It’s my turn on the BlogTour The Abdication by Justin Newland.
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 Justin on Facebook, Visit justinnewland.com
About the book
The town of Unity sits perched on the edge of a yawning ravine where, long ago, a charisma of angels provided spiritual succour to a fledgeling human race. Then mankind was granted the gift of free will and had to find its own way, albeit with the guidance of the angels. The people’s first conscious act was to make an exodus from Unity. They built a rope bridge across the ravine and founded the town of Topeth. For a time, the union between the people of Topeth and the angels of Unity was one of mutual benefit. After that early spring advance, there had been a torrid decline in which mankind’s development resembled a crumpled, fading autumnal leaf.
Following the promptings of an inner voice, Tula, a young woman from the city, trudges into Topeth. Her quest is to abide with the angels and thereby discover the right and proper exercise of free will. To do that, she has to cross the bridge – and overcome her vertigo. Topeth is in upheaval; the townsfolk blame the death of a child on dust from the nearby copper mines. The priests have convinced them that a horde of devils have thrown the angels out of Unity and now occupy the bridge, possessing anyone who trespasses on it. Then there’s the heinous Temple of Moloch!
The Abdication is the story of Tula’s endeavour to step upon the path of a destiny far greater than she could ever have imagined.
For me this was a dive into speculative fiction with a strong slant towards spiritual elements, fantasy and moments of magical realism. Like many premises with an undertone of spiritual or perhaps even religious elements, I wonder if the interpretation often lies solely with the readers frame of reference and experiences. Whilst I can imagine it is certainly that way for the author, the question is whether the individual reading experience and interpretations of the story that will be echoed back have been calculated into the expected response.
Sounds convoluted? Probably, but I know what I mean, especially in regards to what I took away from this story. It’s a story of parallels or perhaps it’s easier to describe it as a story full of analogies. The bridge representing the threshold Tula feels when it comes to giving up or continuing. The aspect of freedom and freefalling in connection with letting go or not feeling strong enough to confront either side of the bridge and what each represents. The idea of crossing being synonymous with entering the folds of the demons who wish to oppress, suffocate and devour. The other side being synonymous with angels, humanity, which is of course an image disturbed by the shattered image of humanity man has created.
It’s a multi-layered read with depth. It’s also one that can be compared to someone reading a layer at a time or some not at all – it depends on the reader. What I’d like to see is a clearer path. Be bolder and more frank in the premise, as opposed to trying to outthink the reader. It’s an ambitious and creative read full of parallels and analogies, and yet simultaneously also storytelling that crosses and bends boundaries.