John Berlyne (Ed.) - Secret Histories: The Works of Tim Powers

Where to begin? I have been a fan of Tim Powers since 1991, when I read The Anubis Gates. My passion for this author's work let me not only meet Tim several times but John Berlyne, too. John is THE expert in all stuff related to those fathers of Steampunk (K. W. Jeter, Tim Powers, James P. Blaylock), he was running the first (and best) website for Tim's books and collected material for a compendium for nearly ten years already.

When we met we soon started to bring the tons of informations, drafts, drawings and ephemeras he had into a publishable form. This took more than two years in which we nearly talked hours each night via Internet (John lives in UK, I in Germany).

The cover consists of four part brought together: a photograph of Tim Powers, a drawing he did of himself (as Lord Byron) and two pieces of my images. John did the typography.

I am still very proud that I was allowed to do the inner illustrations and when the book came out it was a real beauty: glossy paper, full colour, never before published stories and so on. It was nominated for the World Fantasy Award.

For getting an idea of this real extraordinary book you can download a websampler (10 MByte pdf).

  • Cover: Image: Tim Powers, Dirk Berger Layout: John Berlyne

  • Publisher: PS Publishing

  • Publication Date: 2009

  • Editions: Signed Hardcover: trade, numbered and lettered editions with additional volumes

Rat's Castle - The Anubis Gates

This painting is really something special. When sending the first draft to John (with 5 men in it) he sent back with dozens of white marks. Each represented a character he wanted to have in the image - I only laughed short because I realized he was serious! So this was a real mammoth project that ended in more than a hundred persons, with all the main actors in place and John himself, too (as a small revenge).

The Eggshell-Men - The Anubis Gates

This started it all. It was the first real illustration for the interior meant as a background for presenting the book covers in the bibliography section (thats why there are several rather empty areas in the paintings). The small men in their eggshell-boats needed to be shown on Thames in old London, and when I did research for some that time buildings to show I was stunned: a bridge with houses on it - Old London Bridge! It simply looked too wonderful to be missed. Since then I saw several more examples of such - not only in the movie The Perfume but in reality - the Krämerbrücke in Erfurt only an hour away from where I live! 

The Twelve Hour of the Night - The Anubis Gates

And another one for this masterpiece-novel. The hieroglyphs on the pillar were originally drawn by Tim Powers as part of his research on the book manuscript sheets.

Thou Hast Understanding - Declare

Declare is a wonderful espionage novel - and my favourite part are the events in Berlin 1945. The Allied troups meet in front of the Brandenburg Gate to set the borders of their new empires.

An Epitaph in Rust

This one is for you Daniel!

Queen Anne's Revenge

Blackbeard and his zombie crew

Loretta - Expiration Date

Ghost stories are amazing, ghost ships even more. Expiration Date offers both and the stars of the novel surely are the Queen Mary and the ghost-smoking Loretta. I fought very hard with John about her appearance (my vision was a rather esoteric old crazy lady and as usual I lost - John's knowledge from his actor days is unbeatable).

The Kaleidoscope Shed - Three Days to Never

The opening sequence of this wonderful novel. One of the artifacts found in the shed is the plate with Charles Chaplin's footprints that vanished from it's place in front of Grauman's Chinese Theatre sometime after WWI. I did not find any image of it so this is imagination - John had the idea of the cane as an imprint.

Rivas's Arrival - Dinner at Deviant's Palace

Postapocalyptic SF novel, a thrilling yarn - I still think about doing a painting of the interior - while the dinner takes place. It is wonderfully described in the book, maybe one day...

A Year without Summer - The Stress of Her Regard

1816, villa Diodati: Mary Godwyn, Lord Byron, Percy Shelley and John Polidori met by the Lake Geneva. The rest is history.

Last Call

The final game - and another image that went through a real metamorphosis. In the beginning there was only the smoke ghost and the affected glass on the table.


Some drafts and images that did not make it into the final book.

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