by Justin Newland
March 6 – 24, 2023 Virtual Book Tour
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…
Praise for The Coronation:
“The novel explores the themes of belonging, outsiders, religion and war… all filtered through the lens of the other-worldly.”
A. Deane, Page Farer Book Blog
“This wonderful historical fictional tale will hold your attention as the author weaves a storyline that has different creative plots, along with a spiritual message.”
“Some authors deposit their characters in the midst of history, showing how their lives parallel historic events. Then there are authors like Justin Newland who bend history to their will and use fantastic elements to show us what could have been.”
Jathan and Heather
“This was a wonderfully told story that I thoroughly enjoyed.”
Baby Dolls and Razor Blades
The Coronation Trailer:
Genre: Secret History Thriller
Published by: Matador
Publication Date: November, 2019
Number of Pages: 216
Book Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Apple Books | Goodreads
Read an excerpt:
Closing scene of Chapter 11,
The Columbine Inn
It’s from the point of view of Marion Grafin (or Countess) von Adler. Her harvest sequestered by the Russian Army, Marion must raise funds to buy food to survive the harsh East Prussian winter. She goes to the Columbine Inn in the capital city, Konigsberg, to deal with a Russian trader, Herr Kharkov.
At the cattle market, the air was shot with the fresh smell of cattle and the mildly cacophonous sound of collective lowing. Scores of livestock were tightly corralled in fenced areas. Asking after Herr Kharkov, she was told to try the nearby Columbine Inn.
Outside the inn, a gleeman was playing a virtuoso performance on the violin. The tune was one of simple elegance. At the crescendo, she swelled with emotion but kept her tears in check. When the player finished, she nodded to Christoph to reward him with a pfennig or two.
“Thank ye, ma’am,” the gleeman said, his right eye twitching involuntarily.
“Is that your composition?”
“Wish it was, ma’am,” he replied. “No, I was standin’ outside a grand buildin’ in far-off Vi-enna and this music started up inside. Them notes must have squeezed through the cracks in the walls. I’s played it like I heard it, honest. By some boy musician, me thinks.”
“What was his name?”
“Dunno. But I’s like his music.”
“What, pray, do we call you?”
“Gleeman Kunz at your service, ma’am.”
“Thank you, Herr Kunz,” she said and entered the inn.
The inn stank of vodka, mead, sweat and other unmentionable body fluids. Russian soldiers sang nostalgic songs of home. In a room to one side, a party was in full throe where a man dressed in a tartan kilt was finishing a tune on the bagpipes. What a haunting sound they made. These Scots were an enterprising lot. From Ian Fermor, she knew that many ran schooners between Port Glasgow and the Baltic.
The racket in the main part of the inn reached a crescendo where a Cossack was dancing full pelt on a table. He was energetically encouraged by a coterie of drunken, shouting soldiers until he fell off, scattering limbs and beakers, which in turn sparked the mob into a fist fight.
The owner of the Columbine Inn, a Frenchman named Andre, was having none of that!
“Fermez la bouche, ou allez-vous-en!” he yelled at them. If they didn’t understand French, they quickly understood his meaning from the acerbic tone.
Christoph called out, “Over here, Your Excellency.”
Herr Kharkov and his secretary were tucked away in an anteroom behind a desk, on which was sat row upon row of silver thaler, arranged in neat, even piles. Kharkov boasted a droopy left eye beneath which was a deep diagonal scar.
Before she could introduce herself, Kharkov rocked back in his chair and with a knowing, malevolent smile said, “You must be Marion Gräfin von Adler.”
“Why yes. How did you know?” she asked.
“You – like me – have a scar on the left cheek. Everyone in Königsberg knows how you got it.”
Caught unawares by the remark, she soon regained her composure. “I’ve come for my thaler, all one hundred and fifty of them.”
“No, I agreed a hundred with the crouchback,” Kharkov said, pointing at Christoph.
“Yes, Herr Kharkov. You heard me. That’s a fair price for my cattle. Now hand over my thaler.”
Kharkov turned to his secretary and whispered in his ear. The secretary burst out laughing and pointed at her.
“How dare you mock me!” she said. In one movement, she swept her forearm across the money table, spilling silver thaler into the air and tumbling onto the ground.
“You’re mad!” the secretary snarled at her as he grovelled on the floor to collect the coins. Behind her, a truce seemed to have broken out amidst the fighters and she felt the eyes of the whole inn burrowing into her back.
The secretary handed a bag of coins to Christoph.
Kharkov explained, “That’s the one hundred t’s. That’s what was agreed.”
“No, that’s the down payment,” she countered. “I want fifty more. And I won’t move until I get them!”
“That’s all you’re getting!” Kharkov said with a smirk.
“Give me my fifty thaler! You thieving rascal!”
Kharkov reached down to the side of the table for something – a weapon? She smelled trouble. At that moment, a tall man with a thin neck pushed passed her and pressed his foot down on Kharkov’s hand.
“Dieter!” she cried. What a time for her brother to enter the fray!
“What’s going on here?” Dieter asked as he retrieved a pistol from under Kharkov’s hand and added, “Now, let’s not do anything stupid here.”
Marion hastily explained to Dieter what had happened.
“Do as the lady asks,” he insisted in that calm, authoritative way of his. “Give us our fifty thaler and we’ll go.”
“No,” Kharkov said, shaking his bruised hand and dowsing the pain with a slug of vodka. “That’s all you’re getting. You leave or I’ll make you.”
Drunk soldiers shouted at them, “Go now!” A glass shattered on the ground behind her. Someone stamped on the floor. Another picked up on the tempo of his beat, stamping in time. Soon, all the soldiers joined in… thump, thump, thump.
The noise was deafening, the danger, palpable. The walls seemed to be vibrating.
“Go home, Lutherans!” another soldier yelled, waving a dagger at them.
Dieter’s face paled. “Sis’, it’s not safe. There are too many of them!”
She turned to go and paused. An image flashed into her head – of the statue with an eagle with its claws buried in the head of the Virgin Mary. The divine image of the Adler filled her with courage.
She turned back to Kharkov, who taunted her, “Want a scar on your other cheek, Fräulein?”
Behind her, she heard metal rasp against metal – a soldier drew his sabre. They were outnumbered. The smell of vodka was intoxicating, the smell of fear more so.
“Come on, please.” Dieter pulled her sleeve.
She felt the Adler’s numinous power pulse through her veins.
She planted her palms flat on the table, leaned over and with her face right next to Kharkov’s, said, “No! Damn you! I will have my extra fifty thaler!”
Kharkov stood up abruptly, the chair behind him crashing to the floor. “Take them!”
She braced herself. She had done what she could.
Suddenly, a loud retort shook the room. Her ears were ringing. Her eyes stung and began to water.
Dieter had fired the pistol. Into the ground.
The silence that followed was shot with tension.
As the gun smoke cleared, he wielded the pistol in the air and yelled, “Stop this! Now!”
Kharkov’s left cheek was burning bright and his left eye was twitching uncontrollably. Still he didn’t budge, not one iota.
“Will you deny the lady a meagre fifty thaler?” Dieter tried again. “Or are you just crooked?”
That seemed to alter the mood in the room, because someone in the crowd hissed, “Come on, Vlad. Be fair to the lady. Give her the t’s!”
There followed a brief, but pregnant silence. Then with an air of resignation, Kharkov said, “I’ll tell you what, you greedy money-grabbers.”
What on earth was he going to propose? She waited; proud, firm and her heart thumping like a bass drum.
“See the fine relief work on the barrel of my pistol,” Kharkov said. “It’s the best, it’s Russian and it’s made at the famous Tula Arms Factory. It’s worth much more than a meagre fifty thaler. So, you keep my flintlock holster pistol,” he added with haughty disdain.
The crowd broke out in raucous cheers. Agitated and defiant, she could barely stand, let alone talk. But she refused to bow to anyone.
“Satisfied?” Dieter asked her.
She managed a weary nod.
“Hah! Now run away, little Prussian people!” Kharkov added.
She ignored the man and instead glanced up at her brother in awe and appreciation.
“Shall we leave?” Dieter asked, holding out his arm for her, which she gratefully accepted.
As they stepped into the freezing Königsberg air, Dieter helped her into his carriage and said, “By heavens! I’d forgotten what an extraordinary lady my sister is!”
Excerpt from The Coronation by Justin Newland. Copyright 2019 by Justin Newland. Reproduced with permission from Justin Newland. All rights reserved.
“The chorister orchestrated the singing. It was so beautiful it sent shivers up her spine.
Lord God, thy praise we sing,
Lord God, our thanks we bring.
Father in eternity:
All the world worships thee.
The singing of the Te Deum had a healing effect on those present. All those years of war, dissolved in a paean of peace. All those war-dead, remembered. All those victories, celebrated. The defeats, forgotten. Now the glory, for God.
Let shine on us, O God, thy face:
Our only hope is in thy grace.
Our trust, O Lord, is all in thee:
O let us ne’er confounded be.
When the last note dissipated into the cathedral heights, a pall of silence descended on the congregation. It was as if everyone held their breath, waiting, wanting, and expecting a divine presence to reveal itself. It marked the end of a long, bitter road. Now the light of peace beaconed ahead and the brotherhood of man could once again take pride of place amidst the ruins of nearly seven years of war.
For the first time in a long while, Marion experienced that elusive feeling of quiet settlement, when the vicissitudes of life dropped away. It left her with a sense of belonging, when the spirit filled her life and her life filled the spirit. It was accompanied by a profound sense of homecoming.”
This is a great introduction to the forthcoming coronation of King Charles III, due to take place at Westminster Abbey in London, England on Saturday 6th May, 2023, because it will also feature a singing of the hymn Te Deum.
The order of service of the coronation ceremony has hardly changed since its inception in the days of King William the Conqueror. It’s written in the medieval illuminated Latin manuscript, the Liber Regalis, and can be viewed in the Galleries at the Abbey. Charles III is again following the tradition of using Westminster Abbey as the site of the coronation.
A coronation is a powerful and evocative religious ceremony which culminates with the placing of a crown on the head of the sovereign. The root of the word coronation is corona. A corona is defined as the rarefied gaseous envelope that surrounds the sun. An incredible sight, it’s visible during a total solar eclipse.
The imagery of a corona is suggestive of a halo, a bright circle of fire that both graces and illuminates. A halo is a ring or disc of light that often appears in religious art surrounding or above a person’s head. It’s a hugely significant mark of achievement in a saviour or a monarch that indicates the person is capable of performing extraordinary acts of compassion, healing and leadership.
What was the origin of the halo? Did someone just decide one day to paint a halo around these people? Or did someone actually see this ring of fire above or around a person’s head?
And what’s the connection between a coronation and the sun? Well, we know the sun’s rays turn up here as a seven-fold influence – i.e. the spectrum of light from red to violet. So, it’s not surprising to find that there are seven distinct parts to the Coronation Ceremony;
- The Recognition
- The Oath
- Presentation of the Holy Bible
- The Anointing
- The Investiture
- The Crowning and Homage
- The Recess
The coronation itself takes place during the communion part of the mass. It suggests that the ceremony is a communion between the monarch and God and Godly powers.
During the first part of the ceremony – the Recognition – the sovereign stands behind the Coronation Chair and is presented to the people. He or she bows to all four sides of the Abbey – or the four directions.
The monarch then takes seven steps (seven again) up to the Coronation Chair which faces the high altar.
After the Oath and the Presentation of the Bible, the monarch is anointed with holy oil. This part of the ceremony is done in secret. A canopy is held over the sovereign because this, not the crowning, is the most sacred part of the service. The Archbishop of Canterbury makes a cross with holy oil on the royal forehead, hands and breast. The tradition derives from the Old Testament where the anointing of Solomon by Zadok the Priest and Nathan the Prophet is described. It’s no surprise that Handel’s Zadok the Priest is sung during the anointing of the monarch.
The anointing is performed with olive and sesame oil with aromatic additions like jasmine and ambergris. The use of oil is fascinating. Oil can be used to lubricate and insulate, but one wonders whether in this case it’s used to symbolically seal a high spiritual power into the monarch.
The remaining parts of the ceremony – the Investiture and the Crowning and Homage – conclude the process. The Investiture of the monarch with the symbols of state is there to symbolise what’s just happened, as is the Crowning. The Homage and the Recess are there to endorse and enhance. This uses the power of witness by those in attendance to strengthen what’s gone before.
All in all, this is a magnificent ceremony, replete with hidden symbolic meaning, much of which is probably lost on us all today. We can still enjoy the sheer spectacle of the regalia, the ceremony, the pageant, and the singing of that evocative hymn, the Te Deum.
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.
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