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.
A Coin for the Ferryman will be available, online and wherever fine books are sold, on March 1, 2022.
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.
“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, the 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)
“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)
“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 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, the 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: $20.00 US ISBN: 9781945501166 (not yet available)
ePUB: $13.99 US ISBN: 9781945501173
Audiobook: $32.00 ISBN: 9781945501180
Unabridged, (Under Production) Narrated by Mark Ashby, Production by BeeAudio Ltd. & Imbrifex Books Audio
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"Edwards makes an assured fiction debut. This amusing mystery stars aspiring journalist Copper Black, a contributor to a Las Vegas newspaper, who must navigate a multitude of personal and professional hurdles...Copper learns enough secrets to make deadly enemies before emerging bruised, battered, victorious, and primed for new comic adventures."— Publisher's Weekly
"Copper's debut has enough pizzazz to make readers want to try just one more roll of the dice.”— Kirkus ReviewsRead more...
"Edwards’s prose glides as smoothly as Ted’s playing as she articulates how deeply teen love shapes her characters’ adult lives. Readers wanting to dwell on the melancholy of ill-timed loved will devour this beautiful novel." — Publisher's WeeklyRead more...