Publisher: Matador (October 8, 2018)
Publication Date: October 8, 2018
Praise for THE OLD DRAGON’S HEAD
“A stand out novel that ticks all the boxes – murder, mystery, treason, glorious villains, reluctant heroes and more than a touch of the supernatural.” —Discovering Diamonds
“The author is an excellent storyteller.” British Fantasy Society. “History meets magic, culture meets supernatural… I would recommend this story to anyone who enjoys historical fiction with a twist.” —Books Beyond the Story
“This is an exceptionally well-written book which takes one back to the China of 1400.” —That’s Books and Entertainment
“I absolutely loved the mix of fantasy elements well-rooted in Chinese history.” —Jessica Belmont
“I enjoyed the different perspectives and the magical realism.” —Rosie Cawkwell
“This book was part murder mystery and part fantasy with some fabulous villains and heroes.” —Over the Rainbow
“This isn’t your typical coming of age story – it’s filled with tough choices, unexpected surprises, and a destiny that’s bigger than anyone can imagine.” —The Faerie Review
“This epic story has it all – adventure, mystery, villains, the supernatural, and at its heart a true coming of age journey.” —Books and Emma
“This is a book of historical fantasy, but in terms of the fantasy, it is subtle, and firmly rooted in cultural beliefs and superstitions within the time period covered in the book.” —Book Mad Jo
“This is not just a fantasy book, this is a fantasy with history, murder, mystery, legend, myth and of course the supernatural. There are villains and heroes and action and adventure.” —Bookmarks and Stages
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?
The Old Dragon’s Head by Justin Newland is a meticulously researched historical novel with a heavy dash of magical realism. It was set in China in 1400, in the early Ming Dynasty, and lasted from 1368 to 1644. This book has a rich, exciting plot covering many topics – mystery, espionage, torture, disability, coming of age, and revenge. The setting is exciting, and the cast of characters is varied, seemingly disparate at first but coming together in a satisfying conclusion. A suitable combination of a good story entwined with flavors of Chinese tradition.
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.