commissions and older work from Keith's days at TSR.

Keith says that when he looks through this book, it takes him back over the last twenty years of his career. When I look through it takes me back as well, though not quite as far. The first few paintings featured in the book are his thoughtful and inspiring covers for Terry Goodkind's Sword of Truth series. These have been some of my favourites of the last few years, and Keith's covers capture the mood and essence of the books superbly. Seeing the covers again brought back fond memories of reading the books, and even of the particular scenes that the covers represent.

The other paintings which take me back are from Keith's time at TSR where he painted covers for AD&D game modules. Just seeing the huge Red Dragon sitting on its pile of treasure takes me back fourteen-odd years to Sunday afternoons spent sitting round my friend's kitchen table praying to roll a 20! It is a great credit to Keith that his paintings have stayed in my mind for so long and still bring back such memories. The rest of the book, although not invoking any childhood memories, is still interesting, both in terms of the paintings themselves and the commentaries which accompany them.

If you like books of this type, then I think this would be a fine addition to your collection, especially if you played AD&D 10-15 years ago. The pictures are consistently excellent and the commentaries provide insight into both the creative and business side of this type of art.

Paul Haves

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