by Justin Newland
March 6 – 24, 2023 Virtual Book Tour
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…
Praise for The Coronation:
“The novel explores the themes of belonging, outsiders, religion and war… all filtered through the lens of the other-worldly.”
A. Deane, Page Farer Book Blog
“This wonderful historical fictional tale will hold your attention as the author weaves a storyline that has different creative plots, along with a spiritual message.”
“Some authors deposit their characters in the midst of history, showing how their lives parallel historic events. Then there are authors like Justin Newland who bend history to their will and use fantastic elements to show us what could have been.”
Jathan and Heather
“This was a wonderfully told story that I thoroughly enjoyed.”
Baby Dolls and Razor Blades
Inside the Author of The Coronation:
I’m so excited to share that Justin Newland, author of The Coronation visited with me recently. Here are some highlights from our conversation.
What inspired you to write your first book?
My first book was the mythological epic, The Genes of Isis. It’s set in Ancient Egypt at a time before the Biblical flood.
It was a labor of love. I had the initial idea for it in 2007, when I decided to write my first novel. Before that time, I’d researched Ancient Egypt and world history, and visited the Giza pyramids, walked around the Temple of Luxor and admired the Valley of the Kings.
As is often the way with novels, it began with a short story, sketching out some of the early plot lines and character arcs. The novel was finally published in 2017 and ran out at about 115,000 words. In those ten years, I reckon I wrote about a million words. To familiarize myself with the world and the characters, I wrote two more (thus far unpublished) novels.
The first novel was a steep learning curve for me. Writing a novel involved so much more than I’d anticipated. It involved writing, and re-working the plot and re-writing characters, and checking the spelling and grammar and all the rest of it. I hated editing – then I discovered the reason why. I wasn’t any good at it. Then, I sat down to change that.
I have always been fascinated by history. I wrote a novel when I was a student many years ago, set in Ancient Greece. But then I discovered that Egypt came before Greece and was the first civilization. I researched the myths and the legends, and read around the subject extensively. That was when I came across the myth of Isis and Osiris, and read books like the Epic of Gilgamesh, and even the writings of the American psychic Edgar Cayce. When I sat down and decided to write a novel, it was an obvious chouse for me, especially considering the advice given to authors to write about what they know about.
What inspired me to write The Genes of Isis was a love of history, a fascination with Ancient Egypt, and a curiosity about how we have ended up with the world that we have inherited today.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
My last published book is the novel, The Abdication.
In some ways, a novel is never finished, because it’s never perfect. A perfect novel doesn’t exist. It’s so difficult, if not impossible, to join up all the plot threads and character arcs and make them sing the same song, and create that perfect note of harmony throughout the piece. For me, that’s the joy and the challenge of writing a novel, to make this one better than the last one. I guess that’s what all artists and creative people strive for – to create better than before.
I write in the hope – and expectation – that this novel is better than the last and so on. Always to look for improvement, in the planning, the execution, and the fulfillment of the character arcs.
When we go back and read a book we’d read in our youth, we see different things in it, because we’ve changed, we’ve moved on, we’ve grown and matured. In some ways, going back and looking again at what I wrote a couple of years ago, I’m always going to find something to change, because hopefully I’ve grown as a writer and got better at it than I was. I am bound to find places of improvement.
At the same time, I’ve found a writer has to move on from a novel after a certain amount of time spent on it. The writing of the words ‘THE END’ don’t just mean it’s the end of the book, they mean it’s the end of the author’s desire to re-write or edit anything more of the book.
Of course, there’ll be changes and improvements, but that was the best that could be done with the mental and emotional acumen the author had at the time.
Isn’t it wonderful?! Justin has researched so many things that I find fascinating and I just LOVE reading his works. Can’t wait until we get to chat over tea again!
The Coronation Trailer:
Genre: Secret History Thriller
Published by: Matador
Publication Date: November, 2019
Number of Pages: 216
Book Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Apple Books | Goodreads
Read an excerpt:
Closing scene of Chapter 11,
The Columbine Inn
It’s from the point of view of Marion Grafin (or Countess) von Adler. Her harvest sequestered by the Russian Army, Marion must raise funds to buy food to survive the harsh East Prussian winter. She goes to the Columbine Inn in the capital city, Konigsberg, to deal with a Russian trader, Herr Kharkov.
At the cattle market, the air was shot with the fresh smell of cattle and the mildly cacophonous sound of collective lowing. Scores of livestock were tightly corralled in fenced areas. Asking after Herr Kharkov, she was told to try the nearby Columbine Inn.
Outside the inn, a gleeman was playing a virtuoso performance on the violin. The tune was one of simple elegance. At the crescendo, she swelled with emotion but kept her tears in check. When the player finished, she nodded to Christoph to reward him with a pfennig or two.
“Thank ye, ma’am,” the gleeman said, his right eye twitching involuntarily.
“Is that your composition?”
“Wish it was, ma’am,” he replied. “No, I was standin’ outside a grand buildin’ in far-off Vi-enna and this music started up inside. Them notes must have squeezed through the cracks in the walls. I’s played it like I heard it, honest. By some boy musician, me thinks.”
“What was his name?”
“Dunno. But I’s like his music.”
“What, pray, do we call you?”
“Gleeman Kunz at your service, ma’am.”
“Thank you, Herr Kunz,” she said and entered the inn.
The inn stank of vodka, mead, sweat and other unmentionable body fluids. Russian soldiers sang nostalgic songs of home. In a room to one side, a party was in full throe where a man dressed in a tartan kilt was finishing a tune on the bagpipes. What a haunting sound they made. These Scots were an enterprising lot. From Ian Fermor, she knew that many ran schooners between Port Glasgow and the Baltic.
The racket in the main part of the inn reached a crescendo where a Cossack was dancing full pelt on a table. He was energetically encouraged by a coterie of drunken, shouting soldiers until he fell off, scattering limbs and beakers, which in turn sparked the mob into a fist fight.
The owner of the Columbine Inn, a Frenchman named Andre, was having none of that!
“Fermez la bouche, ou allez-vous-en!” he yelled at them. If they didn’t understand French, they quickly understood his meaning from the acerbic tone.
Christoph called out, “Over here, Your Excellency.”
Herr Kharkov and his secretary were tucked away in an anteroom behind a desk, on which was sat row upon row of silver thaler, arranged in neat, even piles. Kharkov boasted a droopy left eye beneath which was a deep diagonal scar.
Before she could introduce herself, Kharkov rocked back in his chair and with a knowing, malevolent smile said, “You must be Marion Gräfin von Adler.”
“Why yes. How did you know?” she asked.
“You – like me – have a scar on the left cheek. Everyone in Königsberg knows how you got it.”
Caught unawares by the remark, she soon regained her composure. “I’ve come for my thaler, all one hundred and fifty of them.”
“No, I agreed a hundred with the crouchback,” Kharkov said, pointing at Christoph.
“Yes, Herr Kharkov. You heard me. That’s a fair price for my cattle. Now hand over my thaler.”
Kharkov turned to his secretary and whispered in his ear. The secretary burst out laughing and pointed at her.
“How dare you mock me!” she said. In one movement, she swept her forearm across the money table, spilling silver thaler into the air and tumbling onto the ground.
“You’re mad!” the secretary snarled at her as he grovelled on the floor to collect the coins. Behind her, a truce seemed to have broken out amidst the fighters and she felt the eyes of the whole inn burrowing into her back.
The secretary handed a bag of coins to Christoph.
Kharkov explained, “That’s the one hundred t’s. That’s what was agreed.”
“No, that’s the down payment,” she countered. “I want fifty more. And I won’t move until I get them!”
“That’s all you’re getting!” Kharkov said with a smirk.
“Give me my fifty thaler! You thieving rascal!”
Kharkov reached down to the side of the table for something – a weapon? She smelled trouble. At that moment, a tall man with a thin neck pushed passed her and pressed his foot down on Kharkov’s hand.
“Dieter!” she cried. What a time for her brother to enter the fray!
“What’s going on here?” Dieter asked as he retrieved a pistol from under Kharkov’s hand and added, “Now, let’s not do anything stupid here.”
Marion hastily explained to Dieter what had happened.
“Do as the lady asks,” he insisted in that calm, authoritative way of his. “Give us our fifty thaler and we’ll go.”
“No,” Kharkov said, shaking his bruised hand and dowsing the pain with a slug of vodka. “That’s all you’re getting. You leave or I’ll make you.”
Drunk soldiers shouted at them, “Go now!” A glass shattered on the ground behind her. Someone stamped on the floor. Another picked up on the tempo of his beat, stamping in time. Soon, all the soldiers joined in… thump, thump, thump.
The noise was deafening, the danger, palpable. The walls seemed to be vibrating.
“Go home, Lutherans!” another soldier yelled, waving a dagger at them.
Dieter’s face paled. “Sis’, it’s not safe. There are too many of them!”
She turned to go and paused. An image flashed into her head – of the statue with an eagle with its claws buried in the head of the Virgin Mary. The divine image of the Adler filled her with courage.
She turned back to Kharkov, who taunted her, “Want a scar on your other cheek, Fräulein?”
Behind her, she heard metal rasp against metal – a soldier drew his sabre. They were outnumbered. The smell of vodka was intoxicating, the smell of fear more so.
“Come on, please.” Dieter pulled her sleeve.
She felt the Adler’s numinous power pulse through her veins.
She planted her palms flat on the table, leaned over and with her face right next to Kharkov’s, said, “No! Damn you! I will have my extra fifty thaler!”
Kharkov stood up abruptly, the chair behind him crashing to the floor. “Take them!”
She braced herself. She had done what she could.
Suddenly, a loud retort shook the room. Her ears were ringing. Her eyes stung and began to water.
Dieter had fired the pistol. Into the ground.
The silence that followed was shot with tension.
As the gun smoke cleared, he wielded the pistol in the air and yelled, “Stop this! Now!”
Kharkov’s left cheek was burning bright and his left eye was twitching uncontrollably. Still he didn’t budge, not one iota.
“Will you deny the lady a meagre fifty thaler?” Dieter tried again. “Or are you just crooked?”
That seemed to alter the mood in the room, because someone in the crowd hissed, “Come on, Vlad. Be fair to the lady. Give her the t’s!”
There followed a brief, but pregnant silence. Then with an air of resignation, Kharkov said, “I’ll tell you what, you greedy money-grabbers.”
What on earth was he going to propose? She waited; proud, firm and her heart thumping like a bass drum.
“See the fine relief work on the barrel of my pistol,” Kharkov said. “It’s the best, it’s Russian and it’s made at the famous Tula Arms Factory. It’s worth much more than a meagre fifty thaler. So, you keep my flintlock holster pistol,” he added with haughty disdain.
The crowd broke out in raucous cheers. Agitated and defiant, she could barely stand, let alone talk. But she refused to bow to anyone.
“Satisfied?” Dieter asked her.
She managed a weary nod.
“Hah! Now run away, little Prussian people!” Kharkov added.
She ignored the man and instead glanced up at her brother in awe and appreciation.
“Shall we leave?” Dieter asked, holding out his arm for her, which she gratefully accepted.
As they stepped into the freezing Königsberg air, Dieter helped her into his carriage and said, “By heavens! I’d forgotten what an extraordinary lady my sister is!”
Excerpt from The Coronation by Justin Newland. Copyright 2019 by Justin Newland. Reproduced with permission from Justin Newland. All rights reserved.
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.
Catch Up With Our Author:
BookBub – @justinnewland
Instagram – @drjustinnewland
Facebook – @justin.newland.author
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4 Replies to “Inside the Author: The Coronation”
Thanks for the interview! This author’s writings are always so interesting.
I agree! He’s very interesting. I can’t wait to read more.. and chat again!
Hott thanks. Good to meet up, virtually speaking, that is.
Thank you so much for visiting! I loved having you stop for tea 😀