Monday, April 17, 2023

Today's read... The Abdication by Justin Newland

by Justin Newland
Historical Fantasy
328 pages

The town of Unity sits perched on the edge of a yawning ravine where, long ago, a charisma of angels provided spiritual succour to a fledgeling human race. Then mankind was granted the gift of free will and had to find its own way, albeit with the guidance of the angels. The people’s first conscious act was to make an exodus from Unity. They built a rope bridge across the ravine and founded the town of Topeth. For a time, the union between the people of Topeth and the angels of Unity was one of mutual benefit. After that early spring advance, there had been a torrid decline in which mankind’s development resembled a crumpled, fading autumnal leaf.

Following the promptings of an inner voice, Tula, a young woman from the city, trudges into Topeth. Her quest is to abide with the angels and thereby discover the right and proper exercise of free will. To do that, she has to cross the bridge – and overcome her vertigo. Topeth is in upheaval; the townsfolk blame the death of a child on dust from the nearby copper mines. The priests have convinced them that a horde of devils have thrown the angels out of Unity and now occupy the bridge, possessing anyone who trespasses on it.

Then there’s the heinous Temple of Moloch!

The Abdication is the story of Tula’s endeavour to step upon the path of a destiny far greater than she could ever have imagined.




A rich world awaits in this grabbing tale of a town, which has not only been  divided but grown as far apart as heaven and hell.

Tula has left her home on the plains to venture up the mountains in search of the city of angels, but what she finds is anything but angelic. Across the deadly ravine from what had been the wondrous city of Unity, another town has formed. This one holds the people, who broke away from the angels and insisted they follow their own course through life. As time has progressed, the angels seem to have completely disappeared. Instead, demons have taken their place, and they have a thirst for death. Every so often, they trick someone to walk across the dangerous, rope bridge dividing the towns and ensure that person plunges to their death. But Tula refuses to give up hope, and as she gets to know the citizens and their history, she realizes that the situation is darker than she'd assumed.

The author has created a rich and original world, and with Tula, it's no problem to sink into it. There isn't much background given about her. The reader just knows that she's made this journey with the hope to enter Unity and meet the angels. And that's enough. The characters she meets bring the spice, each one vibrant and unique. They have their own thoughts, goals, and history, which adds lovely depth and makes Tula easy to root for as she slowly figures out what the true situation in the town is. The pacing isn't quite a fast as I usually like, but there's more than enough going on to keep the reader in the pages.

This is a book, whose food-for-thought deepens as the tale goes on. There are several messages in the pages and quite a bit to chew and digest. As Tula uncovers more and more dark secrets, the reader is cleverly lead to consider questions surrounding difficulties and issues found in people and society today. All of this happens without leaving the fantasy world and the adventure Tula is up against. It is a grabbing read, which stays with a reader even after the last page is finished. 

And here he is...


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