Hey everyone! I’m so excited to be telling you about The Abdication by Justin Newland today! The Abdication is a fantasy novel that promises lots of thrills and action. I’ve got a nice meaty extract for you to see if you think it’s up your street. I’ve read the extract and I’m so so intrigued! The descriptions are really evocative and you can just tell there are so many secrets to be discovered.
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.
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.
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.
- The Acropolis
… She read the inscription on the stone tablet:
Women are designed to manage the eternal in the now.
Men are designed to manage the now in the eternal.
This was a glimpse of how Herman and his people had conducted themselves in the time after the exodus. If only she could recapture that eternal truth in the now; perhaps the angels would help her do exactly that.
As she climbed the path, passing the boundary wall and entering the inner court on the upper terrace, the view across to Unity became clearer, as did the panorama of the hills and mountains surrounding Topeth. Before she had even explored the peak, she was seduced by the aromas; a subtle blend of soft rose plume, refreshing mint and sweet jasmine.
The inner court contained a solitary building, or rather its remains – the inner sanctum or Temple of the Creator, dedicated to Herman and Kendra, the twin founders of Topeth. Once, the old stone temple had boasted a roof and a proper frieze, as well as lintels and capitals. Today, these lay forlornly about the site like broken pearls from a once-beautiful necklace. The columns were laid out in meticulous order, marking the boundaries of its rectangular site. A few of them had resisted the ravages of time and retained their original stature. The rest of the columns were stubs of stone fallen on hard times, neglected and abandoned. Grass grew in solid tufts around the rubble. Bits of metal were strewn about the area; vestiges of how once, during the commercial heyday of the town, the site had housed the metal market.
The starlings nested in the few remaining capitals.
The only things intact were the stone etchings. The columns were grimy and covered by copper dust accumulated over the years. The heat was stifling and so was this place. A tall, defiant cypress tree offered a modicum of shade.
A waning sadness descended on her. The Acropolis was a relic to a forgotten era, less a celebration than an epitaph on the solemn tomb of a once great and formidable human race.
She scrubbed one of the entrance columns clean. Faced with a cloud of copper dust, she turned away and coughed heavily.
But what she uncovered amazed her. It was an etching of the profile of the town of Unity as viewed from Topeth. There were the bridge pillars. The name inscribed beneath it was Via Angelica. She wiped away the rest of the grime, revealing the whole etching. Floating above Unity were huge heart-shaped entities – the same cockleshell shape of the angels that she had witnessed with the aid of the black mirror.
Standing in the derelict Acropolis gave her an elevated view of Unity, partially visible through hanging clumps of mist. Just as Damien had described it, the houses, temples and courts of Unity were similar but different to those of Topeth in that from each building emanated a fine, subtle glow.
She was on top of the world. She tried to imagine what had happened in the original Acropolis, but her head was spinning, and her legs ached from the walk up the hill in the stifling heat of the day. Finding some shade, she sat down with her back against the central column.
Her eyelids felt heavy. An ethereal mist rose before her eyes. When it cleared, her imagination had taken her to the Acropolis – not in the present day, but when it was first built, with gleaming limestone columns and a full entablature. It was majestic, mysterious and pristine. People with shining eyes and youthful expressions wore white robes and laurel wreaths. They clamoured on the rows of seats, occupying every small space to witness the proceedings.
A figure dressed in lime-green priestly robes strolled onto the podium at one end of the Acropolis. A temple servant waved his censer, sending clouds of incense into the skies, a message to the Creator on high. Tapping his wand on the ground, the priest called for silence and announced, “Everyone, please, a warm hand for our leader, the First Man.”
To great applause, a tall, thin man with tired, beady eyes, a balding head and a sprightly gait stepped onto the podium.
“Elders and citizens of Topeth,” Herman began. “Welcome to the inaugural meeting of the Acropolis. When we lived in Unity, the angels nurtured us, gave us their virtue and lent us their light. In return for these gifts, we served them fully, with passion and vigour aplenty. Our compliance, though, was automatic and, in the absence of free will, not freely volunteered. Despite the angels’ reluctance, I made the tough decision to leave Unity. We needed to find our own way – with me in charge.
“In Topeth, we’ll plot our own course. We’ll discover the way laid out for us by the Creator. To help us in this quest, we’ve designed a special place, a temple dedicated to reading the runes of the future; the Topeth Acropolis. It’s aligned to the four quarters of the Earth so that, each dawn, the sun, as it passes overhead, will wash the temple in its enhancing rays. We need to conjure high spiritual entities to help us find our way, so the structure has these high columns to allow the entities to fit inside the temple. The gaps between the columns allow the excesses of the proceedings a way out. Using marble in the temple is to anchor the great atmospheres generated by our deliberations.
“From here, we have an uninterrupted view of the snow-capped mountains surrounding us. From this elevation, we can consider the far-reaching questions that face every nation during every age; how best can we serve the Creator? As a race of people, what is our purpose and how can we align ourselves to it? How do we fit into the great universal plan? What is the best way to apply free will in our lives, individually and collectively? The future is incoming, so how can we prepare for and respond to it?
“As history unfolds, every civilisation will need an Acropolis, a place where the tribal elders can parlay.
“I, Herman, will be the First Preceptor of the Acropolis, the seer who divines the future. I will interpret the runes of the times and explain them to you in simple terms. Now, as we begin our separate journey away from the protection and guidance of the angels, we need stability and surety. I will provide that too. With me at your head, you will never be lost. With me leading the way, I will mediate for you.”
As the cool breeze whispered through the statuesque columns, everyone sat back and pondered the profound ramifications of Herman’s words.