Coronation by Justin Newlands
It is a great pleasure to be part of the blog tour run by Love Books Group for the fabulous new novel Coronation by Justin Newlands and published by Matador Books. The author has kindly supplied an excerpt from the book.
This extract is from Chapter 12. It’s from the point of view of Marion, Countess von Adler. It features a seminal moment in the story. Marion is with her brother, Dieter von Bernstein, when the King’s Chamberlain pays a visit and makes an unusual request.
There was a knock at the front door, followed by a flurry of activity at the entrance.
Philip announced to a room full of excited anticipation, “Heinrich Graf von Lehndorff.”
Marion asked, “The King’s chamberlain is here?”
“Apparently,” Aunt Charlotte said, as if it was a common occurrence to be visited by a close confidant of the Prussian royal family. “Show him in.”
Von Lehndorff had a high, wide brow and prominent chin. A tall man with a strong, personal presence, he gave a well-practised bow and greeted them. “Ah, the lovely Marion Gräfin von Adler. We meet again, so soon after the cathedral. I am fortunate indeed,” he added, kissing the back of her hand with charm aplenty.
She blushed appropriately.
“Kammerherr, to what do we owe this honour?” Dieter asked.
“Herr von Bernstein,” he said. “I believe you are the owner of the Anna Amber Mine.”
“Yes, I am,” Dieter replied with a note of pride.
“Good, because yesterday I received this correspondence from the King,” von Lehndorff replied, fingering an envelope with his white silken gloves. “He wishes me to inquire about a large supply of amber.”
Dieter’s eyes lit up. “In what regard?”
“I will explain,” von Lehndorff said. “You will be aware that, at the opening of the century, the King’s father, Frederick I, built an Amber Room and donated it to Emperor Peter the Great of Russia.”
“It’s well known throughout Europe,” Dieter agreed. “Lothar, my father, supplied the amber for it from the Anna Mine and helped with its construction.”
“The King wishes to design and build a new Amber Room, one that is both more elaborate and greater in artistic pedigree than the original.”
“This is wonderful news,” Marion exclaimed.
Von Lehndorff stuck his chin in the air and said, “The King wishes to know whether you can supply the quantities required to build such an Amber Room?”
“I could, without doubt,” Dieter said. “Though there are several problems. Since the beginning of the war, my experienced miners have been conscripted, the shafts have caved in, the tunnels are flooded, and the Newcomen engines that pump them out have broken down.”
“Mere trifles,” von Lehndorff replied, flicking his ’kerchief dismissively. “Like every son, the King wishes to leave a greater legacy than his father’s. And he refuses to be outdone by the Russians! Miners we can find. What about the repair to the Newcoming pump?”
“Newcomen pump, Kammerherr,” Dieter corrected him.
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…
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.
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