The Old Dragon’s Head by Justin Newland #BlogTour #BookReview #Fantasy #ComingOfAge #Historical #Mystery #Crime @BlackCoffeeHRPR @HenryRoiPR #drjustinnewland @justin.newland.author — Rain’n’books
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Rating: 5 out of 5.
Stepping into the world of fantasy always makes me feel like Alice In Wonderland, the irresistible urge to seek new lands and new treasures albeit via a book is a magical journey that I believe all of us should undertake for sheer joy if it. Justin Newland’s The Old Dragon’s Head had something more to offer, a journey into a land that is as mysterious as the dragon on its cover enticing the readers into a wholesome adventure.
The story is set in the 1400s in the background of the Great Wall Of China amidst a raging power struggle and at a time when the beliefs of people were rooted in supernatural phenomena. Hence hearing voices and seeing visions are normal. For the past 20 years, the people of Shanhaiguan have been desolate with the absence of the Dragon Master and the Dragon pearl without which the Old Dragon cannot be summoned and it is this mystery that is layered excellently into the story that is just not a fantasy tale of dragons and humans.
Walking thru the lives of some brilliant characters, The Old Dragon’s Head explores coming of age in a totally new light. There are multiple POVs: Bolin is our reluctant hero, Feng has to fight for his true destiny, and Luli, the one with the ying yang eyes, is a soul-bearer and guardian of all things left behind by people. There are also several other characters like the Abbott Dong; Cui, the old soldier whose story becomes an integral part of the unfolding mystery, and of course Ru, the silent spectator whose mute misery affected me as a reader.
Like a sea with countless tributaries, streams and rivers flowing into it, the lives of all the different characters merge into literally, an explosive firework display in the climax with a war being fought and aided by phantom beings on both sides. The author’s grasp of the era and culture of historical China was amazing and his writing captures the atmosphere for the reader incredibly. I also loved the amalgamation of all the different lives to a center point and it was exciting to see how a secondary character’s past somehow becomes a central plot point of revenge.
The Old Dragon’s Head is thoroughly entertaining, fusing together history with fantasy, myths and magic, a mother’s love and revenge for family, hidden identities and coming of age, mystery and intrigue, integrity and treason, thereby offering a highly compelling and mesmerizing ride for the reader.
Constructed of stone and packed earth, the Great Wall of 10,000 li protects China’s northern borders from the threat of Mongol incursion. The wall is also home to a supernatural beast: the Old Dragon. The Old Dragon’s Head is the most easterly point of the wall, where it finally meets the sea.
In every era, a Dragon Master is born. Endowed with the powers of Heaven, only he can summon the Old Dragon so long as he possess the dragon pearl.
It’s the year 1400, and neither the Old Dragon, the dragon pearl, nor the Dragon Master, has been seen for twenty years. Bolin, a young man working on the Old Dragon’s Head, suffers visions of ghosts. Folk believe he has yin-yang eyes and other paranormal gifts. When Bolin’s fief lord, the Prince of Yan, rebels against his nephew, the Jianwen Emperor, a bitter war of succession ensues in which the Mongols hold the balance of power. While the victor might win the battle on earth, China’s Dragon Throne can only be earned with a Mandate from Heaven — and the support of the Old Dragon.
Bolin embarks on a journey of self-discovery, mirroring Old China’s endeavour to come of age. When Bolin accepts his destiny as the Dragon Master, Heaven sends a third coming of age — for humanity itself. But are any of them ready for what is rising in the east?
About The Author
JUSTIN NEWLAND was born in Essex, England, three days before the end of 1953. He lives with his partner in plain sight of the Mendip Hills in Somerset, England.
Justin gives author talks in libraries and does books signings in Waterstones, WH Smiths and indie bookshops. He has appeared at literary festivals and regularly gives media interviews.
He writes secret histories in which real events and historical personages are guided and motivated by numinous and supernatural forces — that’s history with a supernatural twist.
Many thanks to HRPR Book Tours and the author for a chance to read and review this book. All opinions are expressed voluntarily.
Originally published at https://rainnbooks.com on June 13, 2022.