Monday, December 4, 2023

#HistoricalFiction author Justin Newland shares the inspiration for his fabulous new novel, The Mark of the Salamander – #TudorFiction #CoffeePotBookClub @JustinNewland53 @cathiedunn

The Mark of the Salamander

The Island of Angels, Book #1

by Justin Newland

Publication Date: September 28th, 2023
Publisher: The Book Guild
Pages: 256
Genre: Historical Fiction / Tudor Fiction / Elizabethan Fiction

A tale steeped in history with a supernatural twist; Justin Newland embarks on a new adventure aboard Sir Francis Drake's ship


Nelan Michaels is a young Flemish man fleeing religious persecution in the Spanish Netherlands. Settling in Mortlake outside London, he studies under Queen Elizabeth's court astrologer, conjuring a bright future – until he's wrongly accused of murder. Forced into the life of a fugitive, Nelan is dramatically pressed into the crew of the Golden Hind.

Thrust into a strange new world on board Francis Drake's vessel, Nelan sails the seas on a voyage to discover discovery itself. Encountering mutiny, ancient tribes and hoards of treasure, Nelan must explore and master his own mystical powers – including the Mark of the Salamander, the mysterious spirit of fire.

The Mark of the Salamander is the first in The Island of Angels series: a two-book saga that tells the epic story and secret history of England's coming of age during the Elizabethan era.

Author, speaker and broadcaster Justin Newland writes novels that blend thrilling historical adventure with elements of crime, magical realism, speculative fiction and supernatural quality.

My latest historical fiction novel, The Mark of the Salamander, is out now. It tells the epic story and secret history of England’s coming of age during the Elizabethan era. It’s the first in a two-book series entitled The Island of Angels, a title inspired by these four enigmatic lines, and which inspired me the muse and speculate upon how it might have come to be so.

Now let the story begin.
And it has been said Ex Insula Angelorum
Out of the Island of Angels.
For always was it so and always thus to be.

Something moved, a sound, an oak leaf falling. A glimpse, a deer passing, a hog grunting. 
We were there at the birth, when, long ago, the land was pristine, latent, swathed in forests of silver birch and golden oak. 

We looked around with the eyes of youth, and were alone.

But the land was empty of people, without whom, we couldn’t grow. Not could they.

Together, we sought out those of kin to abide with us, to join our combined destiny. We called out to them and so the Mighty crossed the land bridge and settled amongst our rolling hills and gentle dales.

Then, when the waters encroached, and made our land an Island, the first ones, the Mighty, dwelt with us amidst the meadows and the combes.

They built altars where their white-robed priests laid the dead in burrows and tombs.

We needed more people, and sent out another call, a subtle whisper summoning them to attend us.

From across the waters came the warriors dressed in red, brandishing their eagles, to plant their terrible seed in our womb. They built roads that followed our sacred lines of power. Then they departed, leaving the awful trace of their crimson ways.

More heard our siren call, and came to join the other rough-hewn folk already here, creating a family of blue and green eyed, red and golden haired.  Hearing our summons, they left their homes and sailed across the northern seas in their long boats and their short swords. They were the true people, the Angles to our Angels.

Like any child, we wanted to grow, imagine our possibility, and discover our divinely-given destiny. Alas, the family of peoples who had settled on our Island was unable to meet our vision of the future.

As we grew into maturity, we changed, developed, and reformed ourselves again.

The prominent families fought for the right to be the rulers of our land, to represent our new, emerging will, our supreme purpose. It was war. As the petals of their red and white dog roses fell to the ground and withered, there came to the throne a queen of a thousand days, who gave birth to a chosen one. Wearing pearls, the chosen one abided with us, and together we served the people.

During her reign, we made ourselves anew, and moulded our peoples to face and join the mystery of the onsetting future. The renewal had begun.

But from across the seas, a great threat cast a dark shadow across the Island.

Its gold constriction could and would never set foot on our silver land.

Make beacons.
Send fire ships.
Pray deacons.
Purse lips.

We will be known to the world.
Every one of you knows of us.
Many speak in our tongue.
For we are near among.
We are you, and you are us and   
We are the Angels of the Island of England.

Justin Newland

Justin Newland’s novels represent an innovative blend of genres from historical adventure to supernatural thriller and magical realism. His stories explore the themes of war and religion, and speculate on the human’s spiritual place in the universe.

Undeterred by the award of a Doctorate in Mathematics from Imperial College, London, he conceived his debut novel, The Genes of Isis (Matador, 2018), an epic fantasy set under Ancient Egyptian skies.

The historical thriller, The Old Dragon’s Head (Matador, 2018), is set in Ming Dynasty China in the shadows of the Great Wall.

The Coronation (Matador, 2019) was another historical adventure and speculates on the genesis of the most important event in the modern world – the Industrial Revolution.

The Abdication (Matador, 2021) is a mystery thriller in which a young woman confronts her faith in a higher purpose and what it means to abdicate that faith.

The Mark of the Salamander (Book Guild, 2023) is the first in a two-book series, The Island of Angels. Set in the Elizabethan era, it’s an epic tale of England’s coming of age.

His work in progress is the second in the series, The Midnight of Eights, the charting of the uncanny coincidences that led to the repulse of the Spanish Armada.

Author, speaker and broadcaster, Justin appears on LitFest panels, gives talks to historical associations and libraries and enjoys giving radio interviews and making podcasts.

Born three days before the end of 1953, he lives with his partner in plain sight of the Mendip Hills in Somerset, England.

Connect with Justin:

Website • Twitter • Facebook • LinkedIn • Instagram •
Amazon Author Page • Goodreads

No comments:

Post a Comment