Hello lovelies! Today I have an exclusive extract from The Coronation by Justin Newland as part of the blog tour organised by Kelly at Love Books Group Tours but first a little about the book:
Title: The Coronation by Justin Newland
Date Published: 5th November 2019
Genre: Historical Fiction
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…
You can buy your copy here: https://amzn.to/30gasrX
Add The Coronation to your Goodreads shelf: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/49615465-the-coronation
This extract is from Chapter 7. It’s from the point of view of Marion, Countess von Adler, and takes place in a church. Konstantin is a church warder, when sober, that is. The passage makes more sense if you understand that Adler in German means eagle.
Marion bowed to the altar and edged towards the curtain where Konstantin stood waiting for her. Standing next to him was like balancing on a dinghy in a rough sea, because he was swaying this way and that, guided at each turn by the vapours of intoxication. He eventually managed to hand her the pull-cord for the curtain, which she grasped in hands moist with nervous energy.
She recalled the first time she had performed this ceremony. It was soon after her marriage, some seventeen years ago. Then, when unveiling the statue, she nearly fainted with the shock of seeing it. Over the years since, the aura of mystery surrounding the statue had never diminished. An enthralled silence descended on the church.
Pulling the cord revealed the strange and incongruous statue of Our Lady von Adler.
The congregation let out a collective gasp. They always did. Every year. There was the statue in all its glory – a traditional interpretation of Our Lady dressed in a pale blue upper garment and white surplice, palms flat on her thighs, staring through the walls and out into the depths of the universe. With her other-worldly gaze, she was stealing a furtive glance into the sacred, tremulous core of life itself.
While from the neck down the rendering of the statue was entirely conventional, what was perched on her head was anything but.
There, with its talons buried in Our Lady’s head, was an adler – an eagle, a double-headed golden eagle. The sculptor had captured the moment when the King of the birds was about to take off, its huge wings spread wide, its beak open. Its claws were buried deep in her scalp.
With a life-size eagle perched unceremoniously on her head, the marriage of bird and human was both an incongruous enigma and an abiding mystery. Her own head was aching again. She couldn’t move.
She closed her eyes, opened and then quickly closed them. In that moment, she got a vivid impression. The Virgin Mary’s head was an egg. An egg! And the eagle was going to rip it off Our Lady’s neck and fly off with it.
Then she realised. The eagle was taking it off to its nest.
It was going to keep it by its brood patch to incubate.
The head of the Virgin Mary was an egg, a womb!
When she opened her eyes, the impression had vanished – and was replaced by a tidal wave of pain gushing through her own head.
About The Author:
Justin Newland writes history with a supernatural bent. His novels are The Genes of Isis,
an epic fantasy set under Ancient Egyptian skies, and The Old Dragon’s Head, a historical fantasy played out in the shadows of the Great Wall of China. He lives with his partner in Somerset, England.