Thursday 6 December 2018

Kosmos by Adrian Laing BLOG TOUR #Kosmos @flametreepress @samatlounge #RandomThingsTours

Rookie barrister George Winsome, young and arrogant, defends an old boy who thinks he’s Merlin on a manslaughter charge. The riotous trial turns Merlin into a celebrity; money, greed and ambition take hold of George and his partner Heather until the secret of Merlin’s past is revealed as the spirit of Saint Yves intervenes to ensure George and Heather follow their true paths.

‘Kosmos’ is a modern-day jury trial, a feel-good love story and a spiritual journey involving Saint Yves, Nemesis and Merlin.

Kosmos by Adrian Laing was published by Flame Tree Press on 30th November 2018. I'm delighted to share an exclusive extract from the book today, as part of the Random Things Tours Blog Tour.


20th September 2000, Hampstead Heath, North London.

“Is he dead? Oh God, that’s all we need,” muttered Fred, one of the dog patrollers, as he drove past the high mound of earth where the Iceni Queen, Boudicca, was once thought to have been buried.
Hampstead Heath had seen its fair share of strange events over the years. The sight of a corpse, lying facedown in the dew-fresh grass, decomposing and returning to Mother Earth, was not that exceptional. Once, maybe twice, a year a body would be found, half hiding in some quiet corner of the once-wild expanse of woodland now dominated by dog-walkers, seriously committed joggers, female middle-aged American power walkers, celebrities puffing behind their personal trainers, and liberal North London types attracted by the life-enhancing experience of a dip in the freezing-cold, open-air bathing ponds. It was just past six o’clock in the morning.
Fred and Kevin had been working together as a dog patrol team for nearly two years. Their job was to maintain a watch over the Heath and respond to calls concerning problems with dogs, which were many.
Fred came to a slow halt in his little patrol van and decamped from the vehicle. He and Kevin walked slowly closer to the body. This was not so easy, as the mound was covered with a fairly dense and irregular circle of high Norwegian fir trees, which itself was surrounded by two concentric railings, the inner one of metal and the outer of wood, to keep the notoriously inquisitive public at a safe distance.
Fred, being both Kevin’s boss and older by many years, naturally asked Kevin to go first. “Maybe we should just call the police and let them deal with it,” suggested Kevin, fearing the worst as he ungracefully clambered over the railings. “If it’s a drugs case, I don’t want to know.”
From the safe distance of the car, there appeared to be a large, highly decorated object lying almost upright against one of the trees – perhaps a piece of wood or maybe a stick.
As Kevin inched closer it looked more elaborate, like a walking stick lovingly carved and covered in all manner of trinkets, charms, and coloured ribbons. On closer inspection it was clearly a hiking staff, the head of which looked unusual, perhaps a bone from a small
animal, probably an antler, thought Kevin.
As Kevin approached ever nearer to the scene, he was struck by the appearance of an elderly man, who was curled into a near-foetal position at the very top of the rising, in the centre of the trees. His hair was long, but thin, grey, and tightly matted. His clothes looked almost theatrical, a baggy dark blue cloak half covered a faded pair of crimson velvet-looking trousers. The shoes looked handmade and basic, like medieval leather slippers. More than that was difficult to see.
“Is he dead or what?” old Fred whispered as he leaned over the railings, now worried that a stray walker with an inquisitive dog would become entangled in the events. “I bet he’s a leftover from last night’s concert at Kenwood. I told them The Sound of Music would do their heads in.”
Edging closer through surprisingly thick growth, Kevin lost his nerve completely. “I don’t know and I don’t wanna know. It don’t feel right, Fred. Let’s get out of here.”
Fred decided that he would have to show Kevin why Fred was the boss. If they reported a rotting corpse to the police, only to be informed later that it was a sleeping drunk who had crashed out for a few hours on his way back from a fancy-dress party, he and Kevin would be the butt of jokes back at the sheds for the foreseeable future. Fred did his best to
climb over the railings without making it look like the effort it was, and boldly moved closer to the body.
The staff was irresistible to Fred, who, without hesitation, picked it up and held it outstretched. “Jesus, it’s got some weight to it, Kevin,” he said, and quite instinctively decided to prod the old sod who was threatening to ruin his day. Fred dug the staff into the rib cage of the still-quiet body, and again, and yet again. The combined effect of all the bits and pieces on the body of the staff made a cheap-sounding trinkety noise. Kevin had already resigned himself to a tedious day of interviews with the police, paperwork, and sitting around, when a soft muted sound came from the body.
“Shit, he’s alive!” squealed Kevin.
Fred acquired the posture fully befitting his hard-earned status of Senior Dog Patroller, standing upright, leaning with his two hands on the staff like a farmer commanding his dogs. “Get up, you old beggar. You frightened the shit out of us, and now it’s going-home
time. Come on, it’s a new moon, you silly old dip-hip.”
The old boy stirred and moved his head towards Kevin, his tired but clear blue eyes indicating more fear and disorientation than menace while they sought to focus upon the outside world. He began patting his body as if seeking reassurance that everything was where it was supposed to be. But he looked so old and dirty it was difficult to tell where the bits of dirt and twigs ended and the frail-looking body began.
Fred reacted by appearing relaxed and stood back, sounding pleased with himself. “Take your stick and move it, old boy. Try Bishop’s Avenue. This party’s over.”
After rising ever so slowly to his feet, the slight figure moved sheepishly towards Fred with an outstretched hand, gesturing for the return of the staff. Once the hand of the old man had made contact with the staff, Fred felt a keen and determined pull, which surprised and annoyed him. He pulled the staff back with a smile and a sneer, despite the sudden realisation of his disadvantage of being on lower ground. Without any words being exchanged, but with many grunts, groans, and mean eye-to-eye contact, Fred and the old boy engaged in a spontaneous tug-of-war over the staff.
Quite suddenly, while still holding his grasp on the staff, the old man became completely motionless, and then without warning swung the staff with a compelling force. Fred, according to Kevin’s statement to police later that day, was lifted right off his feet and was flung into the air, landing awkwardly against the inner railings in a thick growth of nettles.
Fred groaned in pain and humiliation while Kevin ran to his aid.
“You just wait, you silly old bastard, you’ll pay for that. You’ll be paying over the odds for non-slippy soap before you know it! Oh, my back! I’ll be off for weeks with this. Stay away from me, you old devil. Kevin, help me up, we’re getting the police all right.”

Adrian Laing was born in Harlow, Essex in 1958 and was educated at Hillhead High School, Glasgow and Exeter University where he studied law, graduating in 1978. Adrian was called to the bar (Inner Temple) in 1979, aged 21. Following a sabbatical in Paris studying with Michel Foucault at the College de France, Adrian undertook a pupillage in chambers and was made a Tenant (2 Pump Court, Inner Temple) practicing at the criminal bar defending and prosecuting in jury trials for seven years.

Leaving the criminal bar in 1987 to pursue more commercial interests, Adrian worked as the Assistant Head of Licensing at the ITC during the Channel 3 franchise process and then as a full-time consultant to the Chief Executive of Thames Television (Richard Dunn), following which Adrian was appointed the Senior Broadcasting Lawyer for the Leeds-based firm of solicitors, Hammond Suddards working in the city of London.

In 1994 Adrian was selected to become the first in-house lawyer at the Murdoch-owned publishing house, HarperCollins, where he held the position of Director of Legal Affairs and Company Secretary till 2001 working with some of the leading authors and agents of the day.

Adrian qualified as a solicitor in 2003 and set up his own legal practice (Laing & Co) for over 10 years acting for a wide range of prestigious business clients and authors. Adrian presented or chaired a leading seminar for The London Book Fair 2003 to 2012.

Adrian Laing is the co-author with his wife (Deborah Fosbrook) of three leading law titles published by Bloomsbury Professional, the author of R.D. Laing: A Life a widely acclaimed biography of his late father, the Scottish psychiatrist R.D. Laing, and a novel, Rehab Blues.

Adrian has appeared on radio and television many times most notably the BBC documentary ‘Just Another Sinner’ and Saturday Live with James Runchie.

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