The story I read (although for the life of me I can't remember where) was that around the time of the release of Brokenclaw in 1990, Danjaq/Eon Productions complained that the silhouette Putnam was using on their Bond books looked too much like Pierce Brosnan. As we know, Brosnan had narrowly missed out on becoming Bond in 1986 and in 1990 Timothy Dalton was still the "Bond of record."
Eon's sudden sensitivity with any Brosnan-Bond connection might have also had something to do with a flurry of news reports around this same time that claimed Kevin McClory was once again planning to make an unofficial James Bond film, Atomic Warhead, with...Pierce Brosnan. Brosnan was also being linked to a possible (unofficial) James Bond TV series.
So when the The Man From Barbarossa rolled around in 1991, Putnam used a different silhouette. However, it's still from the same batch of images that had been created for the 1980s Ian Fleming Berkley paperbacks (this one came off Doctor No), so all it might have accomplished was to smooth things over until Eon's anxiety passed. By 1992 the "Brosnan-like" silhouette was back, and by 1995 Pierce Brosnan himself would be James Bond.
Anyway, that's the story I heard, but like I said, I cannot find the original source, so maybe I'm just spreading gossip. But that oddball The Man From Barbarossa cover offers some evidence that this story could be true.
Okay, I've finally found the source. Interestingly, it was not so much the cover of Brokenclaw that caused the "problem", but a full page ad for the book in the New York Times Book Review that used the cover silhouette (wish I had that ad!).
According to Frank Swertlow's "Hollywood Freeway" column in the L.A. Daily News (Aug 3, 1990), Brosnan's spokesman Richard Guttman said that "Pierce has received at least 30 phone calls" about the Brokenclaw ad, which the article notes "bares a striking resemblance to Pierce." This same story, along with Guttman's quote, appeared in USA Today.
Now, this all seems to be part of a continued campaign by Brosnan's publicists to keep him in the public mind as 007 (and tweak Eon over their selection of Timothy Dalton over Brosnan in '86). This campaign had gone on for years. Brosnan had done two Diet Coke commercials in a Bondian persona (below), and also appeared in various print ads with a Bondian look. Also, as I stated above, in 1990 he was flirting with working with the dreaded Kevin McClory on a rival Bond film, Atomic Warhead.
So it's debatable whether this Brokenclaw ad was really drawing public comparisons, or if this was just Pierce's people finding another way to tout their man as the Bond of public choice.
And, yes, I think this small publicity flare up could have been the reason the traditional silhouette took a one book hiatus in 1991 with The Man From Barbarossa.
Brosnan's best "tweak"