Featuring a guest post by Justin Newland, author of mythological fantasy The Genes of Isis
Akasha is a precocious young woman who lives in a world where oceans circulate in the aquamarine sky waters.
Before she was born, the Helios, a tribe of angels from the sun, came to Earth to deliver the Surge, the next step in the evolution of an embryonic human race. Instead, they left humanity on the brink of extinction and spawned a race of monstrous hybrids.
Horque is a Solarii, another tribe of angels, sent to Earth to rescue the genetic mix-up and release the Surge.
When Akasha has a premonition that a great flood is imminent and falls in love with Horque, her life becomes an instrument for apocalyptic change. But will it save the three races – humans, hybrids and Solarii – from the killing waters?
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Excerpt from The Genes of Isis
The moonlight flooded through the window but Issa was still awake. Once the street cats grew tired of fighting and the hyenas and foxes stopped scavenging, she roused herself and began her descent. Clutching a glow lamp in one hand and Fryme’s package in the other, she crept downstairs and stopped in the middle of a corridor, beside a section of wall that would have appeared unremarkable to anyone else. She knew otherwise.
A few words, an arcane utterance, followed by a shimmer of light and the astral curtain disappeared, revealing the secret door. She stepped through it, into the corridor beyond. She was going to the God Crucible, an occult chamber beneath her house. Its astral protections were such that no one, not even Cheiron, suspected its existence. Her breathing was shallow. This was the first point of no return.
Her glow-lamp threw long shadows down the narrow, sloping tunnel. Divided in two, it had steps on one side and a slanting ramp on the other. In front of her on the ground was a piece of white bandage, accidentally torn off the mummified body of her son, which she’d dragged down the ramp before Cheiron had arrived. How heavy he had been. They didn’t call it a dead weight for nothing. She could still smell the musty odour of the dust particles she’d dislodged.
At the bottom of the ramp, the tunnel gave way to a dome-shaped chamber, the God Crucible. Her son’s cadaver lay on a bench, and she ran her hand over the embalming bandages. Beside it was a second, vacant bench. There, she would lie during the ritual she was about to perform.
The Anubis embalmers had washed Horque’s body, encased it in natron salt, and mummified it according to all but one of the traditions of the Jackal-headed God – the exception being that they had not removed any of his organs. On his chest, she laid out a scarab pectoral and into his mouth, she placed a length of straw.
Guest Post from Justin Newland
Q. What was your greatest source of mythological inspiration for this book?
The book title is The Genes of Isis and alludes to the fact that the basis for the storyline is taken from the flood motif in the Book of Genesis. The novel is a modern re-telling of the story of the Fallen Angels, aka the Nephilim, whose shenanigans on earth culminated in the flood. Oh, and in case you didn’t know, the Fallen Angels haven’t left; they are still here. According to the Bible, they are buried beneath the valleys of the Earth. Better not dig too deep, then?
But the mythological basis of the novel is from the myth of Isis and Osiris.
Isis and Osiris are married, but Set, Osiris’s brother, is jealous and murders Osiris. Not only that, he dismembers the body and spreads the body parts all over Egypt. Isis then searches for and collects all of the parts, puts them together into a new whole, and miraculously brings Osiris back to life.
The myth has all the archetypal elements of a classical myth; love and betrayal, life and death, procreation, rebirth and the struggle for power.
This was the source of the mythological inspiration behind the novel, The Genes of Isis. In the book, I wanted to explore the inner meaning of the myth.
Could the myth be read or interpreted differently?
Let’s say, for example, that Osiris represented a way of life, or living, a set of codes or genes inherent in the people of the time. And then there’s Set. And he represents a disruptive and dangerous element because he (almost) destroys these codes.
If that’s the case, then Set killing Osiris is a glyph for saying Osiris’s codes are out of date, no longer work, and have been disrupted by the arrival of a new set of codes, represented by the figure in the myth of Set.
So, Osiris, thesis, Set, anti-thesis. And now you have a set of codes no longer contained but in disarray, dispersed (around Egypt).
And along comes the saviour, the glue, and the synthesis, the female figure in the myth, Isis. Who is she, you might ask?
Well, take any event on earth. Some will take one point of view, and others will take the opposing point of view. But the truth is that there is a third way, and that is – WHT IS IS. That’s who Isis is and who and what she represents. The synthesis. The bald, neutral truth of things. Her task is to collect Osiris’ dispersed body parts (codes or genes or programs), bring them back together, and fuse them into a new, functional whole. And this is what she does. Not only that, she mates with the new Osiris and has a child, Horus.
What, then, is this the myth a metaphor for? Who is Horus – the hawk-headed God in Ancient Egypt? Who is Osiris, and what does he represent? Who or what is Set? Is he still here? Are these Gods and Goddesses still on earth, masquerading within every one of us? Well, you can read the novel to find out the answers to these questions.
And to end, how about enigmatic saying at the start of The Genes of Isis?
“Egypt knows you, but do you know the Egypt in you?”
About Justin Newland
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.
The Genes of Isis is a tale of love, destruction and ephemeral power set under the skies of Ancient Egypt. A re-telling of the Biblical story of the flood, it reveals the mystery of the genes of Isis – or genesis – of mankind. ISBN 9781789014860.
“The novel is creative, sophisticated, and downright brilliant! I couldn’t ask more of an Egyptian-esque book!” – Lauren, Books Beyond the Story.
The Old Dragon’s Head is a historical fantasy and supernatural thriller set during the Ming Dynasty and played out in the shadows the Great Wall of China. It explores the secret history of the influences that shaped the beginnings of modern times. ISBN 9781789015829.
‘The author is an excellent storyteller.” – British Fantasy Society.
Set during the Great Enlightenment, The Coronation reveals the secret history of the Industrial Revolution. ISBN 9781838591885.
“The novel explores the themes of belonging, outsiders… religion and war… filtered through the lens of the other-worldly.” – A. Deane, Page Farer Book Blog.
His latest, The Abdication (July, 2021), is a suspense thriller, a journey of destiny, wisdom and self-discovery. ISBN 9781800463950.
“In Topeth, Tula confronts the truth, her faith in herself, faith in a higher purpose, and ultimately, what it means to abdicate that faith.”
Justin Newland will be awarding one signed copy of the paperback (US or International) to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.