I am delighted to be today’s stop on the blog tour for; The Coronation by Justin Newland, I am loving the sound of this book and I am thrilled to be sharing an exclusive book extract with you all. .

About the Book

The Coronation by Justin Newland.

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…

Purchase Links

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Coronation-Justin-Newland-ebook/dp/B0827YLXRZ/

Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/Coronation-Justin-Newland-ebook/dp/B0827YLXRZ/

Book Extract

It’s the closing scene of Chapter 13: The Cords of the Wicked. It’s from the point of view of Marion Grafin (or Countess) von Adler (meaning eagle) and takes place in the city of Konigsberg, the capital of East Prussia. Dieter is her brother, Christoph her estate manager.

~~~

On the way to Dieter’s house, her brother spotted the crowds around the fair and chirped, “Sister, let’s go and see the Potsdam Players. They always put on an entertaining show.”

“Let’s.” She was easily persuaded. She was in a buoyant mood after the successful completion of the grain transaction. Besides, it would remind her of better days when their parents took them to the circus to feast their senses on the wild animals of the world.

The three of them headed for the large tented area by Honigbrücke: Honey Bridge for a honeyed experience – that was good enough for her.

They first encountered two professional fighters, strapping young men built like oxen, knocking large chunks of flesh out of each other. Bare knuckle boxing was the worst kind of fighting. The crowd of off-duty soldiers and scabrous citizens were raucous in their enjoyment of this most brutal of sports. Betting was rife too, contrary to pious Lutheran practices. One of the boxers landed a hefty blow, sending his opponent flying in the air to land ignominiously on his backside. Marion winced and glanced away. She hated any kind of violence. Besides, she had had her fill the day before in the Columbine Inn.

Pushing their way through the Martinstag crowds, she, Dieter and Christoph were next assailed by two men taunting a bear on a short tether tied to a thick wooden staff sunk deep into the earth. One gleeman was playing a jaunty tune on his flute. The other danced just out of the bear’s reach, while dangling a piece of raw meat in front of the ravenous creature, an act which was driving it to frenzied distraction.

They quickly passed on to the next performance, where a heaving crowd was guffawing at a man riding a pony around a ring, guided by a second man dressed as a clown. That was even more amusing when she noticed that the rider was sat facing the opposite way to his pony. While it jogged round the ring at a steady pace, the rider identified himself by holding a mirror in one hand with a stuffed owl perched on his shoulder. These were the emblems of none other than Til Eulenspiegel, owl-glass man, a jester figure renowned across Saxon lands. As absurd as his name was his dress – chequered black and white squares adorning a tatty troubadour’s costume. Little bells stitched onto the ends of his hat and coat tinkled to his every move.

Til was talking to the clown. “You know ­– I’m Russian,” he claimed.

“How’s that?” the clown asked.

“Because my pony wants to go one way and I want to go the other.”

“Why does that make you Russian, Til?”

“My pony wants to stay here. I just want to go home to Russia!”

Amidst gales of hilarity, he adroitly turned his little pony so it was trotting the other way around the circle.

“This way,” Til cried to great acclaim. “My pony wants to leave, I want to stay. Tell me, who would want to go back to the arms of Mother Empress Elizabeth?”

The crowd bent over double with laughter, tears streaming down their cheeks.

Til wasn’t finished. He held the mirror up to the crowd so they could see it, held it in front of his own face and yelled, “How handsome!”

Still facing the wrong way on the pony, he leant forward, lifted the pony’s tail, smelled the horse’s backside, and pulled a horrible face at a pungent odour to the accompaniment of more gales of laughter.

Even Marion smirked. But Dieter was no longer by her side.

“Where did he go?” she asked.

“Over there, Your Excellency,” Christoph replied, pointing him out.

Dieter was engrossed in another performance. Scores of people surrounded a circus ring in the midst of which were four players acting out a bizarre tableau. One of the actors had an upturned funnel on his head. Marion thought he must be a doctor – or barber surgeon – of some kind, because he stood over another man, presumably a patient, who was seated rather uncomfortably on a chair. Beside them a monk and a nun stood in silent witness by a round table. If the doctor’s headgear was peculiar, the nun’s was even stranger – a book balanced precariously on her head.

The doctor she recognised from the Columbine Inn – it was Kunz the gleeman.

The patient’s name, written in large letters on an identity tag hung around his neck, was Lubbert Das. Lubbert was massaging the top of his bald and shiny head. He was also one notch from petrifaction. His full moon face was creased in an alarming frown, revealing what was left of blackened teeth. An amber-coloured liquid seeped down his trouser leg and dribbled onto the ground. How revolting!

“Doctor, doctor, it’s me pate,” Lubbert complained, rubbing the offending article.

“What’s wrong with it?” Kunz asked, a malevolent look in his eye.

“It’s on his neck,” a joker called out from the crowd, to the rich amusement of all.

“It ’urts,” Lubbert said. “Me head feels like there’s a smithy inside it and he’s wielding his hammer against it, bangin’ and bangin’ he is.”

While the crowd were sent into hysterics, Marion felt shivers up her spine. She couldn’t believe it. Joking aside, Lubbert was describing the same symptoms she suffered. The only saving grace was that Ursula wasn’t with her. By now, her chambermaid would be demanding answers to awkward questions about her constant head pains.

When the crowd stopped laughing, Kunz asked, “What do you want me to do?”

“Master, cut the stone,” Lubbert cried out.

To cheers of approval, Doctor – now Barber Surgeon – Kunz pulled out his trepanning equipment, a crude modified drill supported by its own housing. Once he had secured the housing with clasps to either side of Lubbert’s scalp, he proceeded to twist the drill bit down into the crown of Lubbert’s head.

Ouch!

Kunz played to the crowd, pausing after each turn of the screw, whipping up their emotions. When the drill bit finally pierced the skin and drew blood, a trickle oozed out of the wound and dribbled over Lubbert’s eye and down his cheek. The crowd yelped with malicious enthusiasm, which served to draw in more people, until there were hundreds baying for Lubbert’s blood.

“Turn the screw!” they bayed.

Her own headache was splitting; it was as if the drill piercing Lubbert’s crown was piercing hers. With his limbs quivering uncontrollably, Lubbert fainted and his head lolled to one side. The monk held Lubbert’s head upright between his hands, so that Barber Surgeon Kunz could continue the operation, in which he extracted a square segment from the crown of Lubbert’s head.

He waved this flabby piece of flesh above his head like a trophy, crying, “Behold!”

The crowd were like demons, shouting and yelling, their faces drawn in wild bloodlust. The men waved their hands in the air and the women wriggled their hips provocatively.

The trickle of blood running down Lubbert’s face developed tributaries.

The monk inserted a square piece of wood into the trepan on Lubbert’s crown and coated it in a watery salve. Dieter, more familiar with trepanning than she, explained that the piece of wood was to prevent the brain matter from leaking out!

Argh! She swallowed bile at the thought of it.

Barber Surgeon Kunz called for quiet. Everyone bowed their heads.

Next it was the nun’s turn. Perfectly still until then, she gently lifted the book from her head, opened it, and recited the words:

The Lord is righteous: he hath cut asunder the cords of the wicked.

“Amen,” the crowd responded.

No! she thought. Is that what’s inside my head – the cords of the wicked?

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.
Follow him at:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/justin.newland.author/
Website : http://www.justinnewland.com/

Follow the Tour

A huge thank you to Zoe at Zooloos Book Tours for the invite to this tour.

One thought on “The Coronation by Justin Newland ~ Exclusive Book Extract.

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