Monday, March 7, 2022

Virtual Book Tour and Giveaway: The Abdication by Justin Newland

Welcome to my stop on the virtual book tour for The Abdication by Justin Newland. This book tour was organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. On my stop, I have an excerpt from the book as well as the inspiration behind the book in a fascinating guest post from the author. There's also the tour wide giveaway for a chance to win a print copy of The Abdication. Be sure to visit the other stops on the tour for more content. Enjoy!
Title: The Abdication
Author: Justin Newland
Publisher: Matador
Publication Date: July 4th 2021
Print Length: 328 pages
Genre: Supernatural Thriller
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.

It was late when Tula got back to Geb and Sarah’s and she went straight to her room. She found it hard to sleep and lay there tossing and turning, plagued by the unnerving way the evening had unfolded and then by more squealing noises coming from outside the window.

Witches of Unity was how Irit had described the angels. Now, they were witches from whom the curse on Topeth derived. Her words were another dent in Tula’s faith in the seraphic beings.

The other day, Damien had returned from Unity with a strange object wrapped in a cloth to avoid identification. He had secretly despatched Rufus to the mining lab, so it must have been a piece of ore. Damien’s family had a history of wanting to explore Unity. That greed had cost his father, Marcus, his life, thirty years before. The town of Unity was sacred, as was the land of Suria, so surely that intrusion could not happen again.

Her understanding of the history of the town made little or no sense because some essential pieces of the puzzle were missing. She had no idea where to find them, what they looked like, or was even sure, if she saw them, whether she would recognise them for what they truly were.

The good folk of Topeth laboured under an illusion, that what she believed were angels were in fact devils, terrible entities who protected their domain, their town, their Unity, by throwing people off the bridge or rendering them insane.
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. ISBN 9781789014860.

The novel is creative, sophisticated, and downright brilliant! I couldn’t ask more of an Egyptian-esque book!” – Lauren, Books Beyond the Story.

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. ISBN 9781789015829.

The author is an excellent storyteller.” – British Fantasy Society.

Set during the Great Enlightenment, The Coronation reveals the secret history of the Industrial Revolution. ISBN 9781838591885.

The novel explores the themes of belonging, outsiders… religion and war… filtered through the lens of the other-worldly.” – A. Deane, Page Farer Book Blog.

His latest, The Abdication (July, 2021), is a suspense thriller, a journey of destiny, wisdom and self-discovery. ISBN 9781800463950.

In Topeth, Tula confronts the truth, her faith in herself, faith in a higher purpose, and ultimately, what it means to abdicate that faith.” V. Triola, Coast to Coast.

-What was your inspiration behind this book?

My first three books explored the assumptions we make about history and the effects it has on our world today. In The Abdication, I was inspired to take a fresh look at a forgotten gem in each of our lives, and that’s free will. I wanted to explore such questions as: What is the purpose of free will? It’s a gift from the gods, but have we treated it with the reverence it deserves? Or, as the title of the novel suggests, have we abdicated from its right and proper use?

The novel is not based in history per se, but it does refer to Hebrew legends and mythology. It’s set loosely in the Middle East, in Israel. In the novel, they have guns and rudimentary technology, which puts the period at around the 18th Century. But other than that, the action does not take place in any known location, nor is the historical context an important player in the novel.

The Hebrews are an enduring people with a long, folk history, and wise in their ways. I remember reading about the siege of Masada, and the gorge in my novel mirrors the towering landscape on which the iconic fortress there was situated. Masada epitomised the fierce resistance of the Jews against the Romans in 79 A.D., when the Roman army spent two years building a ramp to arrive at the top of the hill top town, only to find all its Jewish warriors had committed suicide rather than be captured. In many ways, Masada and its history inspired me to write the novel, as did the god Moloch, to whom the Ancient Hebrews sacrificed their children.

Child sacrifice is a serious theme, but rest assured there are no actual child sacrifices in the novel. Instead, I use the god Moloch as a symbol to represent how I think the world tends to misuse children, and use childhood not for the development of the child, but instead to further its own economic ends and commercial agenda.

Returning to the title of the novel, it doesn’t refer to the abdication of a King or Queen. The novel is prefaced by these lines:

“When a man loses his way, he feels desperate.

When a nation abandons its purpose, it slides into anarchy.

When Homo sapiens shuns its nature as the wise, the kind and the humane, it can only be called… The Abdication.”

This sets the theme. The story is about free will, and about how Homo Sapiens Sapiens – that’s man the twice-wise – has employed that gift. Before receiving it, we were like animals, with no voluntary choice. We could only do what we were pre-coded to do. With free will, we could code or program ourselves. I think we’ve abdicated from the right and proper use of free will, and the novel sets out a young woman’s journey to portray that.

Angels feature quite prominently in The Abdication. But what do I mean by angels? I envisage them as numinous entities or supernatural messengers whose purpose is to help, guide and assist humanity. More than that, I feature them as sponsors of and midwives to human progression, in other words - without them, humanity would be in a ‘Stop’ situation, stuck, in a stasis. Could it be that there exists a reciprocal maintenance between humanity and angels, in which both gain from the right experience of the other.

Finally, another inspiration that drove me to wrote the novel was that I wanted to give a modern twist to the age-old Biblical story of Adam and Eve.
Justin Newland will be awarding a print copy of The Abdication to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter. (Open worldwide.) Good luck!

(All the Ups and Downs is not responsible for this giveaway, its entries, or the prize. Goddess Fish Promotions and the author assume all responsibility for this giveaway.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway