He came. He saw. She conquered.
In 1999, an elite interdisciplinary team headed by Nobel laureate Andrew Danicek gathered in California to carry out a ground-breaking time-travel experiment. While the rest of the world remained unaware, Julius Caesar was successfully transported from his last Ides of March to a specially-constructed covert facility. Four days of conversation with historians and Latin scholars were planned, followed by Caesar’s return to the moment from which he was extracted, thus keeping subsequent history intact. But despite the team’s meticulous efforts to plan for all possible exigencies, an unscrupulous antiquities dealer who learns of Caesar’s visit disrupts the experiment with a kidnap attempt. Cassandra Fleury, the youngest member of the team, must summon strength she didn’t know she possessed to return Caesar to the Ides of March. Kept silent by draconian non-disclosure agreements for more than two decades, the team members who participated in Danicek’s experiment have said nothing. Certain events have now permitted the story to be revealed. Perhaps the most surprising result of the experiment is that the lives of each team member were inexorably altered in ways no one could have predicted.
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Megan Edwards is the author of the forthcoming novel A Coin for the Ferryman. Her other books include the travel memoir Roads from the Ashes: An Odyssey in Real Life on the Virtual Frontier, the humor book Caution: Funny Signs Ahead, the award-winning Copper Black mystery novels Getting off on Frank Sinatra and Full Service Blonde, and the award-winning novel Strings: A Love Story. Edwards holds a B.A. in classics from Scripps College and an M.A. from Claremont Graduate University. She has lived and traveled extensively in Europe and spent nearly seven years “on the road” all over North America. Now at home in Las Vegas, Nevada, she is working on her next book.
“With its novel plot point being the temporal kidnapping of Caesar, A Coin for the Ferryman is an exciting and innovative thriller with a solid historical foundation.”–Erin Britton, San Francisco Book Review (03/21/2022)
“The plot of A Coin for the Ferryman is a dream come true for fans of Roman history, but it’s much more. It’s an effortlessly readable novel for fans of literary fiction, an erudite thought experiment for fans of anthropology, a pointed satire of office politics for fans of academia, and a welcome addition to the canon for fans of time travel.”–Arturo Serrano, Nerds of a Feather (03/01/2022)
“The book felt like a love letter to the classics. It was beautifully written, and well-balanced between modern drama and affection for Rome.”–Jo Niederhoff, ManhattanBookReview.com (02/25/2022)
“This inventive fantasy novel reaches back into classical antiquity to pluck Julius Caesar out of the past in the split second before he’s murdered. The test, to debrief historical figures, is part of an experimental time travel project headed by a Nobel laureate. It’s a premise, reminiscent of Michael Crichton’s Timeline, that pays off, especially with when the Roman politician shares his view of the modern world he’s been transported to – and the novel’s 1990s Las Vegas setting, in particular. Will they return Caesar to his rightful place in time before a disruption to the historical timeline has far-reaching consequences for the future? Beware the Ides of March, indeed.”–Natalie Atkinson, EverythingZoomer.com (02/25/2022)
“Picture a beautiful young woman racing down the freeway in a classic red Corvette with a distrustful Julius Caesar riding shotgun.”–Sarah Rice, Booklist Magazine (02/01/2022)
“If I were ever fortunate enough to meet Caesar, I can’t think of a better way to do it than in this book. A Coin for the Ferryman appeals not only to the history buff in me but also to my age-long, time-travel obsession. My chase after the question this story answers, resulted in hours of late-night reading sprees: What would happen if meeting one of the most iconic historical figures was actually possible?”–Oksana Marafioti, author of American Gypsy: A Memoir (02/24/2022)
“Sometimes you come across a book where you just know even before you read it that it’s going to be right up your alley and totally your kind of thing. A Coin for the Ferryman by Megan Edwards was that book for me. I absolutely loved it and it ended up as my very first five star read of the year! I absolutely loved the author’s take on Caesar too. It made me wonder for myself how he’d react to be transported to our modern world and how he’d see it all through his ancient Roman eyes and what he would think. I also enjoyed the conversations he and Cassandra had and how they eventually warmed towards each other when they were on the run together from Caesar’s abducters. A Coin for the Ferryman by Megan Edwards was a fun, thrilling and genre-bending novel. It was also thought-provoking and with the backdrop of Las Vegas it made the story even more of an exciting time travel romp.”–Stephanie, Bookfever.com (02/18/2022)
“I’m a big fan of time travel in any form so I had high expectations of any story that brings Julius Caesar from 44 BC to 1999 AD. What could go wrong? Lots of things and Megan Edwards deals out the challenges like a veteran card dealer in Las Vegas. Set in 1999, the finely crafted and sometimes flawed characters are brought together for one purpose and they all follow the script until it gets changed, cue the bad guys. This story isn’t a romp through history, it’s a well planned journey through the lives of a group of people who are trying to do the impossible for four days.”–Magi Henderson, Librarian at Glen Canyon Centennial Library (02/07/2022)
“One of the great pleasures of the book is getting to know him, (Julius Caesar), chapter by chapter and page by page, and he’s portrayed so vividly that his presence in the novel feels like a true resurrection.”–Beth Castrodale, Small Press Picks, (12/23/2021)
“I saw, I read, I LOVED this book. Imagine, if you can, traveling back in time or better yet being able to bring someone from the past to the present time. A Coin for the Ferryman allows you to do just that in a very convincing way. What I loved about this book, primarily, is that all the ethical questions I had were answered by characters in the book who had the same questions…I loved the way the story ended, and if possible would love to see a time-travelling sequel.”–Robin Ball, Plumb Memorial Library, (01/07/2022)
“Overall, I really enjoyed the book once it got to the premise. If you like Michael Crichton’s book Timeline, you’ll like this book. Only it’s the reverse, what if someone from the past comes to the future. As complex as the story was, changing character viewpoints, plot lines and such, it really added to the richness of the story. I didn’t see the ending coming! I highly recommend this book!”–Katie Oeschger, Goodreads.com, (12/18/2021)
“I’m sure many readers will find the background mythology and Roman history as fascinating as I did. It will either recall lessons learned and bring excitement to them or create an appetite to discern for the first time. For example, I enjoyed the vignette of Juli (Caesar) in his home with Calpurnia (who has extended bouts of madness) getting ready to leave for the Ides of March. She warned him of danger, “Do not go today,” but as he insisted on going, she gave him a knife. We see Caesar, as an elder statesman, off to the senate, not one of the greatest military commanders in history.
I loved the author’s prose, which allowed her to tell a very detailed story in impeccable English, and the small detail she shows us makes Caesar such an endearing character. For example, when looking at the night sky, at the Big Dipper, Caesar says, “Hello, familiar friend,” so even though he is 2000 years away and 6000 miles from his home, he and Cassandra have the night sky in common.”–Brenda Evans, Goodreads.com (11/27/2021)
“My love for Rome is eternal! You move through captivating twists of events with a plot within plot buildup. What kept me pondering even after I finished up the book was the part that was it all really fiction? What is myth – to me it’s only a fact with no evidence OR proof of the statement. But in this modern age, it doesn’t take time to gather facts and convert fiction to reality. From the days of Galileo to the present every fact was first considered either madness OR a myth. To me, this book presented that capability.”–Yamini Pandley, Greater Noida, India Goodreads.com (12/02/2021)
“This is the best book I’ve read ALL YEAR. It was SO GOOD. I swear to god I haven’t read a book this good in so long I actually cried when I finished it. I’m not at all exaggerating. This is a new favorite book of all time for me. Whether or not you were considering reading this book, just do it. It is so enjoyable and interesting and intriguing from the very start.”–Grace A. Waterstones.com (11/22/2021)
“A Coin For the Ferryman is quite possibly the best book I’ve read so far this year. I loved Everything about this book & would definitely recommend it to history & fiction lovers alike.. Time travel was never a big interest of mine but Megan Edwards truly is a gifted writer who made it a fun & interesting topic. I’m looking forward to reading more of her work. I give A Coin For the Ferryman 4.5 stars & hope you enjoy this book as much as I did.”–Kim Barbella, Goodreads.com (11/27/2021)
“We’ve all been asked at one point, who would you invite to a dinner party, dead or alive? Andrew Danicek, is a Nobel Laureate who creates a time machine to bring back Julius Caesar from the minute before he dies at the Ides or March. The book flows like a river through it’s twists and turns, while never losing sight of it’s main goal. The characters are well written, and the plot is easy to follow, although the only hole I can see is when Andrew searches for Andrej, the German boy he stood in for. Why didn’t it occur to him to search for Dieter? This is a beautifully written book that I shall be buying when it’s published.”–Emma Potter, Bookseller at Historic Royal Palaces, Goodreads.com (09/25/2021)
“A group of scientists conduct a time travel experiment where Julius Caesar is transported from 44BC to 1999. Of course, all things do not go according to plan resulting in an entertaining tale of adventure, romance and drama with the magic of Las Vegas thrown in. I…was hooked from get go. Written in an easy manner with lots of wit and humour thrown in, the book has well-developed and likable characters and an engrossing story line. An interesting meld of historical fact and fiction, adventure and sc-fi – this one has something for everybody.”–Preeti Mahatme, Goodreads.com (11/26/2021)
“The pandemic has been hard, and reading this novel turned out to be a bright light. There was adventure. Uncertainty. Drama. Hope. Philosophy. Messy, imperfect humans just being messy, imperfect humans. It reminded me a little bit of The Overstory by Richard Powers, in writing style. Lighter in terms of the narrative. Storytelling which can be complicated, using a gentle, nuanced voice.”–Lisa Hutchinson, Goodreads.com (08/20/2021)
“Megan Edwards, who knows ancient Rome very well, retells the circumstances of Julius Caesar’s assassination in 44 B.C. with some highly entertaining twists and turns. This imaginative yarn has it all: time travel and Las Vegas, archaeological digs and billionaire poultry magnates, and a good portion of sex and skulduggery. If you have studied Classics in Rome as she has, or if you just want to know more about what might have happened on the Ides of March, this book is for you. A Coin for the Ferryman provides fun reading for beach or forum.”–Michael Maas, William Gaines Twyman Professor of History at Rice University, and author of Readings in Late Antiquity, The Cambridge Companion to the Age of Justinian, and John Lydus and the Roman Past (07/11/2021)
“A Coin for the Ferryman is a fantastic time travel thriller fiction. The plot has everything, from time travel to romance. But, the best part of the book is its climax which will keep you thinking about the plot for a long time. The author has amazingly plotted thrill, adventure and romance in one book. Also, diverse characters make the story more interesting.”–Sucharita Biswas, bibliophileverse.blogspot (09/18/2021)
“I was absolutely gripped from the first page. The characters are immersive and captivating and the story moves along at the perfect pace. I absolutely could not put it down!”–Angela Romainger, #BookTok (11/13/2021)
“Megan Edwards gets us turning pages”–David Brin, best-selling author of Star Tide Rising, The Postman, Existence, the Out of Time series and many, many more (07/13/2021)
“Megan Edwards has written a fine novel of ancient times, one that will entertain and inform, an important contribution—and an attention-grabber.”–Selden Edwards, NY Times best-selling author of The Little Book and The Lost Prince (08/16/2021)
“What a fun book – the premise is a great one to start with, the characters are interesting with good depth, and the writing is solid. It was so fun to think about how Caesar would react today, and how his attitude, worldview, everything would translate to how we live now. This is just a really fun book that flips a few tropes around, with a somehow endearing Caesar (which honestly, is not how I generally would have ever thought Caesar would be) who was still calculating and cunning. I loved how history was woven throughout, that I would recommend to a lot of people but especially those looking for a different type of historical fiction, has a bit of a Latin nerd inside them, and has a very clever twist that I really enjoyed. Absolutely worth a read.”–Katie Mercer, Librarian at University of Waterloo Library, Waterloo, Ontario (09/09/2021)
“The well crafted story of “A Coin for the Ferryman” is a great entertainment, The synopsis introduces the intrigue, and then it is a guessing game ! The book is to be enjoyed bits by bits, just to have the fun to try to guess what will happen next. I am hoping for more now, Megan Edwards produced the best time travel story I ever read!”–Flo Jacquet, English Instructor, Futuring.eu (09/14/2021)
“I was hooked from page one up until the very end. What started as a story of a normal girl working in Las Vegas turned into an extraordinary experience bending the timelines and the perception of right and wrong. The experiment of kidnapping Cesar so realistic that after finishing this book I wondered if it really happened. It made perfect sense to keep it a secret and share the story now after some years. But what felt even more real was the relationship between Caesar and Cassandra. It was wonderful. It was all I ever wanted. And it brought up the main question of a book. How much would you sacrifice for someone you cared for, even if it meant disrupting your world completely.”–Eliza Czaplicka, Books & Coffee by El (09/08/2021)
“A good novel: philosophy, history, sci-fi, and a lot of drama. Caesar is one of the greatest characters in human history. I liked how the author made him more human and showed a very sensible face of the entity. It was so much fun to just imagine how Caesar would react in today’s modern society and how his attitude might be translated to our modern times.”–Violeta Voicila, Goodreads (09/02/2021)
“As a fan of time travel and ancient history, I loved *almost* every moment of this book… My favorite character was undoubtedly Julius Caesar himself. Despite being a historical figure that I despise (I mean, the guy colonized half the world), I found his characterization here to be quite endearing. Edwards didn’t recreate some cheap, gimmicky knock-off Julius Caesar, she brought the real one to life. He was calculated and cunning, just like his real-life counterpart, and I loved how he was portrayed as a human being more so than an antique statue brought to life…I loved how Edwards weaved in bits and pieces of history throughout the novel, which brought the history itself to life as well… A very enjoyable read that I would heartily recommend to anyone who’s fascinated by ancient history and the concept of time travel.”–CJ Rafake, Goodreads.com (08/25/2021)
“A Coin for the Ferryman blends philosophy, sci-fi, and a whole lot of drama into an entertaining read!”–Anabel Ho, Goodreads.com (08/21/2021)
“Megan Edward’s new novel, A Coin for the Ferryman, is her most ambitious and engaging to date. This wildly imaginative journey — from the era of Julius Caesar to late 1990s Las Vegas and Los Angeles — offers a thrilling glimpse of time travel and its potential ramifications. The plot draws you in quickly, and the characters and detailed scenes keep you engaged throughout. A deeply enjoyable read.”–Heather Skyler, author of Vegas Girls and The Perfect Age (08/20/2021)
“I love time travel novels. This book by Edwards does not disappoint. The writing style keeps one captivated throughout the book. I was surprised to the last page.”–Anthony Philo, NetGalley.com (08/14/2021)
“Fascinating characters and their often sad stories coalesce into an unforgettably wonderful tale of time travel and its consequences, thrilling one moment, tragic the next. In its diversity of settings and languages, its intelligent combination of experimental science with high culture, A Coin for the Ferryman creates a world in which Caesar emerges as a grand figure who is also a believably flesh-and-bone man, unperplexed by any adventure. Colossus though he is, Caesar cannot distract a reader from Cassandra, whose honesty and sensitivity render her a woman too strong to be hobbled even by historical inevitability.”–W. Jeffrey Tatum, best-selling author of Always I Am Caesar, The Patrician Tribune, and Professor of Classics at The Victoria University of Wellington (06/08/2021)
“A highly entertaining story line, with compelling and colorful characters, time travel, chases, and Las Vegas. Any student of Classics who has ever visited Las Vegas has wondered about what it’d be like for Julius Caesar to actually visit Caesars Palace. You know you want to know how that went, and it doesn’t disappoint!”–Dawn Smith-Popielski, Recipient of the 2021 Keely Lake Advocacy Award from the American Classical League (08/19/2021)
“This book sounds amazing, as in its story, and really it is. It doesn’t get bogged down in the science, but there is enough there to make it sound plausible, and that is all you really need. The writing is good, descriptive but not flowery, and the characters are fun, if you love them or hate them. I did not see elements of the ending, and I loved being surprised by that. This is a must read!”–Louise Page, Goodreads.com (08/09/2021)
“The plot of this book is very interesting, there are many characters, points of views and periods covered, but the author manages to keep it clear and interesting. The latin-nerd in me is very happy!”–Oliwier Boyer, Goodreads.com (08/23/2021)
“Time travel, ancient history, adventure, intrigue, and romance. A Coin For the Ferryman has it all. The story starts out with a discovery of a coin at an archeological dig and gets more mysterious and intriguing as our main character, Cassandra, works her way through its many twists and turns. The reader comes to know Cassandra and the other characters well as the tale unfolds. In addition, it is set in two very interesting places; Las Vegas and Pasadena, California. There are also locales which the reader will have to discover on his/her own. There is more than one surprise along the way which will grab the reader’s attention more than once. A Coin for the Ferryman is, simply, a great read.”–Dr. Bruce H. Jones, RoadTripAmerica.com (08/02/2021)
“A Coin for the Ferryman is a fascinating thought experiment, and one rooted in a deep love for the classics and knowledge of them. It is also a page turner. Megan Edwards’ Julius Caesar takes charge of the narrative from the moment he appears. Neither the big brains of Caltech nor the bright lights of Las Vegas intimidate him for an instant. Highly enjoyable!”–Greg Woolf, Ronald J Mellor, Professor of Ancient History at UCLA and author of Et tu Bruté, The Life and Death of Ancient Cities, and Rome: An Empire’s Story (07/09/2021)
“A Coin for the Ferryman seamlessly weaves together a number of genres, including historical fiction, action/adventure, speculative fiction, and romance. The plot kept me turning pages as a reader, and the foreshadowing piqued my interest from the start, but what really drew me in was the eclectic cast of characters. Each character is given a unique backstory, and I was only disappointed not to learn more about their lives after the end of the IDES project. I enjoyed the journey all the way from ancient Rome to modern-day America and back.”–Skylar Hamilton Burris, Editor, Ancient Paths Literary Magazine, and author of When the Heart Is Laid Bare and An Unlikely Missionary (06/24/2021)
“Megan Edwards masterfully combines her extensive knowledge of the classical world with her literary skills to produce an intriguing and compelling novel.”–Stephen L. Glass, Professor Emeritus of Classics and Classical Archaeology, Pitzer College (07/08/2021)
“Already her canny account of Caesar’s troubled menage, that fatal morning, won confidence that Megan Edwards knew what she was up to and how to carry it off. Wonder only grew as into her Roman fabrication she wove threads from the second world war, from original California, and desperate Las Vegas. Like any master weaver, she plants motifs that may seem peripheral until she brings them back as principal turns of plot. Once her mastery was clear, reading went on with eagerness to find what she would create next. The skill with which she builds character, diverse places and times, and life stories entertains and instructs. In ironical concert with her detailed and daring fictions, her every account rings true. Indeed, historiographical theory informs the invented dialogues with Caesar as conqueror and writer of commentaries, of which the very Latin name avers, “made up.”
It is hard not to love the leading character, and through her the writer herself: indeed we read that the heroine reminds Caesar of Venus (his great-great-ever-so-great grandmother) so that their eventual union enrolls this narrative with the legion of Roman and Greek incest myths. Further reflection might construe this account of a gifted woman who finds herself fully through mutual engagement & winning trust with a storied man, not merely for sensitive navigation of the shoals of female identity (scoring intertextual triumph, Coin convinces when it dares to rewrite Caesar’s proverbial tripos—Veni, Vidi, Vici to VENIT, VIDIT, VICIT–‘He came, He saw, She conquered.’) but as the writer’s metapoetic figure for the gestation & birth of her extraordinary work.”–John Van Sickle, Professor of Classics & of Comparative Literature, City University of New York, Guggenheim fellow, and author of Virgil’s Book of Bucolics, the Ten Eclogues Translated into English Verse and The Design of Virgil’s Bucolics (07/01/2021)
“A Coin for the Ferryman is the ideal summer read. It is peopled with an appealing, eclectic cast of characters, among them a Vegas call girl/Latinist, a Nobel laureate, a chicken tycoon, an ex-Jesuit priest, and a Costa Rican heiress, not to mention Julius Caesar himself. Chapters are short, all the better to allow the reader to break for a margarita, check up on the kids, or sneak in “just one more chapter” before dinner or bedtime without becoming lost in the narrative flow. Suspense is mild and occasionally comical—an LA freeway chase in a 1977 VW beetle, anyone? —Allowing for sweet summer dreams without the horror hangover common to much escapist literature.
It is obvious that Megan Edwards is no stranger to Caesar’s writings or to what has been written about him, so Classicists will find much to admire in her portrait of Caesar, who proves in the 20th century what was clear to his contemporaries—that he was a brilliant, intelligent leader who could not be trusted. Her authentic depiction of the Vegas casino scene sets a captivating (literally!) background for a question many visitors to Sin City have pondered—what would Julius Caesar think of Caesar’s Palace? In addition, it’s clear she knows a thing or two about the inner workings of academia and topics such as archaeology and numismatics, and of course in a book involving Caesar, she invites us to revisit what we learned (or forgot) in Latin 1.
While entertaining and engaging, A Coin for the Ferryman serves up topics for serious book club or classroom discussion, among them:
• Is history truth?
• How does culture influence behavior?
• Is time travel ethical?
• Who is more accurate about Caesar’s last words—Shakespeare or Suetonius?
Megan’s fluid prose style and wink, wink metaphors, “an embrace so steamy it rivaled the espresso maker,” make for such pleasurable reading that A Coin for the Ferryman, which at first glance appears might take the entire summer to read, comes to a satisfying end all too soon.”–Rebecca Lommel,Professor Emeritus in English Language, Southern Methodist University (07/14/2021)
“Fully drawn characters and dead-on depictions of the settings make a fantastic story utterly believable. A Coin For the Ferryman belongs on the same shelf as the late Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park.“–A.D. Hopkins, award-winning author of The Boys Who Woke Up Early and The First 100 (07/10/2021)
“With an intriguing premise, an intricate plot involving the highest possible stakes, and a love story that breaks the bounds of time, A Coin for the Ferryman will engage the reader until the very end.”–Tracy Barrett, author of The Song of Orpheus, The Beast of Blackslope, and King of Ithaka (06/20/2021)
“A COIN FOR THE FERRYMAN puts a fresh and imaginative twist on the classic time travel tale. From the ancient Roman Senate to the modern-day Caesars Palace Casino, Megan Edwards takes the reader on a fun, fast-paced ride alongside an unforgettable cast of characters—including Julius Caesar himself! Painstakingly researched and expertly crafted, it’s a captivating read and powerful reminder that love, ambition, and family bonds transcend time.”–Amanda Skenandore, award-winning author The Second Life of Mirielle West, The Undertaker’s Assistant, and Between Earth and Sky (06/24/2021)
“I found the book totally absorbing. The author started with several apparently unrelated threads and wove them into a tapestry. There are plot twists that while surprising, are totally logical. I was kept in suspense until the very end.”–Kit Hope, FEMA Emergency Manager and American Red Cross Manager & Instructor (07/05/2021)
“In less capable hands, this time travel saga that transports Julius Caesar to the late twentieth century — and to Caesars Palace, no less — would read like a long episode of the Twilight Zone. But under Megan Edwards’ adroit tutelage, A Coin for the Ferryman avoids the obvious pitfalls to deliver an ambitious adventure spanning millennia and cultures (not to mention old and new worlds), all anchored by a surprisingly tender love story. With a historian’s ethos, a philosopher’s acumen and a reporter’s attention to detail, Edwards makes it easy to suspend disbelief as the book’s short chapters zip us along at a breakneck clip. Of course, without a living, breathing Caesar, the carefully constructed framework would soon fall apart. Lucky for us, Edwards creates an authentic human being who quickly adapts to his new home and era, all the while using his brilliant tactician’s mind to stay three steps ahead of his adversaries. Buy it for the high concept but savor it for the deeper existential questions. Who knows, you might even pick up a few Latin words and phrases along the way. Euge!”–Brian Rouff, author of Dice Angel and The House Always Wins (06/29/2021)
“An accomplished master weaver, Megan Edwards begins with a series of vastly disparate narrative threads and creates a tapestry worthy of a Roman dignitary. As the various strands are interwoven, there are inevitable clashes of cultural color. These include two thousand years of time difference, six thousand miles of geographical separation and seemingly insurmountable language barriers. There are also discrepancies in world views, manners and social customs. Often a nail biter—certainly a page turner—A Coin for the Ferryman is a fast-paced and engrossing journey pivoting on one of the most important events in Classical history. It sets vastly differing world views against one another, but always obliges its characters to reexamine those human qualities that are constant and vital to us all, regardless of time and culture. This was a great read.”–David Rivinus, author of Always Dreaming (06/22/2021)
“Unfolding at the pace of a well-constructed Hollywood drama, Megan Edwards’s A Coin for the Ferryman takes the reader from the ancient world to 20th century Las Vegas. Weird science, romance, intrigue, car chases, road trips, chopper rides, and the unexpected vagaries of the heart—this one’s got it all. Come for the time travel. Stay for the powerful examination of the enduring human spirit.”–Brett Riley, author of The Subtle Dance of Impulse and Light, Comanche, Lord of Order and Freaks (06/04/2021)
“I love historical novels and I also love time travel stories. To have the mystery of a great figure with with modern characters is a true treat. I didn’t want to put it down.”–Ellen Snortland, author of Beauty Bites Beast and The Safety Godmothers (04/26/2021)
Id. Mart. DCCX A.U.C.
He heard the first whisper but waited for the second.
“Juli. Are you awake?”
Julius Caesar had been awake for nearly an hour, though dawn was just breaking.
“I am awake,” he said as she reached his bed. She sat on the edge. He smelled the rosemary before she held it near.
“My darling,” she said. In the dim light, he watched her hold the rosemary first to her own nostrils, then to his.
“Calpurnia,” he said.
She kissed his brow. “Juli,” she said again. “Will you stay with me today?”
Caesar considered her request for a brief moment. These moments of lucidity visited his wife ever more infrequently. He had no way of knowing when the madness would descend again, when he would no longer be her “Juli,” but once again her captor and tormentor.
“We can ride out the Appian,” she said, wheedling now. “Terentia says the hyacinths have already begun to bloom.”
It was still too early for wildflowers, Caesar knew, but what did it matter? He had no time for a picnic or a stroll. He would be leaving for Parthia in April, and it was already the Ides of March.
“No, my dove,” he said. “I am expected in the Senate.”
“I know that.” Calpurnia sighed. “It was a wish, not an expectation.”
She tucked the sprig of rosemary under his pillow and departed.
By the time Caesar was ready to leave for Pompey’s Theater, madness had once again overtaken his wife. Her shrieks echoed through the house. Not for the first time, he wondered whether he had succeeded in keeping her strange fits and rages a secret. Anyone walking by outside could hear her wails.
“Do not depart this house!” she cried as Caesar crossed the atrium. “They will ensnare you! You will never return!”
Terentia rushed into the atrium and tried to restrain her, but Calpurnia wrestled free and threw her arms around her husband.
“Juli! Juli! Do not abandon me!”
Calpurnia had often screamed at him in her madness, accusing Caesar of harming her in countless terrible ways. “Get away, you brute!” she would screech, day after day. “Don’t touch me, foul dog of Orcus!”
What is so different about today? he wondered. Why all the pleading instead of her usual anger?
“If you must go, take a dagger!” Calpurnia cried. “Do not go unarmed, I beseech you!” Her eyes wild, she clutched his arms. “There will be blood! I see it! I see it everywhere!”
Madness, Caesar told himself. Her words carried no special knowledge. She was raving, nothing more.
He departed, though the sun had not yet reached above the garden wall. Nothing could be gained by remaining with his poor suffering wife, and he could use the time to clear his head before he faced the tasks of the day.
As was Caesar’s custom when he could spare the time, he walked to the Cestian Bridge. He paused there to look over the Tiber, thinking—as he always did—about the memorable day he had chanced to meet Servilia in this very spot so many years before.
Their meeting at the bridge had been a coincidence. Servilia and Caesar had always taken the utmost care never to be seen together inappropriately in public. Fortunately, it was early morning. Just like today, there were no passersby.
Caesar looked down at the water. Swollen by recent storms in the hills, the river was rough and dark. Utterly unlike the day of that chance meeting long ago. The Tiber had been blue and placid that other day, as calm as Servilia, as docile as the baby perched on the stone railing next to her.
“Juli, meet Marcus,” Servilia said, once they had both concluded it was safe to acknowledge each other. “At long last.”
At last, indeed. This was Marcus Brutus, the child who had kept the lovers apart for so many months. Caesar had attended his lustratio, of course, but that had been nearly a year before.
Caesar stared at the boy, impressed at how straight and tall he sat for one so young. He met Caesar’s gaze solemnly with unblinking black eyes.
“He is a willful one,” Servilia said. “But I suppose that comes as no surprise.”
She laughed, then bent down to adjust her sandal.
Just that. A simple thing. A task that took a moment, no different from the myriad of mundane occurrences that make up a lifetime. What if Caesar had not chosen to pass by the Cestian Bridge that morning, or if he had arrived at a different hour? But it was pointless to wonder. He was there when the baby, one moment strong and still, began to fall backward. Caesar stepped forward and grasped the child’s left arm. By the time his mother rose, he was sitting straight again, Caesar’s hand supporting his back.
Servilia looked from the baby to Caesar. When their eyes met, she smiled.
“I am so happy you and Marcus have met,” she said.
Caesar nodded and smiled at the baby. The boy stared back at him, utterly unaware of his brush with death. Reluctant to spoil the brief time he was enjoying with his mother, Caesar said nothing about it to her.
“I am so happy I decided to walk past the Cestian Bridge today,” he said instead.
And today, Caesar thought as he continued on his way to the Senate, I am happy again, in spite of Calpurnia’s lunacy and in spite of all the whining demands and self-centered grievances that awaited him at Pompey’s Theater.
Because Marcus Brutus would be there, too. In the gifted statesman he had become, Caesar would always see that tiny, dark-eyed boy sitting calmly on the stone railing of the Cestian Bridge. He would once again remember how, on a cool spring morning long ago, fate placed his hand at a baby’s back while his mother tied her sandal.
Hardback: $29.95 US ISBN: 9781945501159 — First Edition: March 2022
Paperback: $17.950 US ISBN: 9781945501920 — First Edition: March 2022
ePUB: $13.99 US ISBN: 9781945501173
Audiobook: $32.00 ISBN: 9781945501180
Unabridged, 13 hours, 16 minutes. 2 seconds. Narrated by Mark Ashby, Production by BeeAudio Ltd. & Imbrifex Books Audio
FICTION/HISTORICAL FICTION/TIME TRAVEL
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