#BlogTour #ZooloosBookTours @ZooloosBT / #Excerpt : The Coronation #TheCoronation – Justin Newland #JustinNewland @matadorbooks

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

The Coronation Book Tour Poster

Today I’m on the ‘The Coronation’ 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.
His Books
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.

Website
Facebook

Synopsis :

The Coronation Book CoverIt is 1761. Prussia is at war with Russia and Austria. As the Russian army occupies East Prussia, King Frederick the Great and his men fight hard to win back their homeland.
In Ludwigshain, a Junker estate in East Prussia, Countess Marion von Adler celebrates an exceptional harvest. But this is soon requisitioned by Russian troops. When Marion tries to stop them, a Russian Captain strikes her. His Lieutenant, Ian Fermor, defends Marion’s honour, but is stabbed for his insubordination. Abandoned by the Russians, Fermor becomes a divisive figure on the estate.
Close to death, Fermor dreams of the Adler, a numinous eagle entity, whose territory extends across the lands of Northern Europe and which is mysteriously connected to the Enlightenment. What happens next will change the course of human history…

Amazon UK
Amazon US

Excerpt :

This is an excerpt from The Coronation by Justin Newland.
It’s the closing scene of Chapter 1.
It’s from the point of view of Marion Grafin (or Countess) von Adler and takes place in her home in Schloss (or Castle) Ludwigshain.

They were about to set off on the annual end-of-harvest tour of the estate borders. It had been a tradition since her husband’s family had acquired Ludwigshain nearly a century before. The ceremony was akin to an eagle flying the boundaries of its territory, except that Marion marked hers with grace and by sprinkling a handful of wheat at regular intervals.
She and Sisi sat in the little pony trap next to Grenda, the coachman, who wore a feather in his peaked cap. Alongside her, Hans and Christoph rode their mares, whose tails casually flicked away marauding summer flies. Grenda tapped lightly on the reins and steered them along the eastern lake shore, where butterflies danced on the water’s glassy surface. They headed along the sand ridge overlooking the quiet course of the River Pregel in the valley. Below them, the green water meadows and golden yellow fields basked in the ebullient rays of the summer sun. The panoramic view, the sultry day, the bright light, and the trundle of the cart had a timeless quality.
Christoph rode up to the trap. He had something on his mind. “How is the Graf, Your Excellency?”
“From his last correspondence,” she replied, “he is in good health.”
“Praise the Lord. Did he say if we are winning the war?”
“He did, and yes, of course we are,” she replied with a forced smile.
Two years previously the Russian Army had occupied Königsberg – the capital of Ostpreussen – barely four hours’ ride away. Since then, the tide of the war had turned against King Frederick. She needed to keep up their morale so she wasn’t going to tell that to her estate workers. Nor that the King’s army was smaller than both the individual armies of their Austrian and Russian enemies.
“It’s only a question of time,” she added with deliberate ambiguity.
“That’s good,” Christoph said.
He rode in silence, distractedly flicking his mare’s whip. He kept glancing towards her, as if he wanted to say something else and turned away at the last moment.
“What’s the matter? Is it the harvest?” she asked.
“No, Your Excellency,” he replied. “We’ll bring it in. And it’s a good one, no doubt about it. No, it’s the maintenance – mending broken fences, clearing the streams, pollarding the trees. It’s a huge job and we’re short-handed. I wish more men would return.”
Her dogs ran alongside her until they spotted a squirrel and chased it across the meadow, before returning to the fold with tongues hanging out of their mouths.
Soon they could hear the plaintive cries of the peafowls in the nearby pheasantry.
By the time they’d reached Löwenhagen, the next village, the sun had climbed high in the sky. Sisi took off her wreath and waved her fan to cool her face. In this heat, even a small breeze was a welcome reprieve. They trundled passed the Municipal House, where a life-size statue of King Frederick I, the present king’s father, seated on his stallion, dominated the village square. In every house, the doors and windows were flung open. Other than a few dogs and a stray pheasant or two, the village was deserted. Everyone was in the fields. At the other end of the village, they came across the church and the fishing lake.
Along the bumpy path to the next hamlet with its Lutheran chapel, they passed by the fields, where the workers waved cheery greetings. They veered off the main track towards Barthen from where they could see the two strands of the River Pregel – the Neuer and the Alter – sluggish in the summer heat.
Passing by the rickety barn, the old cattle shed with a gaping hole in the roof, and the water meadows, they encountered a large herd of sheep. Squatting in the shade of a tree like a Chinese sage and wielding a shepherd’s crook was…
“Caspar!” Sisi blurted out. “I’m so pleased to see you.”
The young man dithered, frozen by the sudden attention. Marion was frightened by what she saw in him, or rather what was absent in him. Caspar had been conscripted at the raw age of sixteen. That was two years ago. Now his face looked as dry and crumpled as a discarded cleaning rag. He wore leggings and a simple peasant’s smock that was too big for him.
Sisi jumped down from the trap and went to greet him.
Caspar hobbled towards her, leaning on his crook, saying, “Boris, heel.” And a large, boisterous, black and tan dog bounded after him.
“What are you doing here?” Marion asked Caspar. “I thought you were at the front.”
“He was shot in the leg,” Sisi explained. “He received an honourable discharge.”
Friends since childhood, Caspar and Sisi had played, rode, and made mischief together with the other rapscallions on the estate. Caspar’s family was far from the aristocratic rank of the von Adlers, meaning anything more than cordial friendship was socially unacceptable.
“How long…?” Marion asked.
“I-I come back to Barthen two day ago.” He spoke like he had a potato in each cheek.
“Why didn’t you tell me?” she asked her daughter.
“Oh, Mother,” Sisi replied, waving her hands in the air, “you’ve been so busy with the harvest, I’ve barely seen you.”
“I still need to know who is on my estate,” Marion said firmly.
Sisi ignored her, turned to Caspar and in a voice as soft as rose petals, asked, “How are you? How is your leg?”
“I been better,” he mumbled, tapping his leg with his crook. “And Papa is poorly.”
“I’m sorry to hear that,” Sisi answered.
Caspar switched his balance from leg to leg. Uncomfortable in the full glare of the von Adler family, the boy had left his confidence on the battlefield and wasn’t going to get it back soon. At least Boris showed him plenty of affection, jumping up at him and licking his hand.
Caspar plucked a strand of grass and began chewing on one end of it. He stared up at the cloudless sky, a look in his brown eyes as empty as that of his cows. Out of the blue, the dog barked at a rabbit and Caspar jumped out of his skin. In a flash, his voice and demeanour changed, as if a cloud had passed across the face of the sun.
“Line up and do your duty!” he snarled, his strident voice reminiscent of a drill sergeant. “The Russians must not pass. We’re gonna defeat them.”
The poor boy was transported to the battlefield and was shouting commands to imaginary comrades.
“Caspar, there’s no danger here. We’re friends,” Sisi comforted him.
“Ah,” he replied and plucked another straw.
“Caspar’s got his family,” Hans said, apparently trying to offer her some reassurance.
“Oh, yes, his mother’s dead and that leaves him and his father,” Sisi observed pointedly.
“I don’t care, it’s an honour to serve your country,” Hans said. “I’m ready and willing. I’d wear the Prussian blue any day.”
“Be careful what you wish for, little brother,” Sisi replied. “Besides, you’re too young. You have to be sixteen to wear the uniform.”
“Children, don’t squabble. Besides, there’s nothing we can do,” Marion said.
“But there is, Mother,” Sisi insisted. Marion raised an eyebrow – her daughter rarely answered her back. “We’ve more rooms in the Schloss than acorns on an oak tree. Caspar and his father can move in there with the staff. We can feed him and get them both well again.”
Marion asked, “Is that what Caspar wants?”
Caspar looked at the ground for what seemed like an age and then shook his head. “No, Ex-cellency. Papa’s ill. He don’t wanna move. Caspar stay in Barthen with Papa.”
“That’s settled then,” Marion said. Now Caspar was back, she would have to keep a wary eye on him and Sisi, in case their relationship became inappropriate.
Sisi got back in the trap and they moved on. With each field they passed, the workers serenaded the harvest queen with cheers and hurrahs.
Grenda encouraged the mares down the slope and along the wide river bed, mostly dried out by the summer’s heat. Their spirits were lifted by the river’s cool, refreshing waters and Grenda’s whistling of his favourite tune. They followed the flow of the river until they reached a small inlet and anchorage for rowing boats to cross the river. From there, they headed up the valley slope towards the village of Steinbeck. Hans reached the top of the ridge first where he brought his mare to a halt. Bathed in bright sunlight, the boy shared his father’s blue eyes, high forehead and fiery looks. He pointed at a cloud of dust in the distance.
A column of horses was galloping towards them along the ridge road, in pairs, flags flying in the breeze.
“They ours?” Sisi asked, more in hope than expectation.
“Nah!” Hans snarled. “See the blue and white stripes? They’re Russians!”
Marion swallowed hard. He was right; Imperial Russian cavalry – on the road from Königsberg.
“What are they doing here?” Hans asked.
“I don’t know.” Her voice was hoarse.
The lead rider was wielding his sword above his head. Grenda seemed dumbstruck by the riders. The trap had ground to a halt in the middle of the path – their path. Their commander led the charge and had no intention of halting the column.
Marion shouted, “Grenda, they’re not going to stop. Move us. Quick!”
At the last moment, he hauled on the reins and the trap slid out of the way onto the verge. The column raced by like a whirlwind, stirring up dust in their faces, the horses’ hooves pounding the dry earth and thundering in their ears.
“Hussars. Imperial Hussars,” Hans declared. “Fifty of them, I’d say.”
She didn’t know about that, but she did know they were arrogant and they’d left an acerbic taste in her mouth.
“Christoph, let me have your ride,” she said, then coughed, her throat hoarse from the dust cloud.
“Yes, Your Excellency,” Christoph replied.
“Hans, come with me,” she said and mounted the mare astride.
“Where are they going?” Hans asked anxiously as they set off.
“That’s what I want to find out,” she said. Deep down, she feared she knew exactly where they were headed – and why.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BlogTour #ZooloosBookTours @zooloo2008 / #Excerpt : The Abdication #TheAbdication – Justin Newland #JustinNewland @matadorbooks

– ‘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.

His Books
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.

Website
Facebook

Synopsis :

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.

Amazon UK
Amazon US

Excerpt :

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

#BlogTour #LoveBooksTours @LoveBooksGroup / #GuestPost : The Coronation – Justin Newland #JustinNewland @matadorbooks

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

Coronation

Today I’m on the ‘The Coronation’ blogtour, organised by Love Books Tour.
To promote this book I have a guest post written by its author, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Justin Newland with copies of his books, at Waterstones book store.After a long career in I.T., Justin’s love of literature finally seduced him and, in 2006, he found his way to the creative keyboard to write his first novel.
Justin writes secret histories in which historical events and people are guided and motivated by numinous and supernatural forces.
His debut novel, The Genes of Isis, is a tale of love, destruction, and ephemeral power set under the skies of Ancient Egypt, and which tells the secret history of the human race, Homo Sapiens Sapiens.
His second is The Old Dragon’s Head, 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 our times.
He is currently working on a novel set in East Prussia during the Enlightenment in the 18th Century which reveals the secret history of perhaps the single most important event of the modern world – The Industrial Revolution.
Justin does books signings and gives author talks in libraries in South West England. He has appeared at many Literary Festivals, including Bristol, Weston-super-mare and Exeter. He regularly gives interviews on BBC local radio and local FM radio stations.

E-mail
Website
Facebook

Synopsis :

The Coronation Front Cover (1)It is 1761. Prussia is at war with Russia and Austria. As the Russian army occupies East Prussia, King Frederick the Great and his men fight hard to win back their homeland.
In Ludwigshain, a Junker estate in East Prussia, Countess Marion von Adler celebrates an exceptional harvest. But this is soon requisitioned by Russian troops. When Marion tries to stop them, a Russian Captain strikes her. His Lieutenant, Ian Fermor, defends Marion’s honour, but is stabbed for his insubordination. Abandoned by the Russians, Fermor becomes a divisive figure on the estate.
Close to death, Fermor dreams of the Adler, a numinous eagle entity, whose territory extends across the lands of Northern Europe and which is mysteriously connected to the Enlightenment. What happens next will change the course of human history…

Amazon

Guest Post :

The Coronation is my third novel. Like the other two, The Genes of Isis and The Old Dragon’s Head, it’s a historical fantasy. The three are not a trilogy in space and time, nor do any of the characters appear in more than one novel, but the novels are connected by the themes they explore, notably the individual’s spiritual quest, the journey of self-discovery, the human condition and how different societies in history have attempted to reconcile their religious beliefs with the way they structure their societies.
The Coronation is set during an actual historical period – The Great Enlightenment. It’s also set in a real historical place – East Prussia, a now-defunct state on the Baltic Sea. Historically, Prussia was the template for an embryonic Germany. At the time of the novel, Prussia was governed by an enlightened despot, King Frederick the Great.
Like my other two novels, the plot of The Coronation unfolds against a backdrop of social and political upheaval, notably the Seven Years’ War in mainland Europe between the burgeoning power of Prussia, and its more powerful Imperial neighbours, Austria and Russia. This war was not only over territorial acquisition, it was also a continuation of the religious wars that had afflicted Northern Europe since the Great Reformation. Prussia was Lutheran (Protestant) while Austria and Russia were Catholic.
During the Great Enlightenment, the previously-rigid shackles imposed by the Catholic Church were slowly being loosened, allowing the development of new intellectual and philosophical ideas, resulting in the exploration of new scientific fields.
Like in my other novels, I wanted to explore why things are as they in our time, the origins of our modern world and its social constraints. In the 18th Century, Prussian society, like the other societies of German kingdoms, was ordered according to the Medieval Law Book, the Sachsenspiegel (meaning the Saxon Mirror). Its idea, similar to that of the Great Chain of Being, was that society had to be structured according to the way God had ordered the universe. The King occupied the first station, Ecclesiastic Princes the second, and so on down to the peasants in the seventh station.
It seems to me that many of the seeds of our time were sown during the Great Enlightenment. The 1760’s was a time when giants such as Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Voltaire, Adam Smith, Professor Carl Linnaeus, Immanuel Kant, King Frederick the Great, Captain James Cook and James Watt bestrode the world.
Today we live in large urban conurbations with mass movements of people. The 18th Century saw the shift from the agrarian-based society built around peasant workers and landowners (or Junkers as they were called in Prussia) to an industrial factory-based one with huge anonymous cities. In those days, village people still retained a strong binding relationship with the land on which they lived, expressed through folk customs, song, dance, story and the like. There was a love affair between the people and the land on which they lived – this was Arcadia. In Europe, this was the last time when this pastoral vision of harmony with nature was prevalent.
As well as telling the story of this exciting, changing time, I wanted to provide an alternative, speculative genesis for the Industrial Revolution, and why today we live in a world so reliant on technology and commerce. I also wanted to capture something of the dynamic movement of the times, the zeitgeist.
Welcome to the world of The Coronation.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BookTour #LoveBooksTours @LoveBooksGroup / #QandAs : The Old Dragon’s Head – Justin Newland #JustinNewland

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

old-dragons-head.jpg

Today I’m on the ‘The Old Dragon’s Head’ blogtour, organised by Love Books Group Tour.
To promote this book I have a Q&As post, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Justin Newland with copies of his books, at Waterstones book store.After a long career in I.T., Justin’s love of literature finally seduced him and, in 2006, he found his way to the creative keyboard to write his first novel.
Justin writes secret histories in which historical events and people are guided and motivated by numinous and supernatural forces.
His debut novel, The Genes of Isis, is a tale of love, destruction, and ephemeral power set under the skies of Ancient Egypt, and which tells the secret history of the human race, Homo Sapiens Sapiens.
His second is The Old Dragon’s Head, 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 our times.
He is currently working on a novel set in East Prussia during the Enlightenment in the 18th Century which reveals the secret history of perhaps the single most important event of the modern world – The Industrial Revolution.
Justin does books signings and gives author talks in libraries in South West England. He has appeared at many Literary Festivals, including Bristol, Weston-super-mare and Exeter. He regularly gives interviews on BBC local radio and local FM radio stations.

E-mail
Website
Facebook

Synopsis :

41vHduEzRQL._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_Constructed of stone and packed earth, the Great Wall of 10,000 li protects China’s northern borders from the threat of Mongol incursion. The wall is also home to a supernatural beast: the Old Dragon. The Old Dragon’s Head is the most easterly point of the wall, where it finally meets the sea.
In every era, a Dragon Master is born. Endowed with the powers of Heaven, only he can summon the Old Dragon so long as he possess the dragon pearl.
It’s the year 1400, and neither the Old Dragon, the dragon pearl, nor the Dragon Master, has been seen for twenty years. Bolin, a young man working on the Old Dragon’s Head, suffers visions of ghosts. Folk believe he has yin-yang eyes and other paranormal gifts.When Bolin’s fief lord, the Prince of Yan, rebels against his nephew, the Jianwen Emperor, a bitter war of succession ensues in which the Mongols hold the balance of power. While the victor might win the battle on earth, China’s Dragon Throne can only be earned with a Mandate from Heaven – and the support of the Old Dragon.
Bolin embarks on a journey of self-discovery, mirroring Old China’s endeavour to come of age. When Bolin accepts his destiny as the Dragon Master, Heaven sends a third coming of age – for humanity itself. But are any of them ready for what is rising in the east?

Amazon

Q&A :

Hi

First of all thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions, I really appreciate it. Here we go! 🙂

Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
Hi, I’m Justin Newland. I was born in the last embers of 1953 and I live with my partner in plain sight of the Mendip Hills, in Somerset, England.
Although I achieved a Ph.D. in Maths, I’ve read prodigiously – everything from the Tibetan Book of the Dead to Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. So, yes, an eclectic taste – from Dostoevsky to Camus, from Euripides to Pirandello, and from Herodotus to Gibbon.
In 2006, I decided to have a go myself. Having read a lot of history, and with a fascination for the supernatural, I took on board the old adage to write about what you know, so veered towards historical fantasy. It was then I began the long journey of writing my first novel, The Genes of Isis, an epic fantasy set under Ancient Egyptian skies. My second novel, the Old Dragon’s Head, plays out in the shadows of the Great Wall of China during the Ming Dynasty, around 1400.
My stories add a touch of the supernatural to history and deal with the themes of war, religion, evolution and the human’s place in the universe.

Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
My earliest memories are of sea stories in which one author sticks in my mind – a Scots named Eric Linklater.
At the moment, I am reading The House of Spirits by Isabel Allende, a fantastical tale of magical realism. At the same time, I read Shakespeare’s King Henry the Sixth Part I.

Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
Someone like Tolstoy or Tolkien. I’d ask them how to sustain brilliant writing over a long novel.

If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else’s) would you like to invite for tea and why?
I’d invite Bolin. He’s a young apprentice finding his way in life in my novel, The Old Dragon’s Head. There’s a lot of me in him when I was that age. I’d point out a few things he was doing wrong, and few things he was doing right. And the tea would be from China, of course.

Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
Not really. I can sit just about anywhere. Most rooms in the house. Cafes.
I use a laptop to write out in MS Word. But I always keep a notebook with me. I’ve learnt your best ideas often seem to come when you’re in the middle of something completely unrelated to your writing.

Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
The ideas come when the muse sends them. I’ve found that the nirvana for an author is continuity i.e. the ability to write with no distractions for as long as possible. I regularly go on a writer’s retreat, and often by the end of the day, I’ve written so much my fingers, eyes, and brain hurt!

Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
I like to plot out as much as I can before I start writing. I’d prefer to know the ending, if not, then at least the general area of the destination. The last novel I re-wrote the ending four times.
I guess I’m a scaffolder. I erect the scaffold or trellis, then let the characters and plot follow the route they will. That gives the whole an organic feel.

Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’t’s)?
Do join writers’ groups – both physical and online. Great for mutual support.
Writing is not just about plot and character. It’s also about being a good manager of your work and a good editor. At first, I hated editing. Then I realised that was because I wasn’t any good at it. I persevered and learnt the craft. At least I’m better at it now.
Always try and use beta-readers. Particularly ones who don’t know you. Then return the favour. You can learn from other writers.
However, as much as they might want to help, don’t bother asking friends and relatives to review your work. They rarely tell you as it is.
Do take regular back-ups of your work. Just email the file to yourself.

What are your future plans as an author?
I’m publishing my third novel, The Coronation, hopefully by the end of the year. The novel is a secret history – where real events and people are seen in a supernatural light – of perhaps the single most important event in modern history, the Industrial Revolution.
I’m scouting around for the next one. I have a couple of ideas I am working through their feasibility studies.

Last, but not least : Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on my blog, please?
In this extract from The Old Dragon’s Head, Bolin, a young man in search of his destiny, pays a visit to Luli, the local seer.

“I’m the keeper of the Po Office, the house of restless souls,” Luli said, as her hands moved with swift dexterity along the rows of boxes and packets. “When a person dies, their Po or soul leaves their body and searches for another body to enter – the body of a baby about to be born. Along with the soul, the birthmark of the deceased also transfers to the new-born. It’s the distinguishing mark, the link between the two people, the soul donor and the soul receiver. When the soul donor leaves a gift or envelope for me to pass on to their soul receiver, they draw two things on it: the shape of their birthmark and where it appears on their person.”
“Fascinating,” he said. Dong the Abbot had told him of the Taoist belief in the transmigration of souls. But to actually read correspondence from the donor of his soul, that was extraordinary and the last thing he had expected from this visit.
“Hah! Here it is!” Luli cried with an air of triumph and held up an envelope. “Yes. There’s a match, both in shape and position. This gives me immense satisfaction. I am a connection between two complete strangers whose lives overlapped simply because they shared the same soul and one of them is standing right in front of me. This letter is written by the hand of the person who donated their soul to you.”
“Are you sure?” He could barely believe it. The envelope she handed him felt like the most precious thing he’d ever received. In a way, it was.
“Yes, I am,” Luli encouraged him. “And please, you can open it.”
Hand shaking, he broke the wax seal.
“Who is it from?” Luli asked.
“How would I know that?” He shrugged.
“Look on the inside of the envelope. The sender should have inscribed his name there.”
He looked. It was blank. “There’s no inscription.”

Isn’t that a great reason to pick up this book and to find out more?!
Thanks once again for this lovely interview, Justin Newland.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

 

 

 

P.S. Are you an author (or publisher) who also wants a FREE interview like this? You can always contact me via e-mail!