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why does the cover show a Colt revolving rifle when he bases his rifle off the Sharps Carbine?

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M.C. Planck Artistic license? :D

First, props for noticing that. Second, minor spoiler alert...the Colt actually shows up in the next book. But we wanted the cover to not be a classic fantasy while also not confusing anyone looking for a Western (hence the funky combination of helmet and armor). And as far as I know, no one else has used that gun on a cover. So it was a way to stand out without deviating too far from the story. I believe the cover of each book will show a different character, so Christopher won't actually get another chance to show off that wild weapon. (I am rooting for Lalania on the 2nd; anybody with me?)

I'll leave it as an exercise for the reader to work out why there is no katana on the cover. :)
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by M.C. Planck (Goodreads Author)
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