– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –
Today I’m on the ‘The Abdication’ blogtour, organized by Zooloo’s Book Tours.
To promote this book I have an excerpt, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.
About the Author :
Justin Newland is an author of historical fantasy and secret history thrillers – that’s history with a supernatural twist. His stories feature known events and real people from history which are re-told and examined through the lens of the supernatural. He gives author talks and is a regular contributor to BBC Radio Bristol’s Thought for the Day. He lives with his partner in plain sight of the Mendip Hills in Somerset, England.
The Genes of Isis is a tale of love, destruction and ephemeral power set under the skies of Ancient Egypt. A re-telling of the Biblical story of the flood, it reveals the mystery of the genes of Isis – or genesis – of mankind.
The Old Dragon’s Head is a historical fantasy and supernatural thriller set during the Ming Dynasty and played out in the shadows the Great Wall of China. It explores the secret history of the influences that shaped the beginnings of modern times.
Set during the Great Enlightenment, The Coronation, reveals the secret history of the Industrial Revolution.
His latest, The Abdication (July, 2021), is a suspense thriller, a journey of destiny, wisdom and self-discovery.
The town of Unity sits perched on the edge of a yawning ravine where, long ago, a charisma of angels provided spiritual succour to a fledgeling human race. Then mankind was granted the gift of free will and had to find its own way, albeit with the guidance of the angels. The people’s first conscious act was to make an exodus from Unity. They built a rope bridge across the ravine and founded the town of Topeth. For a time, the union between the people of Topeth and the angels of Unity was one of mutual benefit. After that early spring advance, there had been a torrid decline in which mankind’s development resembled a crumpled, fading autumnal leaf.
Following the promptings of an inner voice, Tula, a young woman from the city, trudges into Topeth. Her quest is to abide with the angels and thereby discover the right and proper exercise of free will. To do that, she has to cross the bridge – and overcome her vertigo. Topeth is in upheaval; the townsfolk blame the death of a child on dust from the nearby copper mines. The priests have convinced them that a horde of devils have thrown the angels out of Unity and now occupy the bridge, possessing anyone who trespasses on it. Then there’s the heinous Temple of Moloch!
The Abdication is the story of Tula’s endeavour to step upon the path of a destiny far greater than she could ever have imagined.
5. The Topeth Copper Company
In the thin mountain air, word flew around the alleys, weaved through the by-ways of the town and awoke the sleeping dogs. A swarm of mosquitoes buzzed with excitement, the flock of starlings swooped down over the derelict Acropolis while even the town’s underground population of large, brown rats emerged out of their dark, forbidden hiding places to sniff the dawn vapours. Everyone wanted to find out what the matter was.
It was akin to one of those sudden, tumultuous summer storms infamous in the region. Scores of people moved shoulder to shoulder through the market square, now cleaned up and restored to its pristine state.
For an indescribable moment of relief and joy, Tula imagined they had found Jevros alive and well and the tragic events of the evening before had been a forgettable nightmare. But even she knew in her innermost self that that would be one miracle too far.
As she turned through Bridge Gate, there it was, the rope bridge swaying gently in the soft breeze.
The sun was rising directly behind Unity, dowsing the bridge in long, slanting shadows. The gorge was like a huge, gaping mouth separating the two towns. The ravine ran north to south, with Unity to the east and Topeth to the west of it. Because of this quirk of geography, the sun rose behind Unity and set behind Topeth, bestowing a subtle, ethereal quality on the light on the area’s crags and canyons.
A crowd was heaving around by the entrance to the Devils’ Bridge. With more townsfolk joining at every moment, the line of people backed up onto the snake path as far as Bridge Gate. Tula used her diminutive stature to squeeze her way to the front, only to find herself next to Zach. He tipped his straw hat to her, but his eyes were full of rue and sorrow.
“You, you…” he stammered. “You witnessed my son-in-law’s demise last night.”
“Jevros was your…?” Tula replied.
The lines on Zach’s face furrowed into a deep frown and he nodded. She sensed that the old man had seen death in his life, but that this one was close to his heart.
“You poor man… you lost your granddaughter too… and what about your daughter? I’m so sorry,” she replied, touching the old man’s forearm with compassion. “So, you came here anyway?”
“I’m hoping and praying,” Zach said, chewing his gums, “that what they’ve found on the bridge will shed light on the truth of what happened last evening.”
“They found something on the bridge?” She stretched onto tiptoe.
“Yes, look over there. Commander Geb will find out what’s going on. He stands for the town; unlike other folks I could mention,” Zach said, and muttered various deprecations under his breath.
In the middle of the flagstone entrance to the bridge was a pair of huge pillars about eight feet tall set deep in the ground, to which the thick bridge ropes were securely attached. Now, in the light of day, it appeared like two massive digits protruding skywards.
The crowd was corralled behind makeshift wooden barriers. Guards prevented access to the flagstone area. Standing tall, Commander Geb was confronting Musa and Kalim.
“You two, come on. Tell me again,” he was saying. “What did you see?”
Musa fingered a pair of eyeglasses in his huge hands. He spoke quietly, but quickly.
“A shadow, a box, or something. There, I thought it was in that bit where the bridge sags in the middle.”
“Where? I don’t see anything,” Geb murmured. “The bridge is still in shadow, so it can’t be a glint. The sun needs to rise above Unity. Then, we’ll see what we can see.”
“It’s comin’ soon,” Musa said. “Then it’ll be clear enough.”
“Give me the eyeglasses,” Geb said and peered into them.
The early morning rays of the sun breached the podium where they were standing. In a subtle dance of light and dark, the sun’s shadow edged across the snake path. Like a huge supernatural being, it shifted slowly over their heads until, as the minutes ticked by, it slithered onto the flagstones. In a short while, she had to cover her eyes to shield them from the sun’s rays. Soon, the sun would chase away the shadows and they would be able to glimpse this mysterious object on the bridge.
“The vulture didn’t drop it there, did it? Someone got onto the bridge,” Geb said.
“Someone or something,” Kalim said.
Geb turned to see her standing in the crowd. “You, Tula. Do you know anything about this object?”
“No, Commander, not much,” she said, approaching him. “When I arrived at the bridge last night, Jevros was bending down, examining something on the matting. It could have been this object, I don’t know. It was dusk and I couldn’t see much.”
“You put it there, didn’t you?” Geb peered straight through her.
“Why would I do that when I want to get across the bridge?” she asked.
“I want my town to be safe from the demons. You could have put it there as a protest, a diversion, or a subterfuge; I don’t know, but I will find out.”
“Listen,” Tula said. “I was standing by the bridge gate. Yes, I wanted to cross, but my legs were trembling. I suffer from vertigo. Then you came along and used me for target practice and nearly blew my head off. Even now, I’ve got this ringing in my ears. So, no, it wasn’t me.”
Geb turned to Musa and asked, “Well, someone must have left it there. Maybe it was Jevros.”
“We’ll soon find out,” Musa said.
“Why doesn’t someone simply go and fetch it?” Tula asked.
“Nope, can’t do that, Miss Tula. Not without permission,” Musa said. “Sometimes we get on the bridge to replace all them ropes. Other times it’s to get rid of any dead birds. Whenever we do, we got to have permission. Me, I’d never go on that there bridge without the right permission, no, not for all the copper in Suria.”
“Permission? From whom?” Tula asked.
“From me,” a voice boomed.
A man strode through the crowd with an air of bloated confidence. He was stocky, with a strong forehead and ice-blue, reptilian eyes that seemed to devour everything in their path. Some of the crowd averted their eyes, as if afraid to meet the man’s stony gaze. His henchman brought up the rear.
The man headed for Geb.
“Well, if it isn’t the head of the Topeth Copper Company, Master Damien himself,” the Commander said.
The Magic of Wor(l)ds