#Excerpt of Kosmos by Adrian Laing @annecater @flametreepress

Posted December 5, 2018 by Zoé in Excerpt, Reviews and Stuff / 4 Comments

#Excerpt of Kosmos by Adrian Laing @annecater @flametreepress

Kosmos by Adrian Laing
Published by Flame Tree Press on December 6, 2018
Pages: 288

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. FLAME TREE PRESS is the new fiction imprint of Flame Tree Publishing. Launching in 2018 the list brings together brilliant new authors and the more established; the award winners, and exciting, original voices.

Today I have the pleasure of welcoming Adrian Laing to my blog, with an excerpt from his book Kosmos. The book cover I must say looks AMAZING! Be sure to check it out below!

So we know the drill, I like to see what has been said so far on the tour!

Don Jimmy Reviews says

I had gone into this book expecting a wild and humorous ride, and while it is still that, it is so much more. What we have here is a heartwarming tale of redemption, with an absolutely fantastic array of characters, that I already miss, and a brilliantly plotted story,  I have to admit. I loved it.

Ok call me intrigued!! Now gimme the excerpt! 

George sniffed the still-cold morning air, put on his most serious barrister face, pulled open the door to the station, puffed himself out, and walked up to the officer in charge, bristling with confidence. “I trust my client is still in one piece, otherwise you’ll be sweeping the streets like the rest of your family,” George announced to everyone. The duty sergeant had heard it all before and couldn’t be bothered with the antics of yet another arrogant young member of the Bar. His time would come, eventually. “Mr. Winsome. What a pleasure. Yes, old Merlin. He’s in suite 101. Been waiting for you. Ring the bell for room service, won’t you?” “Suite 101? I hope the view is the same as in the brochure, otherwise I’ll need to file a formal complaint.” “Watkins. Take Mr. Winsome to the executive suite on the lower floor.” “Sure, Sarge. This way, please, sir.” George always felt sick walking down into prison cells. Always. It wasn’t the smell. It was just the feeling incarceration induced.

PC 2150, or Watkins as he was known, selected one key from the assorted bunch dangling from his trouser pocket and turned it this way and that, before pushing the cell door open to reveal a now familiar image of a darkened room, eight feet by ten, one heavy wooden board covered in seditious graffiti underneath the small dirty window, and a lonely soul looking like a refugee from a fancy-dress party that had gone pear-shaped, sitting on the edge of the seat, which was often used for sleeping, his head in his hands. George had been briefed, as promised, by Sam Leggitt.

The few pieces of A4-size paper folded vertically in half and wrapped around with lashings of red tape hadn’t taken long to read, and told a rather sad story of an old man who had been arrested at about six a.m., Wednesday, the 20th of September 2000, on Hampstead Heath following a fracas with two dog patrollers, one of whom had slightly injured his back and was now off work. The medical report had not yet been submitted. The defendant had been interviewed by the police, who informed the duty solicitor – Sam Leggitt – who managed to spend five minutes or so with ‘Merlin’, the name given to the police by the old man, and had advised his client to say nothing. Little damage had been done. The old boy had said very little. On his charge sheet his name was simply recorded as ‘Merlin’. Under the heading ‘Reason for Arrest’ it was stated that he had ‘assaulted a dog patroller over Hampstead Heath causing actual bodily harm’.

The door slammed behind George and he sat down at the other end of the bench, carefully placing his case beside him and quietly taking out a fresh blue counsel’s notebook with the conveniently serrated edges, and gently clicking the top of his favourite goldplated Parker ballpoint pen. He opened the notebook and wrote in large capital letters: Merlin: Highgate Mags, Wednesday, 20th September 2000, NISP (the latter entry being George’s shorthand for ‘no instructing solicitor present’).

George surveyed his immediate territory. Unusually peaceful. The client was quiet, perhaps too quiet. Sitting at one end of the bench with his head in his hands, his thin long gray hair protruding from his long gray fingers, he cut a sad and lonely figure. The white beard had almost turned into dreadlocks. There was only five feet or so between George and this old man, but George could hear nothing, until a soft and familiar sobbing sound came from Merlin’s end of the bench. The old boy was definitely crying like a baby. Although George had been through the crying routine before, this was the first time the crier was an adult male, and he felt deeply uncomfortable. Not knowing what to say, he said nothing and did nothing until the moment passed. George took the opportunity to have a good look at his new cellmate.

He looked scruffy and disheveled. His shoes, being no more than thin leather moccasins, must give little protection from cold concrete, thought George. He looked quickly at the charge sheet to confirm the only item that had been removed at the time of arrest was a wooden staff. It was time to break the ice. “Er, Mr. Merlin. Are you all right? My name is George Winsome. I am your counsel – your barrister, instructed by your solicitor, Sam Leggitt, who I understand you met on the day of your arrest. I will be representing you in court this morning. We only have a few minutes before we go upstairs to the magistrates’ court. If you want me to make a bail application then I’ll need some basic information. You told the police that your name is Merlin. Is that your real name? I need your help, please.”

The sobbing recommenced with fresh vigor as the small flap on the cell door flipped open. “Five minutes, Mr. Winsome,” bawled PC 2150 in a surprisingly deep voice. George heard himself say, “The audience will need to wait. First night nerves and all that. My tutu is too tight. Whatever. We’ll need another half an hour.” “Your call, Mr. Winsome, sir.” This was new ground for George. Young barristers learnt the art of survival as quickly as front-line troops. To get in and out of a crowded magistrates’ court it was essential to be ready. Counsel or solicitors who were unready were placed at the back of the long line of cases waiting to go on, and the next opportunity to stand up and say what had to be said and return to the sanctity of chambers might not occur until noon or later. Much later. And the pay – if it ever arrived – was the same whether it took ten minutes or four hours.

“As I was saying, Mr. Merlin, er, Merlin. May I call you Merlin? When we go upstairs to court there will be three people who will decide today whether to grant you bail or not. If they don’t grant you bail today then you will wait for your trial in jail, perhaps until next year. Unless, of course, you wish to plead guilty, in which case there’s a good chance you’ll walk today. However, if you want to fight the case and want me to make an application for bail, then I’ll need some basic information about you. Where you live, what you do, your age, your personal circumstances. Do you understand me, Merlin?” George’s patience had already been exhausted. He brought his face so close to Merlin’s their noses were pressed against each other. He looked into the water-filled crystal-blue eyes in the midst of the tired, aged, well-worn face that reminded George of his grandfather shortly before his death at age ninety-one. George momentarily dropped his professional guard and saw the image of a man for whom he felt enormous sympathy. Ignoring the excess mucus dribbling down from the corners of Merlin’s thin mouth, George said, “I need to know where you live, all right?” Merlin moved his tear-stained face away from George’s. “You are on my side. I can tell. Praise the forces. You are here to fight my cause. Who sent you? St. Yves?” “It doesn’t matter who sent me, does it? I need to know where you live.” “Yes, yes, of course you do. I understand. I have been known by many names, but Merlin is the name I remember my name to be. If I am not Merlin, then who am I? I live under the stars. I have been asleep for a very long time. Some…” Merlin paused for a moment, looking distant and distracted. “Some force disturbed my peace. Two ruffians set upon me. I feared for my life. That is all. I am so tired.”

Wow I am loving this! Cannot believe that is all we get!!

Follow the rest of the tour here

Thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for the tour invite and the Publisher and the author for an excerpt from the book.

About Adrian Laing

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.

Adrian now lives in Eastbourne, East Sussex.

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4 responses to “#Excerpt of Kosmos by Adrian Laing @annecater @flametreepress