There are bodices and crowns, blood and sweat. There are old maps and ominous title cards saying “A Storm is Rising” and “A Kingdom in Peril”. No, it’s not a Game of Thrones trailer. It’s a YouTube advert for a book, Conn Iggulden’s Wars of the Roses saga Stormbird, which is published next month.
It is the first time that Penguin have created a trailer with such high production values. They are expecting 100,000 views online and a 10-second version will be broadcast on the giant screen at Canary Wharf underground station for two weeks next month. “It makes sense to use the visual to promote books. We’re so used to trailers for films”, says Iggulden, who handpicked the weapons and armour for the 50-second film.
Indeed, the publishers have spared no expense on the promo. Well, almost no expense. When they needed a close-up on an arm covered in bloody leeches, Iggulden lent a hand, literally. “I was obscurely disappointed they didn’t latch on but I got to watch them crawling across my skin which is an experience for any historical fiction author. I would have liked to have my blood sucked but in this case they just didn’t fancy a piece of Iggulden.”