by Justin Newland
Rated: 4 Stars ****
With thanks to Kelly at LoveBooksGroup for inviting me on the blog tour for The Coronation by Justin Newland. After reading The Old Dragon’s Head and reviewing it last year, I thought I would give this one a try.
About the Author
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.
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…
The book is set in 1761 and takes readers back to a time long since past of Prussia and their king and countess and invasions from Russia. The book mixes history with fantasy pretty well to tell a mysterious tale of a numinous eagle and the Great Enlightenment. It is an interesting read that takes readers into times long since gone.
The mix with earthly things and places and fantasy is good with very good characterisation. This seems to be what Justin Newland specialises in and does it rather well, having read both The Old Dragon’s Head and now, The Coronation.
The chapters are nice and short as the world between what was real and what is fantasy is created.
As the war goes on, there is also Marion Grafin- Von Adler’s life that is written about as her life goes on in parallel, which is where the fantasy and a spiritual journey is. It makes for pretty good reading. There are also some subplots that keeps the story moving along and to keep readers engaged. There are also good, references to Glasgow in Scotland and people such as James Watt, who were important during the Enlightenment period of time and indeed, their achievements are still with us today in some form or another. So, this, although is a fantasy, does have a grounding in reality too.
If fantasy and/or history is your thing, then give The Coronation a read. It would certainly appeal to readers of those genres.