The old dragon’s head by Justin Newland / #Extract #BlogTour @ZooloosBT @matadorbooks

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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?

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Extract

The rising sun shone on the prince’s magnificent black stallion. With a regal wave, he acknowledged the rousing welcome echoing along the battlements. Standing near to the prince, an equerry held the reins of a riderless horse, its armour bedecked in the red and gold livery of a commanding officer. That must be the dead general’s.

Bolin could smell the sweat of the two horses and see their mud-caked hooves. But his headache returned, accompanied by an incessant ringing in his ears. An eerie feeling crept over him like an early morning mist over the moors.

The prince’s steed seemed unnerved as well, because it pawed the ground, kicking up spurts of the damp earth, which agitated the riderless horse. The prince hauled on his reins, but it resisted, snorting loudly.

The riderless mount bucked its head, throwing off the dead general’s armour, which clattered onto the unyielding earth. The equerry patted him on the back while pulling on its tether. Instead of calming the beast, its nostrils flared and its eyes opened wide as if in terror.

Amidst cries of alarm, all Bolin could hear was heavy thrumming against his temples. The air in front of him seemed cloudy, full of swirling strands of ch’i. The ch’i currents whirled around the cavalry, who seemed unaware of its invisible presence. Three paces in front of the prince’s horse, an ethereal figure emerged from the spectral mists. Bolin inhaled sharply. Who or what is that?

The spectral figure menaced the prince’s horse, which neighed and kicked its hooves wildly. Straining every sinew, the prince hung on to his reins for dear life.

Bolin noticed thick crimson streaks running like the tracks of a wagon wheel across the man’s chest. A dried stream of blood that had flowed from a missing ear now caked the warrior’s neck and shoulder. In his hand, the man clutched a tattered, blood-speckled parchment. The spectral figure was wearing silk of gold and red – a general’s uniform.

The ghostly figure struck fear into the dead general’s horse, which reared up, snorting. Unable to handle it, the equerry let go the reins, slipped and fell. The horse’s whirling hooves crashed on his head, splitting it like an egg, splattering brains and gore over the prince’s silken uniform.

The world stopped. The prince stared at the blood on his damask tunic. The column held its collective breath. A pall of silence descended on the ramparts, the initial playful welcoming atmosphere suffocated by a moment of horror. In that hiatus, Bolin seemed the only one still awake and aware. He could see what was happening. Why couldn’t they? In that suspended moment, he felt as if some demon, some errant spirit, occupied his being, as if – he was possessed. The weird, eerie feeling passed almost as quickly as it had come, releasing his voice to shout as loud as he could, “A ghost! There! Look!”

He stabbed his finger at the spectre.

Thank you, Justin Newland and Zooloo’s Book Tours.

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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.

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Author Links

http://www.justinnewland.com/

https://www.facebook.com/justin.newland.author/

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Book Links

The old dragon’s head – Justin Newland / #GuestPost #BlogTour #LoveBooksGroupTours #JustinNewland

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?

 

 

Guest Post

I really enjoyed writing The Old Dragon’s Head. I loved creating the characters – Bolin, the young apprentice wizard, Luli, the local seer, Feng, searching for his true identity, Altan, the Mongol shaman with mysterious supernatural powers, to name but a few.

I also loved researching and writing about the faraway and unusual location.

The Old Dragon’s Head is a real place situated at the far eastern end of the Great Wall of 10,000 li. The wall snakes over mountains and valleys, across deserts and through forests, until it finally meets the Yellow Sea in north-east China. Not only that, the Chinese believed that the wall was occupied by a numinous dragon that would rise up in times of crisis and defeat their northern enemies.

In 1368, the enemy was the Mongol. In that year, a Chinese army led by Zhu Yuanzhang had ejected the Mongols from China and Zhu founded the Ming Dynasty.

At the time, the eastern end of the Great Wall stopped in the Yanshan Mountains, leaving a land corridor about 6 miles wide from the foothills to the Yellow Sea.

In 1381, the new Emperor was anxious about Mongol incursion through the corridor, so he ordered the construction of the fortress of Shanhaiguan, which means mountain-sea pass.

Shanhaiguan is no ordinary fortress. It garrisoned 40,000 troops. Made of rammed earth, it’s surrounded by moats and rivers. Towers and gates marched along walls up to 40 feet high and 35 feet wide.

But it’s more than an imposing physical obstacle, because like all Chinese buildings it’s harmonised to the surrounding landscape according to the principles of Feng Shui. For example, the fortress is perfectly aligned to the points of the compass.

Just beyond the fortress is the Laolongtou, which means Old Dragon’s Head. Mind you don’t disturb him, he’s taking a drink from the cooling waters of the Yellow Sea.

The fortress of Shanhaiguan and the Laolongtou provide the extraordinary setting for my novel, The Old Dragon’s Head.

Thank you, Justin Newland and Love Books Group Tours.

 

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.

 

Social Media Links

Ejustin.newland@hotmail.co.uk

Whttp://www.justinnewland.com/

https://www.facebook.com/justin.newland.author/

 

Book Link