Category: Adult Fiction (18 +), 257 pages
Genre: Historical Fantasy, Supernatural Thriller
Content Rating: PG-13 +M. Mild sex and cruelty. Mature themes.
The Great Wall of China may be constructed of stone and packed earth, but it is home to a supernatural beast – the Old Dragon. Both wall and dragon protect China’s northern borders from Mongol incursion. Just beyond the fortress of Shanhaiguan, the far eastern end of the wall protrudes into the Bohai Sea – that’s the Old Dragon’s Head.
Bolin, a young man working on the Old Dragon’s Head, suffers visions of ghosts. The local seer suspects that he has yin-yang eyes and other supernatural gifts. Bolin’s fief lord, the Prince of Yan, rebels against his nephew, the Jianwen Emperor. In the bitter war of succession, 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. In every era, a man endowed with the powers of heaven – the Dragon Master – is born. Only he can summon the Old Dragon, providing he possesses the dragon pearl. It’s the year 1402, and neither the Old Dragon, the dragon pearl, nor the Dragon Master, has been seen for twenty years. Bolin’s journey of self-discovery is mirrored by that of old China, as both 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?
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JUSTIN NEWLAND’s novels represent an innovative blend of genres from historical fiction and crime, to supernatural thrillers and mystery. His stories deal with the themes of war, religion, and evolution and speculate on the human’s spiritual place in the universe.
Undeterred by the award of a Doctorate in Mathematics from Imperial College, London, he found his way to the creative keyboard and conceived his debut novel, The Genes of Isis (Matador, 2018), an epic fantasy set under Ancient Egyptian skies.
Next came the historical fantasy, The Old Dragon’s Head (Matador, 2018), set in Ming Dynasty China in the shadows of the Great Wall.
His next historical fantasy, The Coronation (Matador, 2019), speculates on the genesis of the most important event in the modern world – the Industrial Revolution.
His fourth, The Abdication (Matador, 2021), is a supernatural thriller in which a young woman confronts her faith in a higher purpose and what it means to abdicate that faith.
His work in progress is a two-book series, The Island of Angels, set in Elizabethan England, and is an epic tale of England’s coming of age. The first novel, The Mark of the Salamander, travels with Sir Francis Drake across the wide open seas of discovery from 1577-1580 and is due to be published in September 2023. The second, The Midnight of Eights, culminates in the repulse of the Spanish Armada in 1588.
He regularly gives talks to historical associations and libraries and enjoys giving radio interviews and making podcasts. Born three days before the end of 1953, he lives with his partner in plain sight of the Mendip Hills in Somerset, England.