The Counterclockwise Heart: Cover Reveal and Excerpt

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The Counterclockwise Heart Cover Reveal

It’s always a great day when we get to reveal a brand new book cover … artwork means a book is one step closer to reaching readers. Today, we have an extra special treat: an excerpt from THE COUNTERCLOCKWISE HEART, by Brian Farrey, set to publish in February 2022 from Algonquin Books.

But first, the moment we’ve all been waiting for (drum roll) … THE COUNTERCLOCKWISE HEART:

The Counterclockwise Heart

The Counterclockwise Heart Cover Artist

Stunning, isn’t it? The cover artist is Rovina Cai, from Melbourne, Australia, who says, “I love creating haunting, poetic imagery, and believe that one of the most valuable things an illustrator can offer is their unique and personal perspective. I have meticulously crafted my distinctive style to reflect this.” (From her website)

Illustrator The Counterclockwise Heart

Visuals of the Story

MUF had a chance to get Brian’s reaction to his new book cover; here’s what he had to say:

MUF: What do you love about the cover artwork?

Brian: What I love most about the cover artwork is that it’s nothing like I imagined. I love watching illustrators add their own special stamp to how they see the visuals in the story. And that is ALWAYS better than anything I imagined. I also love the sheer scale of the cover and how it captures one of my favorite characters. IT’S GORGEOUS!

MUF: What do you feel you did differently in this book as compared to your other works?

Brian: With The Counterclockwise Heart, I wanted to attempt something epic in just one book–a stand alone–that involved lots of moving pieces, characters in conflict with each other and with themselves, and challenged readers to question their own assumptions and perceptions.

We’re all about books that allow us to question our assumptions and perceptions! Here’s a taste of THE COUNTERCLOCKWISE HEART, which publishes in February 2022.


The Boy Who Talked to Stone

It was the coldest winter morning ever on record in the empire of Rheinvelt when the people of Somber End awoke to find the Onyx Maiden in their tiny village.

The night before, they’d gone to bed, fireplaces blazing to ward off the bitter chill, safe in the knowledge that a statue of Rudolf Emmerich stood watch over the village center. Emmerich, Somber End’s long-deceased first burgermeister, was a beloved figure in the town’s history even to that very day.

So you can imagine the distress when dawn broke and the shivering residents scurried across the roundel in the village center on their way to work, only to find chunks of Emmerich’s statue everywhere. A hand here, a kneecap there. Clearly, there would be no repairing the venerated idol, as much of its considerable girth had been ground into dark-gray powder.

Where Rudolf Emmerich had once stood, gazing wistfully over the town he’d helped settle, something far less reassuring now held reign: As tall as a two-story house, a maiden made entirely of rough, dappled onyx loomed over the roundel. Adorned in armor, she appeared to be in the midst of a battle. Her right arm was thrown back, ready to strike with a cat-o’-nine-tails covered in rocky spikes. Her wild hair, blowing in an unseen gale, reached out in all directions, like a demonic compass rose. Most terrifying of all was her face—frozen in a permanent angry scream.

“Who could have done this?” some villagers murmured. The empire’s most contentious neighbors, the mysterious denizens of the Hinterlands, were unlikely culprits. No one had ever seen these creatures (they were, again, mysterious). But the feral howls that rang out from the barren landscape to the west didn’t come from anyone who might deliver an arguably symbolic statue.

“How could it just appear?” others asked. If the statue was the height of a house, it must have weighed twice as much. Moving it would have been tricky at best. Few ventured theories, because the most obvious answer—given the fate of the Emmerich statue—was that the Maiden had simply fallen from the sky.

Still other villagers asked a far wiser question: “Why did this happen?” These were the people who understood that sometimes whos and hows didn’t amount to nearly as much importance as whys.

When the rulers of Rheinvelt, Imperatrix Dagmar and her wife, Empress Sabine, received news of the Maiden’s mysterious appearance, they sent emissaries throughout the land, seeking answers. Master scholars pored over ancient tomes but found nothing. The Hierophants— keepers of the most mystical and arcane knowledge—had recently fled Rheinvelt, it was rumored, afraid to speak the terrible truths they knew. Soothsayers far and wide cast bones and consulted the ether. They all offered the same dire warning: One day, the Maiden would waken and bring a terrible reckoning. Not just to Somber End, but all throughout the empire.


Thanks for letting us have a peek into your new book, Brian, and for sharing your new cover with MUF readers. Congratulations!


Cover Reveal: The Counterclockwise Heart


Brian Farrey is the author of The Secret of Dreadwillow Carse, winner of the 2017 Minnesota Book Award, and the Stonewall honor book With or Without You. He knows more than he probably should about Doctor Who. He lives in Edina, Minnesota, with his husband and their cat, Meowzebub. You can find him online at and on Twitter: @BrianFarrey.

Heather Murphy Capps
Heather Murphy Capps has always had a deep appreciation for comfort and elegance. She and Claudia would have run out of money quickly together but would absolutely have been on the same page about taxis and nice restaurants. And of course, solving mysteries about beautiful art. That said, Heather also appreciates Jamie’s love of complication, which is why she spent several years living in rural Kenya and then became a television news reporter, which involved standing for hours in the middle of hurricanes and political battles. Now she’s raising middle-grade readers and writing for them. She loves to read and write books with lots of great science, magic, mystery, and adventure. Heather is the communications coordinator for Mixed-Up Files, as well as creator/curator for our We Need Diverse MG series. She is committed to creating more diversity in publishing.
  1. That is a great cover!

  2. Hi, just sharing my ebook