We tried loads of photographic approaches for this cover before arriving at this. I created this illustration as a last-minute entry to the Cover Meeting, and amazingly it ended up being the finished jacket. Here's the finished cover, plus a close-up of the illustration.
Life is tough and cheerless for Billy Casper, a troubled teenager growing up in the small Yorkshire mining town of Barnsley. Treated as a failure at school, and unhappy at home, Billy discovers a new passion in life when he finds Kes, a kestrel hawk. Billy identifies with her silent strength and she inspires in him the trust and love that nothing else can, discovering through her the passion missing from his life.