Justin Newland: The Old Dragon’s Head

Today I’m on the blog tour for The Old Dragon’s Head. I’m sharing an extract with thanks to Zoe O’Farrell for inviting me on the tour and to the author for my copy of the extract.


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?


Nanjing, China.

In the Chinese Year of the Goat, 23rd January, 1368.

I, Zhu Yuanzhang, have expelled the Mongol invader. For too many winters, we have suffered at the hands of the barbarian. I will restore the greatness of China both in Heaven and on earth.

While my followers exhorted me to grasp the Mandate of Heaven, I dared not do so without a propitious sign.

Five days ago, on a cold, snowy day, I erected an altar of worship to the Supreme Cosmic Deity. I prayed that if the Lord on High approved of my new ruling house, then the appointed day of my enthronement – 23rd of January, 1368 – would be a bright day.

Today is that day and, miracle of miracles, the warm rays of the sun pierce the gloom and have melted the frozen earth. The Lord on High has heard my supplication. The Yang exerts itself upon the Yin. The order of the Tao is restored. Thus, I take my seat on the Dragon Throne.  

As a bright day in Heaven means a bright day on earth, I name this the Ming – the Bright – Dynasty. 

Zhu Yuanzhang, the Hongwu Emperor. 



The Old Dragon’s Head is available from Amazon.

You can follow the rest of the blog tour here:

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