Which classes of ship are which in the art on the covers of the three books in the Imperial Radch series?

All three book covers side by side showing a large big ship across them all and some smaller ships on each one individually

enter image description here

  • 2
    +1 for the side-by-side presentation. I hadn't realized all three covers were parts of the same artwork!
    – Simon
    Mar 21, 2019 at 17:20
  • @Simon - I've added the un-typographed version (available here; orbitbooks.net/2013/07/01/…)
    – Valorum
    Mar 21, 2019 at 17:27
  • 2
    Seems like artistic license. Big one may be a Justice, but small ones don't belong to 3 main classes IMO.
    – Mithoron
    Mar 21, 2019 at 17:34
  • 1
    That means all the cover art was done in 2013, in time for the first book, which means it was done before Swords and Mercies were described. So the background is likely intended as either a Justice or a station.
    – DavidW
    Mar 21, 2019 at 17:34
  • 7
    @DavidW - Or more likely just "random ships against a background." which is John Harris' speciality as a cover designer
    – Valorum
    Mar 21, 2019 at 17:36

1 Answer 1


I believe the large background ship is a Justice. Justice of Toren to be precise. The others are probably just shuttles, as Ann Leckie often mentions that shuttles are the ones that transport passengers from one ship to another, and from ship to station.

  • 2
    Can you provide any evidence to back this up?
    – Valorum
    Dec 8, 2023 at 12:46
  • To back what up? I said "I believe" and "the others are probably just shuttles". I have no idea why I'm being downvoted for an answer like that. Anyway, this is my own conjecture, because the small starships kinda look like modern military planes. Additionally, there's this image from Orbit books showing different ship sizes: static.wikia.nocookie.net/imperial-radch/images/b/b4/Ships.jpg/…
    – Michael
    Dec 8, 2023 at 20:08
  • Around here, we're not looking for wild mass guessing. The best answers have evidence to back up the assertions made.
    – Valorum
    Dec 8, 2023 at 20:17
  • You might want to consider going on the tour and reading the FAQ before diving in and then complaining about your answers not meeting our standards. It's not gatekeeping to politely ask people to RTFM
    – Valorum
    Dec 8, 2023 at 20:35

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